Saudi Arabia

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ISSUE 8 // JAN - FEB 2020


PUBLISHER Enas Hashani EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Maria Mahdaly EDITORIAL MANAGER Yasmine Mohamed EDITORIAL CONSULTANT Jou Pabalate EDITOR Nessreen Tamano WRITERS Dalia El Abd Deena Dakhiel Esra Ozbay Jou Pabalate Yasmine Mohamed Zahra Anwer PHOTOGRAPHERS Mohammed Fawzy



FROM THE EDITOR “Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It’s the courage to continue that counts.” -- Winston S. Churchill. We all fall short along the way toward our hopes and dreams. Sometimes we tire and at others we lose that clarity of vision. There’s also the fact that we mature and change with time and opt to fight for different causes. Regardless of the many definitions and routes to success, it wouldn’t be possible without constantly choosing to believe in your limitless abilities, and choosing to stand back up after every fall. That’s eventually what counts. Only ten more years remain till 2030, and the Kingdom achieves its vision. We live in an exciting time full of new opportunities. In this business and innovation edition of Destination KSA, we talk about practicing resilience at the workplace and how to deal with stress. We’ve also reached out and listened to how you maintain the daily hustle. Sticky situations at work and how to maneuver past them inspired “Say What You Mean” where you’ll be in for lots of laughs. Read stories of self-made Saudi millionaires, Ziad Al Najdi and his success despite hardships, and how Hamad Al Howaish cycled across KSA, and be inspired. We also touched on being plus sized, modeling, and the top 20 restaurants of the year. This fun issue is meant to get you all warmed up and started for an exciting new year. We wish you all the best in your future endeavors. One word of advice, however, always get up and get going. If you can’t do it, then no one else can.

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Destination KSA Magazine is a Rumman Company publication. License No. 7862-8/8/1431 / Publisher: Destination Magazine, UK, Coventry, CV14DH N5719 Email: P.O. Box 4113 / Jeddah 21491


Maria Mahdaly, Editor-in-Chief DESTINATION KSA 1

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GET YOUR DAILY DOSE OF CITY INSIGHTS: destinationryd destinationjed destinationshq

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BUSINESS PURSUITS Show Me Your Hustle Practicing resilience in the workforce Say what you mean, mean what you say Self-Made Saudis Ziad Al Najdi: Entrepreneur & Innovator Don’t Hesitate to Innovate!


STYLE An Ode to Fashion Modeling Beyond the Kingdom Duraibah

THE CREATIVES A Source Of Inspiration The Techtile Experience Sorry, You do What Again? The Winning Shot A Beast To Say The Least The Birth of MDL Beast Rising Above Ground SAUDI DXN, FTW







Top 20 Restaurants for 2020 Pastries & Pâtissières Culinary Diversity “Fun” Dining: the story Be Our Guest

KNOW YOUR KINGDOM AlUla Events Calendar New Activentures in KSA Speed and Agility Diriyah Riyadh’s Cultural and Entertainment Oasis Caving as a Life Journey West to East

Dealing with Addiction

Suite Spot


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HELMY AL SAGAFF helmy_alsagaff





Be part of Destination KSA’s community of writers and creatives. If you have an idea to share, a skill to showcase, or an article you’d like to publish— we are your platform. Get in touch! Send an email to






Writer and photographer, “Caving as a Life Journey” Page 76 After completing two graduate degrees abroad, Mona returned to Jeddah to pursue a career in culture and media, as well as her passion for night photography and exploring natural landscapes of Saudi Arabia. From caves and mountains to valleys around the Kingdom, she was set for journeys of wonder and appreciation for the countless treasures the country offers. monaalzubair

Digital Marketing Specialist, “Be Our Guest” Page 98 Ahmed Darwish is the Founder of The Foodies inc. an agency targeting restaurant lovers and owners alike, who either are hunting for the best bite to eat, or trying to raise awareness for their food business. We are a content creative house, able to build your marketing strategy and enhancing your brand, seting us apart from other agencies and food bloggers. ta5ta5.basha


SUMAYA ABDULAZIZ sumayaabdulaziz

DEENA SHAMS deenasun





NADA BASAAD nada.basaad

ABDULLAH ALMOGBEL abdullahmapplethorpe



SHOW ME YOUR HUSTLE We asked and you responded! Here are some tips and tricks on how to enhance your workflow. By Deena Dakhiel

We recently asked our followers on the @destinationjed Instagram page to share some of their most effective advice for creating a productive work culture. We focused on three main topics: increasing productivity, improving time management and creating a positive work environment. Here is what our followers came up with! 6 JAN/FEB 2020


Set SMART goals and KPIs for people to follow with rewards and compensations. Getting organized by setting specific and measurable goals is important for the workflow, so is recognizing a job well done. Employees need to feel valued in the workplace. It’ll help raise morale and boost productivity.

Better the Environment

Have a clear, simple space. Comfortable seats, proper light and mind-stimulating scents. Everybody wants to feel comfortable while they work. This is why it’s important to ensure that the environment stimulates brain activity. It’s best to have decluttered spaces with optimal lighting.

Work Time Fun Time @amber.sumi

Try brain games and physical games timeout. Make the space you work at fun and engaging. Every now and then bring the office together for a fun activity so that everyone gets along and the environment is more relaxed, creating a less stressful environment.

IMPROVE TIME MANAGEMENT Set Those Deadlines @mustafa_naveedmalik

Try to bring in accountability and set deadlines. Revise the deadlines for tasks based on experience. Make sure that the work is divided fairly among co-workers so that no one is under or over worked. Follow up after close to deadlines to make sure everyone is on track.

Listing Priorities @alvinugraheny

Track your time and categorize tasks. Start the week with mosttime consuming.

CREATING A POSITIVE WORK CULTURE Get To Know Everyone @sanaabdulsamad

Open communication, make everyone feel heard, don’t be too rigid, reward honesty, work as a team.

Prioritize! Setting your priorities and sticking to them will help you not bounce between tasks and focus better.

It’s important to get to know the people you work with, creating a sociable workplace. Break the barrier between management and staff to lower stress levels.

Getting Around the How-To

United Front

Use planners, write your objectives clearly in front of you and tick each one at a time.

Make sure you have a traditional day, help all cultures meet at one point.

Get yourself a physical calendar, to-do lists, planners. Anything that will help you see your tasks in one place. Memoir KSA has an array of beautiful designs to choose from. Memoir.ksa


It’s important that everyone in the office gets along regardless their background. Celebrating each person will show that you have a united front and in turn will build office morale. After all, our strengths lie within our many differences. DESTINATION KSA 7


PRACTICING RESILIENCE IN THE WORKFORCE How to let go of anxiety when it comes to your work life. By Dalia El Abd

Sometimes you’re lucky at a job you love. Other times you’re looking for the next big move. On a more challenging event, you find yourself stuck at a job you 8 JAN/FEB NOV/DEC 2020 2019

revolt and can’t find the right time to call it quits. We are all victims of mental drainage when it comes to the stress work brings along with.

We talked with Dr. Modia Batterjee, a Certified Resilience Practitioner, a health and wellness educator and the published author of “Redefine your Bee-ing,” where she enlightened us with how to handle our work lives with less anxiety. Dr. Batterjee holds a doctorate degree in Health Administration.


Undermining your capabilities We have all underestimated our capabilities on many occasions. But how do we get out of this ploy? “I do my best and ask for honest feedback from people I trust. I take their suggestions seriously and try to improve myself,” Dr. Batterjee said. We have to acknowledge that there is always room for growth, as Dr. Modia believes. “I also try to learn as much as I can and improve a little bit every day,” she added.

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Underestimating change We, humans, are always a work in progress. We have the tendency to underestimate how essential change is in our lives. Dr. Batterjee shared some techniques on how to ground yourself and cope with change. “I use nature to ground myself. I like to sit in my garden and make sure I am barefoot to help myself feel attached to the earth. This practice is called “Earthing”. It helps a person feel connected to nature and recharge positive energy. That helps me get perspective and realize that life is all about change and that it is something to look forward to.” Dr. Modia also shared a different perspective about change. “I have learned that in change there is so much potential. Change can be really exciting. It is similar to an update in technology as it’s an opportunity to fix bugs and make things work better.”


Knowing when to cope and when to walk away We tend to stick to jobs that are no longer beneficial to us just because of how much time and effort we’ve invested. You should always listen to your gut feeling when you’re trying to make a life altering decision. “I usually let my intuition guide me on when I need to walk away. The biggest indicators are when I begin to feel like I am going against the grain and need to invest too much energy on getting myself motivated.” Dr. Batterjee also explained that to cope with coworkers we don’t necessarily favor, we have to try to understand what causes them to behave a certain way. We can also cope with tough situations by keeping a healthy distance and not taking matters too personally. If you are passionate about your work and feel like it’s purposeful, you must put your full focus on it and not waste time on distractions that take you from your path. DESTINATION KSA 9


Giving yourself a break “The moment I find myself feeling exhausted and uninterested in doing my work, I know that I need a break. Over the years I have learned to pace myself at work; I take mini breaks from daily tasks, and mini vacations during the week.” Dr. Modia says that by doing so she avoids burnout and is able to focus better. Don’t underestimate a small break every couple of hours, it does wonders to your productivity.


Brushing off your mistakes and moving on It is important to use your mistakes as learning experiences. As soon as you understand why you made this mistake, you’ll feel free and be able to move on without hopefully falling into the same trap again. Dr. Batterjee said that the only way she learned to move past her mistakes was by forgiving herself for not knowing better and trying to rectify the wrongdoing. 10 JAN/FEB 2020


Learning to stop overthinking Who else doesn’t get the sleep they need because their brains won’t stop thinking? Guilty as charged. Dr. Modia described overthinking by saying, “it happens when a person is stuck in a certain neurological pathway of thinking. This pathway is usually placed in fear and uncertainty which stimulates the primal brain of the need to survive.” Here are a few methods to overcome this tiring habit. The first is to have awareness. “Learn to be aware of it when it’s happening. If you find yourself doubting or feeling anxious, take a step back to observe the situation and think about how you’re reacting to it.” Dr. Batterjee continued, “in that very moment of awareness is when you can stop overthinking and switch from survival to strategy.” Another tactic is to try not to think of what can go wrong, as that creates fear. Keeping an open mind helps us think of the potential possibilities that could go right. modiabatterjee Web:



SAY WHAT YOU MEAN, MEAN WHAT YOU SAY Uncomfortable conversations at the office bring us together, I guess? By Dalia El Abd

Not all heroes wear capes, some follow office dress code and go by the name ‘Human Resources.’ We all have a love/hate relationship with HR and we know it. We have to follow office regulations and more often than not when we aren’t on our best behavior and run out of verbal warnings, we end up

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not getting our full salary. Ironically, it always comes to our surprise at the end of every month, although we already know that we weren’t following protocol, but we like to blame it on HR, don’t we? However, this time we decided to focus on why we appreciate HR so much, because let’s admit it, they save us from many uncomfortable conversations we try to run from concerning some fellow coworkers. Here are some sore topics we usually don’t have the guts to say, but have to address one way or the other.

Refusing an inshallah deadline How do you refuse an “inshallah” deadline by one of your teammates? In Arabic culture, inshallah is usually just another polite way of saying no. We can all plead guilty to that statement at a certain point in time. We asked our Editorial Manager how she deals with these situations and her answer was quite direct. “If they pull the ‘inshallah’ card on me, I say yes of course inshallah, but it has to be sent to me by this specific date. If it’s not submitted by then, I give them another close deadline to it, and if that still doesn’t work, I re-assign the work to someone else and give them a warning. Nobody got time for that!” So if you’re ever put in this situation, that’s one way to do it.

Tackling hygiene issues We’ve all been there. We’ve had that one employee who doesn’t take care of his/ her hygiene and therefore makes our stay at the office agonizing. An HR Manager from a reputable multinational company in Jeddah shared with us his encounters regarding this matter and here’s what he said. “You’d be surprised at how many hygiene complaints I receive from different departments. I usually instantly send an email on the importance of maintaining hygiene.” But sometimes an email doesn’t work as well as we think. He continued, “I’ve done several workshops and requested certain people’s attendance so they know how to take care of their hygiene.” This is usually awkward because it discreetly discusses the elephant in the room and we hope they can take a hint. He added, “I’ve even had to sometimes address a person directly.” We assume that’s when silence speaks louder than words at the office afterwards. It’s dreadful, but someone’s got to do it, right? DESTINATION KSA 13

That one person who never pays for their lunch In almost every office, we have that person who doesn’t pay for their lunch. It gets pretty awkward because workplace relationships are sometimes fragile. We spend more time with them than with our own friends, and ironically we’re not that close sometimes. Out of many annoying habits some coworkers have such as microwaving their fish plate and talking loudly on the phone, never paying back for their lunch takes the cake. Thinking of what to order for lunch is one of our main inspirations at work. Food motivates us all, so why burden us with financial concerns when we literally only want to enjoy the meal we ordered and paid for? Letting it slide a couple of times is one thing, but sometimes it can mount to the point where buying lunch becomes an expectancy rather than a favor or gesture. First you can start by saying “It’s fine I got lunch today, tomorrow is on you.” If they don’t take the hint, then build up the courage to have “the talk” with them and speak up frankly, because it’s not being stingy or anything, but we all have duties and responsibilities that don’t include paying our coworkers’ lunch every time. 14 JAN/FEB 2020

Turning down a requested salary increase It’s awkward enough asking for a raise, but being the person who has to turn down that request sounds excruciating. “I like to keep it as formal as I can, even when sometimes they deserve the raise, it’s not always my call to decide,” an HR manager said. “I usually say due to budget constraints we can’t do so at the moment, but I suggest analyzing their performance and seeing where they can improve for further notice,” he added. We also asked some employees what it was like being on the other end of that conversation and they all shared one feeling: awkward. One employee told us the conversation she had with HR the other day and how well it didn’t turn out. “I had to ask for a raise last month and this is what I said: I was wondering if there are upcoming plans to increase my salary as we’re entering a prosperous new year.” She chuckled in embarrassment then added, “after I left, I asked myself why I chose to use the word prosperous and why didn’t I just directly request my raise?” We know what that feels like. It’s much harder than it seems. It’s your turn! Let us know of an awkward situation you faced! Send us your responses on Instagram. destinationksa DESTINATION KSA 15


SELF-MADE SAUDIS Stories of Saudis with humble beginnings. By Zahra Anwer

Here are Saudi's top legendary self-made billionaires and business leaders who successfully established their own enterprise through extraordinary grit and unending perseverance.


Saleh Abdullah Kamel, born in Taif, had started building on his business idea fresh from college – he borrowed money to buy a photocopier to offer photocopying services to his classmates. At a time when photocopying services were expensive, Saleh's reasonable offerings made it a successful service. He then started other profitable ventures and today, he is the founder and chairman of the most powerful conglomerate in the country, Dallah Albaraka. Along with being the most famous businessman in the Kingdom, Saleh is also the president of the Saudi Chamber of Commerce and Industry as well as a member of several bodies and commissions.


Al Rajhi Bank and SAAR Foundation Born in AlBukairiyah, a city in the Qassim region, Saleh Abdul Aziz Al Rajhi and Sulaiman Bin Abdul Aziz Al Rajhi grew up in poverty and difficult living conditions. Always passionate about work, their determination in earning a living was strong. The Al Rajhi brothers started out young by working as porters for caravans traveling to Makkah and Madinah and exchanging coins for their service. They then worked in several professions before they founded Al Rajhi Bank, the largest Islamic banking institution.

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Nicknamed Ghazali by his mother, Mohammad Ali Al Abdullatif was a diligent boy who lost his father at a very young age. As the story goes, he used to buy watches from the local market in Batha in Riyadh and used to travel to sell it to the pilgrims. Being the only child to his parents, Mohammad had no support from his relatives and was in fact criticized for his menial venture. With his mother’s support, he grew up to be a pioneer in the watch industry in Saudi Arabia.

Jarir Bookstore, a go-to haven for books and all things stationery and gadgets, was founded by the late Abdulrahman Nasser Al Agil, who set about by opening a small shop selling used books and artworks in Riyadh. Now listed as the 7th most valuable retail brand in Saudi, it’s developed to be the market leader in the Middle East for books, stationery supplies, and consumer electronics.

Al Ghazali Trading Company

Jarir Bookstore


Sourced photos

Born and brought up in the village of Al-Mehmal area called Al Bir, things weren’t always easy for Abdulaziz Al Mousa. As a young boy who was trying to make ends. Al Mousa worked in farming and plowing, and at 13, he moved to Riyadh with his brother working in masonry, building mud houses and earning only half a riyal per day. Al Mousa’s honesty, commitment, and hard work won over the trust of many investors who wanted to partner up; bringing him a huge capital. After Al Mousa set off to invest in a number of real estate projects that brought him success, he opened his own real estate company — little knowing he would later be a titan in the country's real estate scene. His work and honesty have been praised by King Salman and the former kings as well. DESTINATION KSA 17


ZIAD AL NAJDI: ENTREPRENEUR & INNOVATOR A success story despite all odds. By Dalia El Abd

When I reached adolescence, I fell in love with science books. I would often ask my father for cash to buy more books, not candy. I was reading about everything from biology and chemistry to history. Ziad Al Najdi

Growing up, Ziad and his father found their passion in nature. Ziad loved to observe and study God’s creations, whether animals, insects or plants, and discovered a love for learning. After his father passed away when he was 14, Ziad was left 18 JAN/FEB 2020

alone to plan his future. He would sell chickens at a local bird market for money. “Other times, I would sell homemade scientific instruments to students at school. They improved in physics and I got paid. Win-win!” Al Najdi shared. Simultaneously, he started learning how to code. Being the first member to join a university in his family, Ziad was put under a lot of pressure majoring in finance at King Fahd University. He struggled with depression while trying to focus in college, but remained

determined. “I wanted to do something to channel my emotions positively; I started learning to play the guitar. It was such a powerful way to express what I felt. Playing guitar saved me,” Ziad shared. Ziad pursued finance as a career. “My first job was at Ernst and Young as a financial consultant. That exposed me to the world of business. I also got into electronics and designed a system to control my entire room using my voice. I called the system Samantha. She controlled the lights,


Embracing entrepreneurship is not an easy path to take. But Ziad Al Najdi, co-inventor of the Nadie product and having his own organic farm project in Riyadh, did not succumb to life’s hardships, and held his ground in the face of adversity.

TV, my calendar, and more. I programmed Samantha almost from scratch, with minor help here and there.” A few years ago, Ziad was introduced to the Gum Arabic substance at work when he once got a terrible food poisoning. His coworker told him this substance extracted from a certain species of acacia trees is high in nutrients and does wonders to the human health. At first, Ziad was skeptical. He needed scientific proof. After conducting a lot of research, he discovered that Gum Arabic contains nutreints and benefits that little other known natural foods have. “Studies revealed many health benefits, starting from colon health to the immune system. Studies also highlighted the benefits for kidney and colon diseases, as well as aiding in relieving constipation.” He added, “We had a vision to create an amazing product for the people, and we’d soon name that product ‘Nadie.’ We had to believe in ourselves, our products and brand with every progress.” “Two colleagues and myself started working on the idea of creating a product that contains high-quality Gum Arabic in very convenient packaging. It had to be clean, organic and most

importantly, people should know about it.” Ziad was responsible for the scientific aspect of the project, and together they started learning how parts of the human body work and started conducting every scientific study about the Gum Arabic they could find. “We went to great lengths trying to source the best quality Gum Arabic in Sudan and tested many samples, often to be disappointed with the quality. We wanted the best, and once we found it, we designed Nadie. It contains Gum Arabic that meets all the standards that were set by the European Union.” The Nadie is a white powder supplement that is good for multiple usage. You can drink it by dissolving it in water or you can add it onto your foods and drinks, such as in a smoothie or on a salad. Ziad emphasized on how the Nadie can be more beneficial to your health than other food supplements as it’s completely organic and contains all natural ingredients. Ziad then ventured into the world of farming. His lifelong passion with his father finally turned into reality as he now owns an organic farm in Riyadh. Ziad wasn’t a fan of purchasing vegetables from stores because picking the vegetables too early made them taste bland and poor in nutrients.

“What you find at the supermarkets are modern versions of our ancestor’s vegetables that have been bred to have certain desirable traits, like long shelf lives and a good appearance, but not necessarily good taste or nutritious value.” “We wanted more people to get their hands on these amazing vegetables. We started to research this further and we bought a farm. It›s not easy to plant and grow crops in Riyadh’s weather without pesticides. But we are determined to find a way; we want to do it organically.” He faced quite a few challenges along the way. “For Nadie, we faced many difficulties in learning how retail works and how to let people know we have something special. Hot weather, strong winds, and salty water were setbacks in the farm; we are working on a method to use solar power to desalinate the water.” Next up, Ziad wants to offer more superfoods and bringing the farm to full production with organic dates and heirloom vegetables, and growing 50 or more species of fruit. Email: Tel: +966 555142365 zaiooodx GenuineGum DESTINATION KSA 19


DON’T HESITATE TO INNOVATE! Sustainable innovations for a better tomorrow.

As Saudis, we are inspired with a new phase of opportunities and developments towards a promising vision that is filled with triumph. With the new generation of innovators and startups on the rise in Saudi Arabia’s thriving economy, the Saudi population will reach greater heights of success. In working together to establish a greater impact in our community, let’s discover what some of the local startups and innovators are up to! 20 JAN/FEB NOV/DEC 2020 2019

Sourced photos

By Esra Ozbay


A New Diabetes Gadget for a Needle-Free Solution Around seven million people in Saudi Arabia are diabetic and three million have prediabetes. We are constantly fighting against this growing epidemic with health programs, educational campaigns that are supported by the Saudi Ministry of Health, local health organizations, hospitals, and educational institutions trying to control the effects of diabetes and provide community support to improve the quality of life of those suffering from it. It wasn’t too long before Abdulelah Saleh, co-founder of Saudi startup GlucoJet, and his team developed a pain-free paper sensor that monitors blood sugar levels in saliva. As one of the world’s revolutionary inventions of needle-free diabetic care in 2019, GlucoJet was rewarded SR375,000 through TAQADAM’s accelerator program, which

provides opportunities in the areas of science and technology and for aspiring entrepreneurs to bring their ideas to market through the means of training and mentorship. The program was developed in partnership with King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and Saudi British Bank. So, how does GlucoJet work? The paper sensor gets a saliva sample and plugs it into the GlucoJet reader to get an immediate reading. Biomedical engineer Abdulelah and his teammates Prof. Sahika Inal, Scientific Bioengineering Advisor, and Dr. Eloise Bihar, CTO of Printing Technology, will be expanding their team in order to bring the product faster to the Saudi market. This noninvasive and pain-free innovation of disposable sensors will soon be ready for manufacturing and

distribution through pharmacies and online by 2022. To finalize the product for the market, GlucoJet will be going through FDA approvals and clinical trials in September of 2021. The product’s proprietary technology allows the team to produce their devices at a much lower cost due to its metal-free component and by scaling up to production with the latest printing technology.

Are you an innovator? Apply for TAQADAM’s next round of startup accelerator program at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Innovation and Economic Development. Web: DESTINATION KSA 21


Revolutionizing the agriculture industry to optimize cattle breeding and provide preventative healthcare for cattle can increase efficiency throughout the entire milk supply chain in the kingdom. To implement such technologies within Saudi’s cattle farms, a team of four KAUST master degree students took the initiative. Co-founders Suhaib Amer, Faisal Al Hindi, Hamzah Al Ahmadi, and Al Baraa Aseeri are aiming to create a healthier system for cattle farming in Saudi Arabia. Al Maha Systems, a Saudi tech startup working in the fields of the Internet of Things and animal healthcare, is currently developing a system that monitors and analyzes data for livestock, to increase efficiency. The project is parked under TAQADAM’s program. Saudi Arabia is the third largest market in the global dairy and soy food industries. There are about 260,000 milking cows in the kingdom. According to the co-founders, there will be smart tags on each cow in KSA to keep track of their overall health and activities and increase their productivity. 22 JAN/FEB 2020

The sensors are placed on cows to monitor their health and collect vital data such as heart rate, body temperature and rumination, and the data gets sent over to a cloud-based server. As a result, dairy farmers can detect health-related problems with the cattle ahead of time along with detecting breeding time. Dairy farmers across Saudi Arabia can easily adapt to the dairy cattle monitoring technology and improve dairy production. As there are similar monitoring products already in use by cattle farmers around the world, this smart tag providing biometric data for each cow will provide unique features revolutionizing the farming and dairy industries within the kingdom. The implementation of their system can increase their milk yield and the production on the farm, adding more than an estimated SR1.2 billion annually. The team plans to build a manufacturing plant in the kingdom to localize customer service and provide job opportunities for the youth in the region. Web:



Tesh Tesh portable bidet (shattaf) was Innora’s first trademark to be registered in Saudi Arabia. Ragad’s aim was to help local travelers and adventurers make their journey more comfortable. 24 JAN/FEB 2020

Sourced photos

As Saudis we have always adhered to a strict hygiene culture. As a society, we implement these values from our daily ablutions to our nature’s calling. Personal hygiene is a great influential factor within our faith and making sure to implement this system even when we are travelling is a habit we must embrace. Ragad Al Sharif, founder and CEO of Innoras, a Riyadh-based, innovative, life-hacking products company, targets turning innovative ideas into products that can bring simplicity into our lives.

As a Saudi female entrepreneur and inventor, Ragad’s aim in having the product manufactured in Saudi Arabia gave it a competitive advantage within the Saudi market with cost, development, niche, and sustainable advantages. Nowadays, consumers are becoming more eco-minded and expect environmentally safe and healthy businesses products. In realizing the true potential of the green market and to change consumer shopping behavior, Tesh Tesh is manufactured with 100% environmentally friendly materials. The product is sold in two distinctive colors of blue, green, and pink. The collapsable feature of the bottle is easy to store and it holds up to 600 ml of water. Tesh Tesh offers the best on-thego solution without the need of batteries or electrical connections. Consumers can utilize Tesh Tesh up to 10,000 times before they make another purchase. The product sells at its online store for

$25.40. This sustainable product will allow consumers to become an integral part of environmental, economic, and social change. Since its invention in 2014, Tesh Tesh has gained a substantial amount of success and awareness locally and internationally. Innoras continues to seek out innovative ideas for practical life-hack products made available in the local market. Innoras won the second prize of SR75,000 at the 9/10ths Startup Accelerator Program in partnership with KAUST. As a female entrepreneur, one of the main challenges for Ragad is making sure to have an in-depth understanding about the local market and the consumers’ needs. She believes that being a business owner means educating yourself continuously within your target market. Web: teshteshbottle Tesh.Tesh Bottle TeshTeshBottle DESTINATION KSA 25



Destination KSA held a writing competition for young talents from Jeddah International School (JIS) this issue. The students were asked to write about which Saudi public figure they looked up to. All contributions showed impeccable talent, however, we had to pick one winner. Enjoy reading this piece written by JIS student Majdoline Al Amoudi about her role model Adel Al Jubeir, the former Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs. Winners of the JIS X DestinationKSA writing competition:

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1) Majdolin Al Amoudi on Adel Al Jubeir


A SOURCE OF INSPIRATION Adel Al Jubeir, former minister of foreign affairs. By Majdolin Al Amoudi

“I always tell people that if your job is to solve problems you have to be an optimist. If you’re a pessimist, you can’t be a diplomat, you should be a journalist.” - Adel Al Jubeir. As the young global citizen I claim to be, I view politics as a feisty game of chess, where the board resembles our global community, and the pieces being all the concerns and accusations that countries hold. In this game, winning requires a deft player – in this case a politician or diplomat, who is all-knowing of their battlefield and opponent, sharp with their responses, and persuasive in their speech. It’s no secret that Saudi had a handful of remarkable 2) Tamara Khayyat on Wafaa Abbar

diplomatic players, who gave their country a seat among other leading nations. Needless to say, I’ve always regarded Adel Al Jubeir as a notable character who contributed to the formation of new alliances for Saudi Arabia. During his 31 years of service, Al Jubeir’s eloquence and firm stances were unmatched. Joining education and experience, he went above and beyond in advocating against corruption and injustice. Growing up, watching him attend various international councils and interviews invoked a sense of patriotism within me. Such a feeling has resided in me, eventually growing into this passion that I sought – a passion

3) Rawan Bahannan on Raha Moharrak

for resolving world problems, and to have a legacy like Adel Al Jubeir’s. As a student of the former and longest-serving Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia, Prince Saud Al Faisal, Al Jubeir has given the world a new understanding of politics and international relations. Visiting countries far and wide, he managed to create and strengthen ties between Saudi and the world. A great man like Al Jubeir should certainly be regarded as a role model for his determination and optimistic character. Below are the four runner up students. Read their articles and those of the remaining ten writers at

4) Hala Al Qahtani on Princess Reema Bint Bandar

5) Elan Qurashi on Ahmed Al Shugairi




Tried and tested service apps to save your time. By Dalia El Abd


We’re the generation that surf the internet for basically any life necessity. However, mobile apps make our internet experience more gratifying. There’s an app for any thought that comes to mind nowadays. The app world transcended convenience and left us no room for real life trial and error. Even before you try the app, you check for feedback and comments to make sure the app is practical. That’s where we come in. We tried and tested a few service apps that’ll make your life easier. 28 JAN/FEB 2020

Avocado delivers vegetables and fruits right to your doorstep. The quality of their goods puts them as their customers’ top choice. The app is user friendly. You select the quantity and type of good you desire then press the checkout button to proceed with your order. It asks you when you prefer to receive your order, then provides you with your total payment and your set to go. We were surprised by how neatly our goods were packaged, and how punctual they are. The entire experience was spot on. Fruits were freshly handpicked from the wide range of local and international certified farms and suppliers. Compared to other grocery stores, the price is a bit above average but totally worth it for us.

This is your one stop shop to all home cleaning services. Initially a Dubai service app, Matic made its way across the Kingdom and has been saving people’s time ever since. The App’s quite self-explanatory; you either pick a house cleaning package or you choose the single visit option. You can choose multiple cleaners at a time, if you desire. The packages vary, you can select the one that best suits you; for example, you can pick a package that consists of 12 visits or more. Each visit is 4 hours long, and the services are prepaid online. After you select the time of the visit, the app informs you that the cleaner may come either an hour before or after the chosen time so you’re prepared. The app also notifies the customer that a woman must be present during the visit. It’s a little overpriced in our opinion, as they charge 40 SAR per hour. However, the cleaners are very professional and efficient.



5 5 5 5 5 5 4 5 4

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Overall rating User friendliness Visual appeal App speed App navigation Service Delivery time Customer service Price range

Overall rating User friendliness Visual appeal App speed App navigation Service Delivery time Customer service Price range







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Mahara is a maintenance service app in Jeddah that helps you book your needed appointment in minutes. Instead of asking around and making awful maintenance choices in your house, use this trusted app that provides you with reliable local professionals who get the job done right. This is how the app works: after you choose your location, you get to choose your required service (A/C, Electrical, Painting, Plastering, Pest control, etc.) The cost depends on the type of service you choose. The good news is that it’s not an overpriced application and you will not get ripped off when you use it. The downside for us was that they take cash only. However, the overall experience and quality of the work was excellent. Finally, you will insert the preferred date and time in order to choose your Maher, the local professional you will seek the workers from. Et voila!

Overall rating User friendliness Visual appeal App speed App navigation Service Delivery time Customer service Price range

Mrsool is a delivery app in Riyadh and Jeddah that picks up your order and delivers it to you. It’s easy to follow the app’s steps. You pick your restaurant, write down your order in detail then simply place the order. Another great advantage is that you can deliver packages or personal materials wherever you wish. The most entertaining segment for us is the bidding part. Many drivers bid a number for their delivery fees and you get to pick the lowest price. Sometimes even, the same bidder will bid twice when you reject the first amount they put in. It gets really exciting, trust us. After you’ve chosen the winner, you select when you would like to expect the order. If you choose within an hour, they regularly deliver right away. It’s a very convenient app. We highly recommend it.

Overall rating User friendliness Visual appeal App speed App navigation Service Delivery time Customer service Price range

This beauty care app sells practical and cost friendly products you’d find in a pharmacy. The app is divided into skin and body care, hair care and baby care. Under each category is another list of care products. For example, under skin care lies mask selections, serums, facial washes and lip care products. Their edge is that they sell products with a reduced price compared to what you’d find elsewhere, and they deliver right to your doorstep. The app works Kingdomwide, so wherever you live, they got you covered. The app only works in Arabic, so it’s a bit challenging for English speaking residents. However, the product is delivered within three days and you can pay on arrival, with an extra 10 SAR delivery fee or purchase by card. Balsam helps you take care of yourself without the hassle of searching for the perfect product in so many different places.

Overall rating User friendliness Visual appeal App speed App navigation Service Delivery time Customer service Price range DESTINATION KSA 29


SORRY, YOU DO WHAT AGAIN? Baby boomers couldn’t do this for a living. By Yasmine Mohamed

Social media, smartphones, and other recent technological advancements have created new job opportunities that otherwise were not available around two decades ago. Back in the day, for example, “influencer” was only another word in the English dictionary and not a legitimate, day in and day out job. Also, shifting attitudes of employers and job seekers, strong competition amongst highly capable masses of graduates, and automation leading to layoffs have had a dramatic impact on the job market as we know it today. Work-life balance is becoming more important to youth than financial stability, flexible working hours are replacing 9-5s, job hopping is no longer considered a negative attribute (if anything, a means to accelerate career progress and experience), and 4-day work weeks are a thing now that’s been proven to boost productivity. That being said, the ageold debate with Baba, anything other than medicine, engineering, law or aviation is a “real job” gets harder. Nevertheless, here’s a list of novel career paths you can pursue despite varying perceptions: 30 JAN/FEB 2020

There’s an App for That

// The App Developer Nowadays, there is an app for almost everything. Ever since the release of the first iPhone model back in 2007 and the introduction of applications, our lives have not been the same. App developers are software engineers who create, test, and program apps. They work in teams with graphic artists, data scientists, and other IT professionals. Problem solving, attention to detail, methodical, technical, and analytical skills are essential for this career path. Whether it’s for Apple’s operating system or the Android market, there’s a high demand for App developers and job satisfaction rates are within the top 33% of careers according to App Development Companies in Saudi: Web: Web:

Like, Share & Subscribe

// The Social Media Manager Social media marketing has become indispensable for the growth of companies – social media managers communicate a brand’s image and presence online. They come up with marketing strategies, respond to customers, and prepare timely analysis reports. To become one, you need to be in the know of what’s happening within the community and have a working knowledge of the ever-changing algorithms used by the various social media platforms. DESTINATION KSA 31

1.9M Followers // The Influencer

There is a lack of consensus as to what the exact definition of a social media influencer is. However, it lies somewhere along the lines of being a figure who has gained credibility in a certain topic and has the power to affect followers’ purchase decisions. It’s not merely about the number of followers or popularity, but the trust relationship and engagement between the two parties. Celebrities, industry experts, thought leaders, and bloggers are various types of influencers. Game-changing influencers share certain characteristics. They are particularly knowledgeable about a certain subject and understand their audience well. Effective communication, persuasion, unique charisma, and the ability to get people to engage with their content is also another important attribute. Courses on Becoming an Influencer and Strategy: Web: Web: 32 JAN/FEB 2020

Wardrobe Wages

// The Personal Shopper If you have a knack for fashion, are a people person and patience is a virtue of yours, you have negotiation and persuasion skills, and find great satisfaction in helping others look good and hence feel good, this job may be for you. Personal shoppers help one create flattering looks by shopping with you or for you. Working with different body types and clients with varying budgets is their bread and butter. They know their way around the maze and multitude of different shops, and are aware of all the ins and outs of getting great items for competitive prices. Boutiques and department stores aren’t the only places who hire. Nowadays, personal shoppers are needed to put together looks for photoshoots, ads, and TV show hosts as well. Saudi Personal Shoppers: Styling_diva


We’re Live

// The Podcaster Podcast producers make sure that everything is put together and ready for execution. They recruit guests, write scripts, schedule interviews and session recording times, and edit, mix, upload, and distribute podcasts. The job is very dynamic and requires time management skills, a love for the audio, audio editing and production skills, and the ability to create great content. Did you know that the first podcast feed was announced back in 2003 before Apple added podcasting to its iTunes in 2005? The Mstdfr Network is Saudi’s first podcast network that has been growing and supporting local talents. Saudi Podcast Platform & Consultant: Web: Web: DESTINATION KSA 33


THE WINNING SHOT Immortalizing life’s precious moments.


By Ayman Tamano

Lionel Messi captured smiling during the Argentine vs. Brazil match held in Riyadh as part of the Riyadh Season.

Success is the achievement of a desired result - it can be experienced through many ways and forms. The ecstatic wave of emotions that can all generally fall under happiness is a moment we all wish to grasp for a long time, luckily, the art of photography has given us the opportunity to make this possible. Here are a few photographers that has successfully framed success through their work. 34 JAN/FEB 2020

Saleh Al Hadhlul started off documenting trips with friends and family. As an architect, Saleh’s interest in photography revolves around the unusual approach in photographing everyday things but in a more interesting and intriguing angle as well as old structures and iconic buildings that our eyes have gotten used to looking at. Most of his photography work is within the world of architecture. According to him, no matter how many times you plan to take a certain photograph, the

result may differ from how you envisioned it to be, but that is all part of the process and as long as it serves the purpose of a great photograph, “ should leave them speechless, if a photograph captivates you to the point of being overwhelmed then I have successfully delivered. Photographs for me are like poems without letters, my pen is my camera and my inspiration is the surroundings.” sale7des


A child’s joy captured while running in puddles of rain after months of summer heat.

Helmy H. Al Sagaff is one of the pioneering photographers when digital format was introduced in Saudi Arabia. He always has been a curious soul, observing the world and life around him at a young age, appreciating the lines, the symmetry and inspiring imagery that his eyes rendered. His love for photography stems from the same curiosity, observation and the passion to document everyday things that piqued his interests. “I love the challenge that comes with the process. Photography

is like an extension to my memory, one of the things I love about it is the nostalgic purpose it serves.” The idea of having the ability to document or encapsulate a moment in time and immortalize it through photographs drives Helmy to store archives of material he had shot in both film and digital formats since 1999 to today.

surrounding his subject at the moment the photo was taken. “How and what the photograph you take makes you feel is an important part of taking a great photograph, the other part is if you manage to evoke your audience to feel the same way you do about your photograph.” helmy_alsagaff

As a professional photographer, his portfolio is diverse in terms of content but the element he tries to keep consistent in each picture is preserving the reality DESTINATION KSA 35


At a traditional wedding in the Najd area.

Omar Al Nahdi is the Brand Ambassador for Fujifilm Saudi Arabia and the chairman of the photography committee of the Society of Culture and Arts in Jeddah. He was born to a family that owned a business selling cameras. Naturally, he developed a liking for the artform, but the interest in photography peaked when he finally got his first professional camera in 2006. Then, a desire to capture the heritage behind historical Jeddah was evoked. 36 JAN/FEB 2020

Omar loves to take photographs of a city’s landscape, the life in the streets and people’s facial expressions. To him, the artform is his most effective way of expressing how he feels inside. A perfect picture for him is “to capture a subject that tells the story of a person or a social issue, to showcase that photograph in hopes that it could touch people’s emotions and lives.” A recipient of the Saudi Colors Award in Cultural Heritage,

Omar has a collection of photographs documenting the recent positive changes and developments in women’s lives in Saudi Arabia. His instagram account contains posts depicting the country’s progress. To him, this is one form of capturing “success.” “I love the challenge that comes along with the process. Photography is like an extension to my memory…” nahdiomar

Abdulrahman Aldgelbi’s mostly known for his regional photography exhibitions, but his love for the medium started off with the simple fact that he lives in one of Saudi Arabia’s most photogenic cities, Taif, a place locally known to have an abundance of roses. Ten years later, Abdulrahman has honed his skills enough to know what makes a photograph great, “I love photos that touch your heart, mind and affects your emotions. However, a picture

taken for no particular purpose means nothing.” He understands the many challenges that a photographer needs to overcome to walk away with the desired outcome. To him, there are many ways to capture success with a single click, but a different way of photographing one of the truest forms of success is through capturing special moments like when a person realizes a dream, or the overcoming

of a challenge after a number of repeated failures and most importantly, self-discovery. Abdulrahman believes that every photographer has the ability to capture these through their own lens and style. aldgelbi



The Hijazi art of Ta’sheer.


A BEAST TO SAY THE LEAST MDL Beast festival breaks records in Riyadh. By Dalia El Abd

Riyadh hosted MDL Beast, the biggest music festival ever held in the Middle East from the 19th till the 21st of December 2019. With over 400,000 visitors attending the three-day rally, the festival scored soaring records in comparison to other international festivals.

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With iconic international and local attendees such as Alessandra Ambrosia, Halima, Ed Westick, Negin Mirsalehi, Karen Wazen, Scott Disick, Sonam Kapoor, Elsa Hosk, Fatima Al Banawi and Alaa Balkhy, the festival was the biggest event of the year in the Kingdom and the Arab world. MDL Beast’s multi-stage experience showcased more local and international talents. It was surely a festival for all the senses as the crowd enjoyed some of the most innovative, immersive experiences in world-class music, art, culture and gastronomy in one venue. All five stages – Big Beast, UG Beast 1 and 2, Down Beast and Saudi Beast – were nothing short of exhilaration and thrill. Thousands of people from around the globe gathered at Durrat Al Riyadh to rave and delve into the captivating electronic vibes with international DJ beasts taking over and giving them a weekend to remember. MDL Beast received a Guinness World Record for the “Biggest Stage in 2019”. All stages were on fire the day of the opening as the Big Beast stage hosted worldwide DJ gurus such as Black Coffee, Tiesto, Martin Garrix, Marco Carola and SimiHaze, as well as international rapper Rick Ross. Nonetheless, the UG Beast 1 stage welcomed phenomenal DJs including Peggy Gou, Solomun, Vinyl Mode and Cosmicat. Other extraordinary performances led by Prunk, Carlo, Rio, SpceBoi and DESTINATION KSA 39

Anmarz, Tarek Antabi, Kerri Chandler and The Engineers were also showcased. On the second day, the lineup included the prominent Steve Aoki, David Guetta, J Balvin, Fisher and CamelPhat. The last day also witnessed groundbreaking talents, like Afrojack, Amr Diab, Omar Basaad, Sebastian Ingrosso, r3hab and Salvatore Ganacci featuring Mariam Faris. Local Saudi Beasts including El Fuego, Nas-G, Dish Dash, Jeme and K.Led and Majid also got the chance to perform for 40 JAN/FEB 2020

the crowd at the Saudi Beast event on December 19th. They blew people’s minds away with elating music that frees the soul. On December 20th and 21st, Saudi talents including Shisma, Desertf!sh, A2B, AZM, Baloo, Vinyl Mode, Varoo, IBZ, Tarek and Tamer Antabi, Cosmicat, Hats & Klaps were present and alive at the stage. Egyptian icons Amr Diab, Mohamed Hamaki and Amr Mostafa balanced out the weekend with Arabian rhythms and funky beats that matched the taste of our Arab audience at the event. Even the

Western crowd got the chance to experience the authentic feel of Amr Diab’s magic as they grooved to the sound of Egyptian tempos. Needless to mention is the extravagance of all stages, lighting and spaciousness. By the third day of the festival, MDL Beast organizers had to make more space for 20,000 extra guests as the number of attendees exceeded MDL Beast’s expectations. When the night is young and the day is lodged, you mustn’t forget to satisfy your stomach

with delicious food just as much as you have satisfied your ears with impeccable electric melodies. This is why The Global Street Food Market, with 60 different food stands, was present at the venue, offering different cuisines to meet the needs of all the distinct taste buds that were present. DJ Steve Aoki opened his pop-up pizza place called Pizzoki and the Latin American MNKY HSE restaurants hosted full service fine dining experiences every night of the weekend. The event was not solely about the music: an arts & cultures segment was present, where a series of incredible, immersive performances and visual spectaculars took place at the venue as well as street theatre performers who roamed the areas and interacted with the guests. Entertainment such as light parades and drumming troupes took place at the festival too. MDL Beast hosted a number of boutique shopping experiences for those who wanted to experience top class retail therapy while raving to the beats of their hearts. Surely that’s just the beginning of what Saudi has to offer when it comes to world-class events and entertainment. If you think you’ve seen it all, wait till you see what’s in store! Web: mdlbeast MDLBeast DESTINATION KSA 41



MDL BEAST An origin story. By Jou Pabalate

It’s been a couple of weeks post-MDL Beast, but its effect throughout the city of Riyadh and the Kingdom continues to reverberate. MDL Beast ushered in changes that propelled us to new dimensions— shifting lives, perceptions, and popular culture in one unforgettable weekend. As the dust settles in Banban, we decided to get closer to the eye of the ‘soundstorm’ and find out what it took to bring MDL Beast to life. Destination had a chat with Baloo, also known as Ahmad Al Ammary, a partner and brand strategist at 9SS Creative, the Saudi agency that developed the MDL Beast brand. Baloo, Anmar, and Ibz also happen to be DJs. Baloo found himself in the middle of a dream project he never saw coming. “It came to us just 5 months ago, we couldn’t believe it but at the same time, being DJs and designers/creatives for years, we knew exactly what we needed to do. My partners and I, we’ve had the brand name parked in the back of our heads for years. But it needed to be a big brand with big attitude. When this festival came up--- we all looked at each other and said, this is it. This is MDL BEAST,” said Baloo. 42 JAN/FEB 2020

Organizing an event, regardless of where you are in the world is no easy feat. Add to that challenge only having two months to build an unprecedented three-day festival in the middle of the desert. It took multiple talents and professionals, both Saudi and foreign all coming together, sharing many sleepless nights to bring the Beast to life.

identity, like no project before. Seeing it all come together, being a part of MDL Beast opened my eyes to so much, so many possibilities, so much potential.”

A day before opening, Baloo found himself standing in the middle of an empty audience space, staring up at the towering stage, engulfed by the sound of the speakers. “Before MDL Beast, I didn’t expect anything like this to happen, then it came and We were engulfed in every detail, even beyond its brand

“The experience was both exhausting and exhilarating, but on those three days, we were running all over the place, fueled by the positive energy people radiated. They had so much fun. It was infectious and very humbling.” Baloo, who also performed on the Saudi Beast and UG Beast

At that moment the universe aligned, Baloo’s passions entwined, and in those few seconds that would last him a lifetime--- he was home. He knew he belonged.

What we found monumental during the festival is the bond among artists and a sense of community the local talents exhibited. Urban legends playing the underground scene surfacing, breakthrough DJs sharing the spotlight, with musicians who up until that day, only had their closest friends and family as audiences. “I was giving a tour to some of

our guests before the event and came across a dear friend and fellow dj. We looked at each other, and there was a clear acknowledgment combined with shock of what was happening right then and there. He walked up to me and held my hand tightly and said nothing, but also everything the way he looked at me, that really got to me— and I saw why we needed to make all this happen.” There is no doubt that MDL Beast is now part of our modern history. MDL Beast’s army of passionate, hardworking, and driven people all contributed to building a new legacy, armed with a rhythm that brought a nation together.


stages shared, “I’ve been doing this (DJing) for 23 years, but to do it in my hometown, on an unprecedented regional platform that we helped create, in front of all our people, was overwhelming, and you try to hang on to that moment because you know nothing’s ever going to be the same after it.”



RISING ABOVE GROUND Saudi DJs cast local sound cloud over MDL Beast By Dalia El Abd

DJ tarek anTabi

The music scene in Saudi Arabia has been around for decades--- although admittedly, most artists would have done it in past within the confines of their living rooms, bedrooms, and basements. At some point, that evolved into rare gigs in cafes and certain establishments or traveling abroad just to perform. So imagine how life-changing it is for talented veteran musicians to suddenly find themselves performing on stage and in their country?

DJ tarek anTabi has been performing for over 20 years now and the MDL Beast event was definitely one of the main highlights of his career. His music passion goes a long way. “Since I was a toddler, I always loved music. Luckily, when I went to Deerfield Academy, close to Boston, USA, they had a radio station and I had a -60minute show that aired live on a weekly basis. The radio station used to get early promos only released on vinyl, I would play these records from time to time during my weekly show. This eventually got me

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intrigued, so when I went to Boston University in September ‘99, I bought a mixer and two Technics turntables and that’s where it all started.” DJ Tarek has performed in many cities including Beirut, Boston, Dubai, Miami, New York, Paris and most recently the MDL Beast event in his hometown, Riyadh. Tarek performed 3 times at the festival. He commented, “First, I got to DJ with my brother anTabi broThers. I played at the UG2 Beast, where I was slotted between Kerri Chandler and Matthias Tanzmann. On Saturday, I had the pleasure to play alongside the 9sicksick crew (Baloo and Ibz) on the

DJ Adnan Z. Manjal (A.K.A: AZM)

Pop Out Quote: “witnessing and listening to some of my all-time favorite DJs performing in Saudi Arabia was the most ecstatic experience. Of course sharing music that I love on the Saudi Beast stage with the audience was a spectacular moment.


Born in Jeddah, DJ AZM’s plays house music with a touch of soul. The thriving DJ has over five years of experience in the field. The underground Saudi DJ gained quite the number of fans from the MDL Beast event, where he got to perform in front of thousands of Saudi and non-Saudi ravers. Adnan’s music passion stemmed from his childhood, where he used to create his own mixtapes as a teen and share it with his friends. The idea of sharing his music and taking people on a musical journey has been his passion ever since his childhood and as he grew he started learning the basic guidelines of DJing from other Saudi artists in the business. Adnan started off by playing in house parties for friends in Jeddah. In 2017, he moved to Panama City and now performs there. Given the opportunity to perform at MDL Beast was probably the biggest night of his career.


Nawaf Abusaba’a:

DJ Anmar Madani

Listening to trance music back in 2005 inspired Nawaf to become a Dj. He started performing in Jeddah at private parties and abroad as well. To date, he has been pursuing his passion for around 8 years. Performing at MDL Beast instilled a sense of excitement and pride in this young Saudi Dj. To him, witnessing Dj Solomun perform at the Underground stage was unforgettable.

DJ Anmar has been playing music for 22 years now. He is originated from Jeddah but lived in the US in the late nineties, which is where his gaze for house music initiated. Anmar shared, “It was in ‘98 in Portland Oregon, a friend of mine took me to my first rave and it was the first time I heard ‘House Music’ in its true form in ‘that’ kind of environment, and I fell in love.”

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Anmar did his residencies in Portland and Eugene Oregon from 2000 till 2007. He has also played in Las Vegas, San Francisco, LA, Seattle, Salem,

Roseland, London, Bahrain, Beirut, and finally Saudi Arabia. He identifies his music as westcoast/Chicago house, drum & bass, downtempo/hiphop. Performing at the MDL Beast event was a surreal experience for Anmar, he said, “playing the first Drum & Bass Set ever in Saudi was incredible, and being the one to introduce it in such a huge platform was very special. Im super grateful to have been given the opportunity to do so. Its one thing to play good music people know but it›s a whole different thing to play new music people never heard of and have them enjoy it the same if not more.”

“Dreams can come true, and I am lucky and grateful to have been part of such a historical event.” These thoughts dominated Rio’s mind as he played his groovy beats at MDL Beast. The appearance marked his debut official public gig. It was exhilarating to him to be performing on such an enormous platform with friends and family supporting in the crowd. Before that, Rio mainly performed at private events and spent the majority of his time practicing and collecting tracks.


Rio Rayan:



SAUDI DXN, FTW These local designers and brands are turning the world into a Pinterest board, while shifting Saudi’s aesthetic and functional consciousness. By Jou Pabalate


As creatives descended in Riyadh for Saudi Design Week, we saw breakthrough talents and design practitioners rise to the occasion with showcases that marry contemporary design with a unique play on local identity. 48 JAN/FEB 2020

Dahr Design Studio has been making a name for itself not just in Saudi Arabia but in the region. Speaking to its creative director, AlBara Saimaldahar, we can see the appeal. Their latest collection, SIKKA, breathes new life to forgotten materials—wood and items from the Hejazi railways, no less. Dahr has turned them into contemporary pieces that can definitely spark a conversation. “Sikka takes our passion

for sourcing local materials, designing and transforming them into meaningful experiences of unique and well thought products. In 1951, King Abdulaziz had established the country’s first railway line to transport crude oil with the assistance of ARAMCO. The wood railways served under the heat of the Arabian sun for decades before it got replaced by concrete. 70 years later, we now find ourselves seduced by the impressions and character left on the wood surfaces by its history. And that’s what you see here, each product is delicately designed and manufactured, it’s comfortable, it’s more than a piece of wood, it’ll stand the test of time— as it had in the past.” Web: dahr___

TORBA STUDIO Torba Studio is a fashion brand based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Designing womenswear, menswear and accessory collections. The name of the brand ‘Torba’ is an Arabic word that means sand. Torba Studio takes its inspiration from the mystery and philosophy of the unknown, spirit and the afterlife. And that’s where the brand’s slogan, ‘See beyond what you can touch’ comes from. They create pieces that play on the brand’s love of thought-provoking ideas and graphics. Torba Studio’s goal is to develop the fashion industry in the region, to reach global markets and to provide jobs in the design field because passion is a way of happiness.




MAALB.KOUN BY AKWAN Inspired by a personal experience with her son’s relationship to Arabic language, Saudi design Lujain Abulfaraj together with Emirati designer Sara Al Arif, co-created Akwan. A project that brings the Arabic language closer to children through play. Maalb.Koun, is one of the project’s playgrounds, which debuted at Saudi Design Week. A few thousand miles

away, Maalb.Dhad, its sibling showcased at Dubai Design Week. The “fun”ctional installation has brought in quite the attention, with Maalb. Koun receiving support from the Delegation of the European Union in Saudi Arabia. Interestingly enough, the playground’s purpose has evolved, it has become a movement and a way of raising awareness in our contemporary relationship with the language. Likewise, the design also

promotes engagement between adults, creating a sphere to discuss, congregate, and activate the playground as a social space. 50 JAN/FEB 2020

LEBEED BY MUSE RAWAN X MOATH ALOFI Lebeed is an interesting example of how multidisciplinary practitioners can come together to create something authentic and original. This jewelry collection is inpired by unique rock formations, inscriptions, and heritage in Saudi Arabia.

Rawan is a Saudi designer, product developer, and 3D jewelry program trainer. She is the founder of Muse Rawan, a jewelry house adapted from Islamic architecture, civilizations, and monuments. Rawan is especially interested in supporting graduates from the design sector either in collaboration or instruction. muserawan


Moath Alofi is a Madinahbased artist, researcher, and explorer. Currently, he is the Head of Cultural Programs at the Madinah Development Authority, manager of the Madinah Arts Center, founder of Al-Mthba studio, and the co-founder of Erth Team, a production group for safari trips, aerial and travel photography.



AN ODE TO FASHION A look inside what it means to be a plus size girl in the Kingdom. By Deena Dakhil

For most people, finding a pair of jeans or even a basic white t-shirt is an easy grab-and-go task. However, for me it wasn’t always that easy. Searching the market for a store that carried my size in the first place was one of the most annoying, intimidating, and not to mention embarrassing efforts. I had to learn who carried my size and had to stay loyal - not by choice! While everyone shopped from a wide variety of places and could easily follow all the new trends as they came and went, I had to resort to the same overall aesthetic. The selection of brands was limited to less than a handful which included two brands at Debenhams, Next, and Marks & Spencer. It’s as though the industry forgot that plus size people like to look fashionable too. The main and on-going issue with plus-size fashion however, is that the industry usually 52 JAN/FEB 2020

has one intention, and that is to create clothes that make women look slimmer. Most of the jeans being sold to bigger women included bootcut pants in order to create the illusion of a cinched waist while other designs featured oversized tops in order to hide women’s figures. Fashion for the plussized was never intended to flatter a woman’s figure. For the longest time, fashion was the exclusive party that welcomed only a certain body type. The rest of us had to figure out how to compensate with statement shoes, accessories and makeup. However, this is changing. The fashion industry has been growing its plus size variety. Fast fashion has extended to include a curve range such as Forever 21 and H&M. More and more online sites are taking action in providing a plus size or curve range from the start such as Good American and Savage x Fenty. There is an outspoken online community spearheading the body positive aiding in creating more variety

in fashion. Professional model, Ashley Graham is now walking runways for designers who consider plus size women. With all this change occurring in the industry, it is still not enough. As a Saudi woman, most of my shopping is happening online from western brands, or when I leave the country. I barely shop in Saudi, and when I do, my options are limited. I am writing this in hopes that local designers in the Kingdom start to explore designing for a wider range of bodies. It would be an honor to confidently wear local designs made to properly fit my figure.

Pants: debenhams

Pants: gerryweberofficial



Business means business and this outfit is for any strong woman trying to get her foot into the boardroom. Simple black on black can get boring, play the look up with an added accent on the pants for a bolder style.

Need a look that screams laid back, beach vibes with the sun in your face and the wind in your hair? I got you! Pair printed pants with a flowy white top and your preferred accessories. DESTINATION KSA 53

Abaya: sumayaabdulaziz

Thobe: rivafashionme

54 JAN/FEB 2020



When the whole family gets together for a gathering, you want to look cute yet stay comfortable. A thobe is the perfect direction to take when aiming to achieve that goal. Pair it with some heels and you’re good to go!

Ditch the uncomfortable slippers, put on your abaya over a shorter dress and get your sneakers out for a long warm day out running errands. Comfort is key, but so is style.

Pants: boohoo

Abaya: sumayaabdulaziz



Dress to impress yourself before anyone else at a fancy dinner or even a wedding. Flowy garments with bold prints will leave you feeling confident and regal.

Going out with a group of friends but not exactly sure what to wear? Elevate a typical pair of ripped jeans with a flowy shirt, statement shoes and a couple of your favorite jewelry pieces. DESTINATION KSA 55


MODELING BEYOND THE KINGDOM Meet the Saudi models who have taken on the International fashion community. By Deena Dakhil

The fashion industry in the Kingdom has been exponentially growing, and with it grew the number of professional models across the board. The following models were brave enough to take their work internationally and be recognized as some of the first Saudi models to work professionally outside the Kingdom. Here are their stories:

56 JAN/FEB 2020

DANIAH BAWAZIR Meet runway model Daniah Bawazir. Since getting her start in the industry back in 2018, she has taken part in multiple runway shows at Arab Fashion Week two years in a row alongside multiple modeling projects in Dubai and London. After taking classes at the London College of Fashion back in 2018, Daniah flew to Dubai to meet with various people from the fashion industry. She sat through meetings trying to find a way in, until finally she met with Jacob Abrian, CEO of Arab Fashion Council. “He asked if I’d ever modeled before, which I hadn’t, and asked me to walk the runway during Arab Fashion Week as their first Saudi model. I said yes!”


Daniah has since worked with countless designers, the most memorable ones being Sara Altwaim and Nora Al Shaikh. “It was fun for me as they are also Saudi women who have worked hard and earned their success,” she says. Also a favorite of hers was Iris Van Herpen, a Dutch fashion designer considered a pioneer in the industry for utilizing 3D printing as a garment to sculpt unique designs. For anyone looking to break into the fashion community, Daniah advises to stay determined, “It takes time in this industry to establish yourself - be patient. As long as you’re trying, you’re succeeding.” daniah.tb DESTINATION KSA 57

SHAHAD SALMAN From landing the cover of Vogue Arabia alongside international American model Winnie Harlow to walking the runway at Fashion Forward Dubai for Saudi designer Arwa Al Banawi in 2019, Shahad Salman has quickly become a rising star in the local fashion community. Long gone are her days on social media posting photos in hopes of getting modeling gigs.

Years before she started modeling, Shahad was bullied for her vitiligo, yet she never played the victim card. Instead she decided that her drive to break into a career in modeling outweighed the social pressures she received because of her looks. “You should be the one who takes the first step, because no one is going to come and take it for you,” Shahad says. 5sunshine1 58 JAN/FEB 2020


Shahad owes most of her recent success to a single Instagram post, when she came across a photo of Winnie Harlow and was shocked at how much they resembled each other. Shahad posted a photo of herself sideby-side Harlow’s and then tagged the international model. Overnight, the photo was seen by thousands of people until it reached Harlow herself. And so the story of her Vogue cover began, and she later got international exposure from Kim Kardashian on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Ironically, the very thing she was cast aside for is the exact trait that got her recognized on a global scale.

BANDAR MOHAMMAD Confidence and style are at the base of what Bandar Mohammad exudes. He has always been into fashion, believing that you express your values through clothes. “It is one of the most essential ways to make a good first impression,” he says. With this philosophy, Bandar has taken part in multiple projects, from walking the runways of Paris Fashion Week to starting his own clothing brand. His first experience on a runway was held at a fashion show during his college years at Indiana University in the US. After a few times being seen featuring the same Saudi traditional thobe, he decided to try something new and wear a formal suit. The response was overwhelmingly positive. That’s when he figured he could take this modeling thing a step further.


He has since represented different global designers in Paris. One of his best moments was opening for Catou on the runway, a brand best known for tailoring formal wear for both men and women. December of 2019, Bandar launched Beyondrays, a luxury clothing brand that focuses on the etiquettes of formal clothing. “The brand’s main objective is to create a fashion community that combines the latest trends with classic apparel,” he explains. beyondray DESTINATION KSA 59


DURAIBAH Contemporary Islamic design. By Zahra Anwer

A trendy contemporary Islamic design house, Duraibah features unique lifestyle products that express its customers’ unique Muslim identity. Duraibah got its name from one of the old doors of the Holy Mosque of Makkah that led to an ancient souq in Makkah. Today, as a contemporary Islamic design house that is born out of Makkah, Duraibah opens the door for lifestyle products that enrich the bond between Muslims and the Islamic culture. It prides itself on stocking beautiful items including copies of the Quran with covers, prayer mats, colorful subhas (prayer beads), home decor and several accessories designed by creative contemporary Muslim designers. Recently, the store launched a new collection of elegant subhas that are made with a harmonious mix of semi-precious beads, using black onyx with red, yellow and blue agate. Duraibah has three branches in Makkah and its online store offers shipping across the Middle East and other countries like the US and Japan. Location: Jabal Omar Mall and Abraj Al Bait Mall duraibah Web: 60 JAN/FEB 2020


ALULA EVENTS CALENDAR Find out what’s in store this winter. By Deena Dakhiel


62 JAN/FEB 2020

As part of Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority plans, AlUla is hosting its second annual Winter at Tantora. The magical city never fails to awe its visitors, and the general public is starting to take notice. This year, the highly anticipated

event will include some returning festivities and special guests as well as some thrilling, never before seen happenings. All the while allowing guests to enjoy a range of cultural and entertaining experiences taking place between December 19 and March 7.

INDIVIDUAL EXPERIENCES Experience the one of a kind city of AlUla Heritage Sites Experience Explore and discover ancient heritage sites including Mada’in Salih, Jabal Al-Fil, the old town of AlUla - aka AlDirah, and so much more.

Franchise Freedom Watch about 300 drones dance above you in the desert night sky accompanied by live music. Wadi AlQura Market Shop around for local handmade products and local delicacies in a traditional marketplace. Winter Park Experience international cuisine served by food trucks. Farm Experiences Explore a date plantation and spend time with different animals at Hujrat Nora.

Maraya Concerts and Performances Watch some of your favorite world class international artists perform at the Maraya concert hall. AlUla Trails Choose between cycling, hiking or 4x4 excursions to explore AlUla’s natural heritage sites and more. AlUla Desert Polo Some of the world’s best players will be taking part in an exciting polo tournament featuring AlUla’s breathtaking landscapes. Brilliance of the Souls Step into a mirrored room depicting a borderless reality by Japanese contemporary artist Yayoi Kusama.


Sunrise Balloon Ride Get an aerial view over Mada’in Salih, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, during a breathtaking sunrise.


INDIVIDUAL EXPERIENCES Experience the one of a kind city of AlUla

MUSICAL PERFORMANCE Enjoy the remaining performances at the Maraya concert hall Music and Medley ft. Il Divo Operatic pop quartet are bringing their unique mix of genres to Maraya.

JAN 2020, 16 - 18

Electric Energy ft. Jamiroquai Join Jamiroquai for a fun upbeat musical experience.

JAN 2020, 23 - 25

Majesty and Maestro ft. Andrea Bocelli Gracing the Maraya stage once again after his sell-out performance in 2018, worldclass opera singer is returning to AlUla.

JAN 30 - FEB 1, 2020

Sensation and Skill ft. Yanni Returning to Saudi once again, Yanni will light up the stage with an energetic performance.

FEB 2020, 6 - 8 64 JAN/FEB 2020

Enrique Iglesias The King of Latin Pop Enrique Iglesias will bring the Latin vibes to Winter at Tantora with a massive headline show. Playing an eclectic mix of salsa, flamenco and Latin-rock

FEB 2020, 20 - 22

Lionel Richie AlUla is proud to host two of the world’s most legendary pop artists amongst its legendary landscapes

FEB 2020, 27 - 29

Thursday - Saturday GOLD - Return flight from Riyadh/Jeddah - Hotel with breakfast - Return airport transfer by bus - 3-day pass for hop-on hop-off bus - Heritage sites tour -Gold ticket for concert & gala dinner PLATINUM - Return flight from Riyadh/Jeddah - Hotel with breakfast - Return airport transfer in a shared SUV - 3-day pass for hop-on hop-off bus - Heritage sites tour - Platinum ticket for concert & gala dinner DIAMOND - Return flight from Riyadh/Jeddah - Hotel with a full board meal plan - Meet & greet at the airport - Butler - Concierge services - Private driver available 24/7 - Heritage sites tour - Diamond ticket for concert & gala dinner DIAMOND PLUS - Return flight from Riyadh/ Jeddah - Hotel with a full board meal plan - Meet & greet at the airport - Butler - Concierge services - Private driver available 24/7 - Heritage sites tour - Diamond ticket for concert & gala dinner - Dinner at Annabel’s - Private viewing of the Piaget Lounge at Maraya

ONE-DAY PACKAGES Friday GOLD - Return flight from Riyadh/Jeddah - Return airport transfer by bus - 1-day pass for hop-on hop-off bus - Heritage sites tour - Gold ticket for concert & gala dinner PLATINUM - Return flight from Riyadh/Jeddah - Return airport transfer in a shared SUV - 1-day pass for hop-on hop-off bus - Heritage sites tour - Platinum ticket for concert & gala dinner

BUNDLED EXPERIENCES Add activity bundles to your package ALULA FROM ABOVE - Air Balloon Ride - Get the best views of AlUla - Vintage Aircraft Experience - Fly over iconic city attractions in a vintage aircraft - Glow Show - Watch as 30 balloons light up AlUla’s sky AUTHENTIC ALULA - Culture Farm Experience - Discover AlUla’s farm land at Hujrat Nora - Wadi Al Qura Market Experience - Shop around for local handmade products and delicacies - Living Immersion - Hegra - Take a look into the lives of AlUla’s famous inhabitants GASTRO EXPERIENCE - Awna - Experience fine dining with 6-course meal prepared by a Michelin-star chef - Winter Park Experience - Treat your tastebuds to delicious street food - Farm Experience - From fruit picking to smoothie sipping, enjoy unique farm experiences

DIAMOND - Return flight from Riyadh/Jeddah - Private driver available 24/7 - Heritage sites tour - Diamond ticket for concert & gala dinner YOUR DAY, YOUR WAY - Return flight from Riyadh/Jeddah - Return airport transfer by bus - 1-day pass for hop-on hop-off bus - Add extra activities to customize your package

Times and dates are prone to change. For the latest updates visit

ExperienceAlUla ExperienceAlUla experiencealula Web: DESTINATION KSA 65



YOUR WEEKEND, YOUR WAY - Return flight from Riyadh/Jeddah - Hotel with breakfast - Return airport transfer by bus - 3-day pass for hop-on hop-off bus - Add extra activities to customize your package


NEW ACTIVENTURES IN KSA On a hunt for new iconic entertainment zones to do around the Kingdom? Have a gander at our recommendations. By Zahra Anwer

1. THE HOT AIR BALLOON JOURNEY Once again, the Winter at Tantora Festival in Al Ula will give you the chance to experience a wide range of diverse cultural events and activities including the hot air balloon ride throughout the Al Ula Season till March 7, 2020. Float high above ancient rock formations in a bonkers-​exciting heavenly tour soaring above t​he 66 JAN/FEB 2020

breathtaking heritage that dots the landscape below.There’s more good news​– Sahab Federation, the Saudi Hot Air Ballooning Federation, has recently announced​a one-ofa-kind opportunity to develop ballooning opportunities all around Saudi. Winter at Tantora Festival experiencealula

Sahab Federation sahabfederation

The Diriyah district is an area which has witnessed a significant overhaul in recent years and has become a cultural transformer, bringing a modern creative concept influenced by the traditional local architectural style. Located in the Bujairi neighborhood, the art museum will be a precinct to promote the best contemporary pieces, in

addition to being an incubator for the emerging talent. Currently, ​the museum project is being implemented and will be open to the public this year. Location: Al Bujairi district, Ad-Diriyah dgda_sa




3. OPEN-AIR SKATING RINK The ice skating rink came as part of the incredible Winter Wonderland that’s one of Riyadh Season’s iconic zones. The event boasts the biggest outdoor rink in the Middle East surrounded by several other activities. Whether you pirouette like a pro or just wobble around 68 JAN/FEB 2020

with the help of skate aids, this rink is for everyone. The ice skating rink costs SR 60 per person and will be there until a limited time so better get your skates on! Location: King Fahd Rd., Winter Wonderland, Riyadh

4. ZERO LATENCY - VR​ PLAYGROUND​ ARCADE (RIYADH) Book your virtual journey and explore the unimaginable world of the eye-popping possibilities of virtual reality entertainment together with your squad. Zero Latency is a gamers’ haven offering VR experiences for up to 8 players. This arcade has a great selection of games ranging from ‘Engineerium” where you investigate a secret military space station and fight killer robots and rogue drones, to ‘Zombie Survival’, which drops you into a zombie apocalypse. Tickets cost SR 150 for an hour-long experience, including a briefing.


Location: Salma Center, Imam Abdullah Ibn Saud Ibn Abdulaziz Rd., Ash Shuhada, Riyadh Web: zerolatencyme



SPEED AND AGILITY The King Abdulaziz Falconry Festival. By Zahra Anwer

The second edition of the King Abdulaziz Falconry Festival (KAFF), an international festival organized by the Saudi Falcons Club (SFC) was held in December in Malham, north of Riyadh. The largest of its kind in the world, the competition has set a Guinness World Record during its first edition last January with the participation of elite falconers and 1,723 falcons. 7070 JAN/FEB 2020

This year, the 16-day festival witnessed the enthusiastic participation of several falcon owners from around the Kingdom and the GCC countries, notably female Saudi falconer Adhari Al Khaldi, who broke gender barriers as the first Saudi woman to take part in the competition.

The falcon competition was divided into two categories — owners and professionals, with 12 rounds from each category and a prize money of SAR14.6 million for the winners. Seven participants from each round qualified for the tournament, while the top ten winners of each round were honored daily.

Displaying the innate skills of the trained magnificent raptors, the festival highlighted the speed and grace of the falcons, with more than SR 21 million in cash prizes for the competition winners allocated by the SFC. The spectators watched in awe as each falcon accelerated faster than a Formula One race car and followed a diving flight path to a set target.

A total of SR 1.2 million was granted to the winners of the competition for young falcons, while SR 1.8 million was granted to the winners of the competition for fully grown birds.

The King Abdulaziz Falconry Festival aims to preserve the traditional sport that is one of the most important features of the cultural identity and legacy of the Kingdom and the Arabian Gulf region. saudifalconclub Web:


The event also included a Falcon Beauty Pageant in which local and international falconers showed off the species’ finest attributes.



DIRIYAH RIYADH’S CULTURAL AND ENTERTAINMENT OASIS Land of kings, heroes and modern-day champions. By Jou Pabalate

Nestled in the northwestern part of Riyadh, Diriyah has stood as a testament to the Kingdom’s rich history and independence. Its significance lies in being the first capital and settlement of the Saudi State. Its place in history, which is also manifested in the mud brick architecture and burrows, makes it a true UNESCO world heritage site--- with its At Turaif district being the focus of renovations and preservation activities. While its authenticity being held intact, it is in the process of being transformed into an open museum and a heritage destination. However, in recent years and with the creation of the Diriyah Gate Development Authority, Diriyah as we know it is getting pegged to be one of the biggest cultural and entertainment hubs of the Kingdom. Beyond its historic value, we’ve seen the 7km giga project play host to the most spectacular events in the city. Last months of 2019 saw the 72 JAN/FEB 2020

inauguration of Diriyah Gate, and in the whole of December, we witnessed major sporting events and tournaments play out in the area. The ancient arabian streets once again turned into the track for the Diriyah E-Prix Championship. As part of Diriyah Season, the Clash of Dunes also brought thousands to flock at the historical site for the first ever international boxing championship in Saudi Arabia. It saw history made again with Anthony Joshua claiming the heavyweight title from Andy Ruiz Junior. Perhaps one of our favorite events this year, the Diriyah Equestrian Festival, laid witness to the first mixed Saudi

The first Diriyah Tennis Cup was also held last December, with 8 of the best players in the world competing for $3M. Victory was clinched by Daniil Medvedev. Less we forget, Diriyah also played host to a number of concerts that kept our winters on fire. From Usher, Chris

Brown, Imagine Dragons, and more. The larger than life events showed the versatility of Diriyah to capture the past, present, and future of the Kingdom. The Bujairy district, will remain open this first quarter of the year, giving guests an amazing food, dining, and retail experience. While the entire project is set to fully meet its goals for 2020--- one can rest assured that there’s something to be had from now.

THINGS TO DO IN DIRIYAH: Missed out on the season? Worry not, you can still catch the cool breeze and have fun at this historical district: 1. Visit the Historical area of Turaif and discover local merchants, craftsmen, old mud houses and museums. 2. Go cycling or running around Diriyah and all the way to Wadi Hanifah.

3. Check out Najdi Cuisine at Bujairy District. 4. Have a Picnic in the select spots and parks.

5. Go on an Artventure! Diriyah is a perfect area for photo walks and propping up your easel for some inspiration.


athletic team in the Kingdom. It also served as a qualifier for individuals wanting to be part of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.



CAVING AS A LIFE JOURNEY An Interview with Mahmoud Alshanti, a lifelong cave scientist and explorer. By Mona Alzubair

First of all, let us know about your history with caves. How did it all begin? Despite exploring several caves and sinkholes before, just the thought of descending into them is fascinating and many questions come to mind. What am I going to find inside? Is it dangerous? How long will it take to go through it? Also, to us in Saudi Arabia, we were unaware that there are different types of caves not far away from our homes. Caving and cave tourism are fairly new to us. In order to decipher all of this, I had the chance to sit down with Mahmoud Alshanti, the head of Cave Studies at the Saudi Geological Survey, and learn what caves are all about. 74 JAN/FEB 2020

As a young geologist, I had a chance twenty years ago to work with a group of geologists who were setting up a program to explore the caves of the Kingdom. Back then, we didn't have organized caving exploration programs and our aim was to approach the field from a scientific perspective. It was a challenge that I was willing to take despite the risks, and discovering and preserving caves became a life passion of mine from that moment on.

So tell us about the Kingdom’s caves – what makes them unique? We have a variety of caves in Saudi Arabia, and most are dry, which makes them easier to explore. There are limestone caves, created by a monsoon

climate millions of years ago, as well as lava tubes, sea caves, and sandstone rock caves. Each area of the Kingdom has its own types of caves due to its geological history and composition. For example, as a result of volcanic eruptions millions of years ago, at Harrat Khayber North of Almadinah, lava tubes were formed which look like tunnels underground. One famous example of this type of cave is Um Jersan Cave. We need to keep in mind that these caves are filled with delicate formations that mostly took millions of years to form and any damages to them are irreversible. This awareness is crucial to anyone visiting a cave, which should always be done in the company of a licensed tourist guide who oversees safety procedures and has the knowledge and ins and outs of a certain cave. Caving alone without expert guides is a risk.

Mahmoud Alshanti DESTINATION KSA 75

As the country is opening up to global tourists and we are moving towards geotourism, where does caving fall into the equation and how should cave adventures be approached? First of all, caving attracts special kinds of tourists, those who are driven to adventure and explorations. To make the best use of our natural resources and capitalize on the niche tourist interest, we have to invest in the infrastructure and related preservation procedures. My motto that not only do I firmly believe in but also strictly follow is, "Leave no trace: take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, and kill nothing but time." This should serve as the basis of our touristic activities, making sure tourists enjoy their time while protecting our national treasures.

In this long experience with caves, what is the most striking thing you learned about them? Contemplate this: you would imagine that those dark caves are lifeless, but a cave is not a dead static place, it is alive. Formations within a cave are continuously growing due to the water that is saturated with solutions seeping through the walls and cracks that create calcite formations.

Personally, what have you learned from caves? Patience and persistence. Respect for nature. Not taking things for granted. The lessons are many, every time I am inside a cave I learn something new. 76 JAN/FEB 2020


Mahmoud Alshanti at the limestone mossy cave in Alsumman Plateau, approximately 250 km outside of Riyadh.



WEST TO EAST How Hamad Al Hawesh took on new challenges. By Dalia El Abd

Graduating from civil engineering and breaking a cycling record across the Kingdom, Hamad Al Hawesh has proven to the young generation that with will power, anything can be achieved. Hamad lives for the thrill of extreme challenges, and this is why he took it upon himself to set a new record in the Kingdom for being the first Saudi to cycle from the West to the East in five days and 12 hours. 78 JAN/FEB 2020

Hamad calls himself a Doer, he is not specifically a cyclist, rather, Hamad seeks extreme challenges that trigger his body and mind, and dares to take one victory after the other. His belief that nothing is impossible with the right mindset supports Vision 2030 and emphasizes the power our minds have over everything. Hamad shared with us his incredible experience, from the mental and physical resilience to the tough challenges he had to overcome during his cycle.

“Climatic fluctuation, inclines and declines, lack of sleep and my strict meal plans were some of the hardships I faced during my journey.” He would get only four hours of sleep per day in the trunk of an SUV as he had to cycle up to 17 hours in a row to reach his destination in Khobar in the deliberated time record. Hamad was only able to eat certain foods in little quantities so as to not upset his stomach during the cycle. With Hamad’s life motto “mind over everything” he was able to face the challenges and triumph over any doubts that crossed his mind. “The toughest part of the journey was the incline of Al Muzahmiyya in Riyadh border as it took me 18 minutes to cross it as well as the incline of AlSayel road, as it was raining at the time and I really had to use all my strength.” Hamad didn’t particularly follow a training program for this challenge. He took us through his usual intensive workout that includes a lot of cardio, and his own style of training called “mix workout art,” which is basically training DESTINATION KSA 79

the body for better stamina under tough conditions. Hamad said that remaining focused on his goal and setting his mind right has helped him not only on the road, but in his everyday life. “Once you lose focus, you lose a lot of your power. I consider it a key element of success, and without the mental concertation I had to practice, I would have not reached that far.” Hamad added, “Once you take yourself to an unusual and extreme level, God empowers your thoughts and your strategy

to be a stronger person. I believe that keeping the faith is a vital component of the process.” He also emphasized on the importance of “mind over everything.” After he reached 500km, his body started feeling tired and his brain would start sending him thoughts of doubt, but believing that he is destined to finish this journey pushed him to exceed his limits. “The last 70km were the toughest because I was really starting to crash and I had very negative thoughts, but having an unwavering soul is really what got me there.”

Hamad shared his gratitude for the people who have given him sustenance all the way. “During my journey, I had five supporters who were rotating in the SUV, giving me all the encouragement I needed. I would like to thank them for being my support system and helping me achieve my goal.” Curious to find out what he is planning next, Hamad gave us a hint by saying that his upcoming challenge will definitely be extreme and diverse, highlighting “mind over everything” through a different technique. Email: thesaudidoer

80 JAN/FEB 2020

RE-DEFINING AUTOMOBILES Nissan re-introduces comfort and safety.

The Patrol 2020, Nissan’s infamous SUV, finally made its launch, unveiling enhanced specs that guarantee comfort and safety. It’s upgraded design boost left us captivated and eager to learn more about the model. Living in desert landscape, many Saudi residents connect with off-road SUVs, which is why the new Nissan Patrol is confident about winning the heart of the Kingdom. Nissan Patrol is one of the longest-standing Nissan models with a strong heritage. With slight changes in the design,

Nissan stayed true to Patrol’s signature look while giving it a bolder appearance. The main design alterations for the 2020 model include a new ‘V-motion’ grille that gives it a more angular face, boomerangshaped LED headlights, and new bumpers in the front and rear, built to fit different environments. The vehicle’s interior has also been redesigned with diamond-stitched leather seats with added padding. The air flow distribution systems have been updated to provide quicker cooling in the region’s hot weather conditions. We learned that the V6 and V8 powertrains were unchanged with the -4.0litre V6 producing

275 horsepower and 394Nm of torque, while the -5.6litre V8 churns out 400 horsepower and 560Nm of torque. An All-Mode 4X4 system lets the driver switch modes to handle different on- and off-road conditions, which we find very convenient.

The brand is ready to conquer the Middle East with the launch of its most recent icon. If you are as tempted as we are, head to any Nissan showroom to check it out. Web: Tel: 920009058 nissansaudi DESTINATION KSA 81


TOP 20 RESTAURANTS FOR 2020 You voted – here are the top restaurants to watch out for this year. By Dalia El Abd


Our New Year’s resolutions have been made and we usually feel ready to conquer the world this time of year. Since we are finally in 2020, it’s only fair to start it right with the top restaurant picks so you don’t have to go through crummy food experiences. According to the voices of our audience on social media, these are the top places in the Kingdom for your 2020 food checklist. The categories were divided into: Casual dining, Breakfast spots, Cafés, and breakthrough places that opened within last year. 82 JAN/FEB 2020

It is a central Texas BBQ cuisine that only delivers to your destination. Although they don’t have a restaurant, Uncle Khalil’s BBQ has made its way to people’s hearts through their tummies and was ranked the top casual kitchen in Jeddah. Their slow cooked smoky meat brisket is the literal melt-inthe-mouth experience. If you’re asking, they receive orders through WhatsApp. Mob: +966- 542808863 uncle_khalils_bbq

ST. 56

ST. 56 was second on the list, making it a must-try restaurant for 2020. This Asian ‘street food on a plate’ concept has won the votes of many residents in Jeddah, being known for its exceptional shrimp noodles and boa plates. Location: 7843 Ahmad Al Attas, AZ Zahra Dist., Jeddah Mob: +966-542077601 streetfiftysix





Known for their creative coffee drinks, friendly baristas, and neat interior, this place radiates good vibes. Salted Cow Latte and Ice Pistachio Latte are the people’s top choices. You can smell their mouthwatering desserts the second you walk in. Make sure to try the lemon cake.


Location: Prince Saud Al Faisal, Al Khaldiyyah, Jeddah Tel: +966-12- 6061142 brew92cafe

According to our Jeddah people, Urb Kitchen takes the win when it comes to the ultimate breakfast spot in the city. The ambiance is so friendly and comfortable it makes you never want to leave. Simple but diverse, their breakfast menu checks off all cravings that come to mind, while their coffee is remarkable, too. The eggs benedict and French toast are so filling, they are a must-try. Location: 7051 As Salamah District, Zahran Business Center, Jeddah Tel: +966-12-6393267 urbkitchen.ksa


Medd Coffee offers high-end coffee beans that are freshly roasted and brewed. The warm setting and simple wooden interior puts you in the relaxing mode you sometimes need. Medd is known for being the ideal reading destination. So if you want to catch up on your reading, you know where to go. Needless to say that if you appreciate good coffee, you will also enjoy this place, because their coffee is incredible. Location: Beach Tower, Cornishe Rd, Ash Shati, Jeddah meddcoffee


Baco Restaurant was the top choice by our audience as it received remarkable reviews all around. Baco is an AsianMexican fusion concept that serves baos, tacos, and tapas. The food styling at this restaurant was very attractive that it made us try out the place instantly. Let us just say, the food is as striking as its styling. Location: Boulevard, Ash Shati, Jeddah Mob: +966- 500062142 DESTINATION KSA 83

Sourced photos




This Asian fusion restaurant was voted top casual restaurant in Riyadh, offering high end Chinese fusion food. The interior of Hualan took inspiration from traditional Chinese gardens infused with geometrical structures, making it look modishly conventional. The kitchen is open for anyone who wishes to watch their meal being prepared. The grilled honey seabass is quite intriguing along with their fried prawn with pumpkin sauce. Location: Olaya St., Centria Mall, Riyadh Tel: +966-11-2110999 hualan_restaurant 84 JAN/FEB 2020


Delicious burgers dripping with cheese and sauce is the comfort food we all seek. If you like to indulge in juicy beef patties then the “B” burger is your choice, whereas if you’re into golden friend chicken then you’re a “C” sandwich type of person. Whatever burger you prefer, Section B has you covered. Location: PR. Turki Alawwal St. Riyadh Mob: +966-551239785 sectionb_sa





Location: Prince Muhammad Bin Abdulaziz Street, Riyadh Mob: 920007498 urthcaffesaudi




The top-ranked coffee shop in Riyadh, their unique coffee drinks, such as matcha, charcoal, and turmeric latte have won over the Riyadhis. The cool twist to this place is that they have their very own concept store with quirky stationeries and pouches. Also, they are the definition of dessert goals.

The top selection for a breakthrough restaurant that opened within last year goes to Buttermilk, an American Southern comfort food cuisine. Offering amazing food and great vibes, Buttermilk has gained a strong customer base in no time. Have you tried their jaw-dropping fried chicken and waffles with maple syrup? If you haven’t yet, now you know where you’re having lunch.

Location: Jabir Ibn Abdullah St., Nujood Center, Riyadh Mob: +966-558543414 bistrobytao

Location: King Muhammad Al Khames St., Riyadh Tel: +966-11 -4624660 draftthoughts

Location: Nojoud Mall, Jabir Ibn Abdullah, Riyadh Mob: +966-556279170

Voted top breakfast spot in Riyadh, this restaurant offers a diverse breakfast menu, where you can go for an oriental experience or an international one. The eggs benedict and soft French toast are people’s top choice, whereas the crisp falafel is the top oriental selection for some Riyadh residents.


Sourced photos

Coming all the way from Los Angeles, Urth Caffé has made its mark in the Kingdom. Organic coffees, a fine tea selection and health-conscious meals, Urth Caffé came up as second favorite breakfast spot in Riyadh. Their kale salad and truffle omelette are a must-try. Their signature Iced Spanish Latte is our number one coffee choice at Urth.





Parker’s is an American restaurant in Khobar best known for their exclusive juicy coffee burgers and sizzling truffle fries. It’s good to exit your comfort zone and try bold dishes every once in a while, and Parker’s is definitely the place to explore that.


Location: Prince Faisal Bin Fahad Rd, Khobar Mob: +966-13-882 0253 parkers


Petit Parry is a family-style restaurant located in Khobar that offers a wide range of breakfast varieties to help start your day. Their waffles are firm on the outside and soft on the inside, which is the textbook definition of an impeccable waffle. It’s safe to say this is Khobar’s goto restaurant for breakfast. Location: Al Khobar Al Shamalia, Al Khobar Mob: +966-558282438 petitparry.ksa 86 JAN/FEB 2020

A sea-view tropical restaurant in Khobar? Sign us up! Focusing on an exotic vibe, Oriya’s modern tropical architecture with vibrant colors and plants gives us a rather tranquil feel. While it’s still in soft opening, Oriya has already built its crowd and is quickly becoming a hit spot in Khobar. They only take five bookings per day, so make sure to save your place and indulge in their chicken risotto dish and eggplant with Labnah. Location: 6493 Corniche Rd, Al Khobar Mob: +966-557446589


This is a shoutout to all coffee addicts in Khobar who voted for this exquisite coffee shop that brews coffee right before your eyes. Presenting a cozy atmosphere, their Spanish Latte is the ideal boost to your day. Location: King Saud St, Cross 10, Al Khobar 3seedscoffee



This French pastry store located in Sharqiyah is our favored sweet temptation. Their tiramisu date cake is absolutely delicious and the good news is that you can order the cake you like from their menu via WhatsApp and have it reserved just for you. If you’ve ever wondered what a pomegranate and pistachio cake would taste like, you can find out now and satisfy your taste buds at Madeleine.


For our editors’ pick, we selected Ash Café in Jeddah as one of our top coffee shop choices for 2020. Their coffee is made to perfection, you can taste the strong coffee in any drink you order, and that’s what we look for in a coffee house. The ambiance is cozy, the baristas are gracious and their drinks are divine. A definite YES from us.

Their rich aesthetic surrounded by striking crisp greenery will put you in the right mood for their vegan signature dishes. This restaurant in Jeddah offers a variety of unique blends, scrumptious pancake assortments, and garden-fresh salads. Black Cardamom is a health-conscious restaurant that won’t leave you feeling guilty. It definitely made it at the top of our casual dining list.

Location: 3577 Quraysh, As Salamah, Jeddah Mob: +966-541045110 ashcafes

Location: 8212 Salman Ibn Abdul Aziz, Al Andalus Dist., Jeddah Mob: +966-553206187 blackcardamomksa


Eataly restaurant situated in Riyadh will offer you a taste of Italia in their dishes. They are best known for their white truffle dishes that are absolutely jaw-dropping. The food presentation alone will awaken your Italian cuisine craving. Eataly definitely makes the cut as a top casual dining experience for 2020. Location: Al Malik An Nasir, As Sulimaniyah, Riyadh Mob: +966-596133028 eatalyarabia DESTINATION KSA 87

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Location: King Fahd Rd, Green belt, Al Khobar Mob: +966-556837770 madeleineksa


PASTRIES & PÂTISSIÈRES Celebrating the female pâtissières of the Gulf and the gastronomical magic of French Cream.

based pastry chef of the year, Chef Nina Métayer. The roundtable discussions encompassed an array of topics, one of which quashed outdated negative myths about women’s inability to be professional chefs in a kitchen. Chef Stevenson stated, “All individuals bring something different to the kitchen regardless of gender. It should be about creating something that tastes good and is representative of the individual.” Chef Métayer added onto this statement, “It’s important everyone in the kitchen is working together and showcasing the very best desserts and pastries, male or female has no bearing for me, it’s all about creating the best possible taste.”

As part of an international showcase of French cream in Dubai, an all-female cast of top-notch pâtissières from Saudi Arabia, UAE, and France gathered in a two-day roundtable discussion and pastry experience organized by the CNIEL, the French Dairy Board and the European Commission. Taking place at the Le Méridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina, chefs from some of the Gulf’s notable hotels and bakeries gathered to highlight the finest cream imported from 88 JAN/FEB 2020

France, and the important takeaways from sustainability, teamwork, and sourcing using the finest ingredients. The team of pastry Chefs included Ida Martin, Pastry Chef at Queen Elizabeth2; Hind Al Mulla, founder and director of Home Bakery; and Aaliya Randeree, Head Chef and founder of Butterworks Bakery, along with UAE-based consultant Chef Liz Stevenson and Saudi Arabia’s Najla Shamiri. The meeting was rounded off by the 2017 French-

International Project Manager from CNIEL, Marie-Laure Martin, concluded the roundtable by noting the incredible talent in the field from the Middle East and internationally. “The flair and passion on show has been incredible and we have been treated to some of the best pastries in the world.” During the afternoon tea session, the talented women in pastry whipped up scrumptious treats and developed their own unique creations using French cream along with an assortment of other ingredients.


Chef Liz paired dark chocolate cream and iced yogurt to create a beautifully flavored, richly textured treat with nut caramel and black sesame toppings. lizziebettybif





A crisp accompaniment to vanilla tonka chantilly, Chef Nina prepared a spectacular creamy grapefruit meringue.

Chef Najla made a moist date cake served with salted caramel sauce and topped with Arabic coffee cream.







Chef Ida whipped up a chocolate-and-orange entremet with a luscious pistachio whipped ganache.

Chef Aaliya assembled rich dark chocolate with walnuts, honey, and rose-infused whipped cream for a wonderful dessert.

Chef Hind created an entremet with cardamom and cinnamon whipped cream that had authentic Emirati taste and flavor.





home_bakery DESTINATION KSA 89


CULINARY DIVERSITY Take a bite out of Saudi’s diverse dining scene! By Zahra Anwer

As the Kingdom opens up to the world, let’s not forget that the world has already been part of the region’s culture for decades! We round up all the cuisines that have been part of Saudi and treasured by the locals.

PHUKET RESTAURANT A pioneer of Thai cuisine in Sharqiya, Phuket Restaurant, staunchly traditional, serves an impressive range of Thai salads, soups, curries, and stir-fries. Staples including Pad Thai are a terrific value, and come in three different serving sizes. Try the Pohtak and seafood soup, both very popular here. Location: King Faisal St., Al Shamalia, Khobar Mob: +966-13-8323073



Say “sawadee” to Jeddah’s favorite restaurant serving authentic Thai food. Asia Restaurant’s dining area may be starting to show its age, but the restaurant is very popular. One of the crowd favorites in the city, it serves Thai classics like Tom Yum soup, Kangkong stir-fry, beef with basil, and for the brave, spicy fried chicken with red curry. The dishes are bursting with authentic Thai flavors, and prices are fair with great service, despite the hassle of waiting in line for a table.

Going strong for many years, this veteran hole-in-the-wall is often packed, and as good as it ever was – beyond its slightly worn-out interior. With their authentic Thai, Chinese, and Filipino dishes, the kitchen at Villa knocks out mouthwatering, classic Thai curries, flavorful Larbs, authentic Pad Thai and stir-fries – all easy on the wallet and great for sharing. The Tom Yum soup is popular here, but give your tastebuds a kick and try the spicy Poh Tak soup that has a mix of shrimp, squid, cuttlefish, and crab.

Location: Sari St., Jeddah Mob: +966-539067677

Location: Al Uroubah St., Riyadh Tel: +966-11-4822749


90 JAN/FEB 2020




FAMILY RESTAURANT The Family restaurant sits tucked away on AlSafa street, serving classic Ethiopian and North African dishes. While all the menu items are a true pleasure, their standout dish is the Lahm Nashif — fried meat strips and spices served on Injera, a giant flatbread which diners tear into and scoop up mouthfuls of stews and curries with their hands. The restaurant is cozy with extremely affordable prices, but ironically, the Family Restaurant contradicts its name by not having an actual Family Section. So takeaway is the only option to enjoy a meal with your family. Location: Al Safa, Jeddah Mob: +966-551898717 92 JAN/FEB 2020

Named after the famous and oldest city in Sudan, Dongola gives the homesick Sudanese in Sharqiya a taste of home. A local hub for anyone unacquainted with the joys of Sudanese cuisine, this restaurant offers platefuls of stews and tasty Tibs along with a couple of Arab-infused dishes. The food is subtly flavored and tasty, but don’t come here expecting fancy decor: the dining room has a busy boofiya vibe with no seating for families. Location: Al Qazaz, Dammam Mob: +966-551898717

MUSA RESTAURANT Located in Sharafiyah District of Riyadh, Musa Restaurant bashes out hearty Sudanese food in a friendly, no-frills, boofiya setting. Usually packed to the rafters with the local African community, everything here is simple: take a seat and savor the traditional Injera or rice, which will then be served up with regular regional fare of Tibs (sauteed meats) and Wats (peppery stew). This modest Sudanese spot attracts people from across Riyadh with its brilliant food at super-low prices. Location: Al Jawharah Bint Ibn Muammar, Ash Sharafiyah, Riyadh Mob: +966-544181077




THE STORY Rasoi by Vineet. Movenpick Hotel, Tahlia Jeddah

“There’s no stiffness, no snooty service. It’s very humble, down-to-earth, and fun, with great food,” says Chef Vineet Bhatia of the restaurant Rasoi by Vineet at Movenpick Hotel Tahlia Jeddah. A firm believer in “fun” dining, the chef’s curation is all about “people coming together, breaking bread, and enjoying a great meal and evening out.” 94 JAN/FEB 2020

Touched by the rich culture and warmth of the locals during his visit to historical Jeddah, Chef Vineet drew inspiration from the spices, aromas, and colors he found there. “We wanted to bring old India and old Jeddah together in a very modern way.” The Chicken Habibi on the menu is chicken tikka on a labneh-and-tomato base topped with olives, zaatar, and sesame seeds – a delicious fusion of Indian and local flavors. The signature Chocomosas, created in 1994 as a response to an English guest’s questioning of Indians’ ability to cook with chocolate, is a classic and not to be missed. From starting the very first Rasoi by Vineet in Chelsea, to cooking from the heart and becoming the first Indian

Michelin-star chef and global restaurateur, Chef Vineet’s legacy is remarkable, and Rasoi by Vineet, Jeddah is another proud extension of it. “Rasoi means kitchen in Hindi. The kitchen is where I’m the happiest – cooking, teaching, and looking after my guests behind stoves.” Live the story yourself and visit Rasoi by Vineet today for diversity in flavor and a time well spent.

Location: 2368 Hail St., Al Andalus, Jeddah Tel.: +966-12-213 2000 Web: rasoibyvineetjeddah




















TALK OF THE TOWN As they celebrate their 50th anniversary, GOODY affirms its mission for the upcoming 50 years with the help of Destination KSA magazine. What better way to celebrate a 50-year anniversary than by throwing the biggest “toque of the town” event? In partnership with Destination KSA, GOODY hosted a special dining event called “toque of the town,” where they celebrated their 50th anniversary since the brand’s inception in 1969. The event highlighted Goody’s vision to provide its customers with the best-in-class products, and promised to live up to standards and raise their bar even higher for the next 50 years. The event featured Saudi’s top 50 passionate foodies and chefs who got the chance to share their experiences with their audience. The food presented at the event was prepared by a group oWWf top notch chefs who used Goody’s signature products to give the attendees an unforgettable food experience. Some of the products included Goody’s salmon, pasta, ketchup and a wide selection of flavorful sauces along with Goody’s original peanut butter spread and date spread. 96 JAN/FEB 2020

CEO of Basamh Group, Khaled A. Temairik, shared a few words at the event where he emphasized on Goody’s mission to continue its journey and evolve the food culture in the Kingdom over the next 50 years by committing to the company’s core values and providing innovative products that match all taste buds. CEO Temairik commented, “we at Goody have set out to become one of the leading multinational packaged food companies, driven by passionate people who are focused on building powerful brands. We are committed to adding quality to the lives of our consumers. A Saudi success story with experience spanning across 4 decades, we present 200 different products to make

Chef Ammar Albarakati

Chef Wed Saleh

Chef Ahmed Aziz

Chef Samaa

Chef Ali Basha

Chef Duha

our mark across the GCC and Sub-Sahara region. We have set our eyes to expand globally and we are all geared up to amaze the world.� Towards the end of the captivating evening, Temairik took the time to thank all the attendees, including Destination KSA team and the 50 participating chefs who cooked with their hearts to satisfy our tummies. The top five winning chefs, Ammar Al Barakati, Sama Gaad, Lama Al Jahdali, Douha Al Otaishan and Hisham Baeshen, were congratulated and recognized for their tremendous efforts and talents. goodykitchen DESTINATION KSA 97


BE OUR GUEST Five golden principles for restaurant success. By Ahmed Darwish – The Foodies inc.

Restaurants are one of the few universal industries because almost everyone has familiarity with them. This makes restaurant customer service challenging as every customer has established service expectations, which go hand-in-hand with impressions created by the physical environment. It gets tricky in the segments of the industry that are not always clearly defined in the mind of the consumer. For instance, at a place like Brioche, customers would expect to be served better than they would be at Nino’s, but not as they would be at Nozomi. If service falls outside of these borders, problems and complaints can arise. Restaurant experts set outstanding customer service by maintaining five essential elements. 98 JAN/FEB JAN/FEB2020 2020


Inconsistent service is the vulnerable spot of the restaurant industry. Cashiers, servers, and host staff play an integral role in the dining experience. Consistency includes training all staff, from the staff at the door to the bussers.


This Saudi concept kept the idea of a Hijazi restaurant; the staff is trained to welcome guests in the friendly manner of the Hijazi people, which has been working wonders for them. meezstreet


This place won best luxury restaurant in GCC for 2016, and it’s not just because of their yellowtail sashimi. From the moment you enter until you leave, it’s a lesson on clockwork Japanese precision. eat.streat


Very consistent with their food and service, their limited edition burgers are top notch. The staff are well-mannered and know all their regulars well. thecuts_ksa


Wait time can be an issue in high-demand restaurants that don’t have a reservation policy. Tracking average table occupancy time and ensuring good communications is an integral part of making sure wait time doesn’t become hate time.




It's all about the “Maestro” who connects the front staff to the kitchen. They know the peak hours by branch and are wellprepared with common orders, so the food is ready to be served. eat.streat


The place to go if you are looking for a quick bite. They have perfectly managed wait times, making the turnover of tables very quick so people are in and out of the restaurant in under an hour. saravanasaudi


When you are a successful place, you will know your average stay on every table. When your customer knows how long they will wait, then they have a decision to either thesocialkitchen.ksa



Many restaurants start perfectly then slowly slip into the pit of inconsistency. An inconsistent product quickly taints experiences. Once is often forgiven, but more mishaps result in deteriorating loyalty and brand perception.



A new player in town when Riyadh is saturated with smoke houses, but endless queues and sold-out items mean they are doing something right, and that’s giving you perfect ribs and brisket each and every time without fail.



This place doesn’t joke around when serving the same quality each time. This comes from perfecting the bun recipe and the patty by outsourcing the same beef and getting it right to the gram and grill temperature. sectionb_sa 100JAN/FEB JAN/FEB2020 2020

A food truck that has maintained their standards serving an amazing Philly Cheese Steak, they are now part of Riyadh Season, extending their excellence beyond the Eastern Province. eat.streat


It is not enough to just communicate; the staff needs to be trained to communicate effectively and professionally. A smile goes a long way and it's free!


It wasn’t just the coffee but also the amazing staff. They not only served but they educated about coffee, roasting, and taste. meddcoffee

food with moderate prices.


Labeled “the best Japanese food in Riyadh,” they set the expectation that you would get amazing, authentic sushi and Japanese dishes, matched with tokyo_arabia



decent décor and great service.

Imagine an Italian place with over 12 types of pizza, and 10 hand-crafted sandwiches. If your staff can't explain the menu to a confused customer, you won't succeed.


This place serves delicious, garlicky shawarmas. There isn’t much to the menu, but you know you get a perfectly good shawarma for a bargain every time you visit.




Most restaurants don’t train their staff well enough for them to explain items on the menu. The staff that you encounter at Parkers are able to convey in great detail, the items they serve. parkers

If a restaurant has a reputation for excellent food and service, customers will come expecting the same. Branding, marketing communication, and decor are all factors that affect what a customer would expect.


This family-run restaurant marketed itself as “Far East Asia Street Food.” With a small shop and simple décor, they set the expectations for decent Asian




From restaurant cleanliness to brand management, running a restaurant necessitates a holistic experience that hits the customers on many levels. By focusing on the five service principles, restaurant owners in the Kingdom can make sure that their business will prosper and their customers will come again and again. DESTINATION DESTINATIONKSA KSA101 101


DEALING WITH ADDICTION Different types of addiction we tend to fall under By Dalia El Abd

Addiction is a wide spectrum of toxic behaviors that we sometimes are victims of. Most of us don’t realize we are addicted to several toxic habits in our lives, such as digital addiction, compulsive spending, unhealthy diets, or toxic relationships. Occasionally, we even find ourselves hooked on the feeling of rage and anger, but we can’t quite fathom that fact. For our New Year’s resolutions, we decided to tackle some addiction habits to work on ourselves and gain a better state of mind. 2020, we are ready for you! 102 JAN/FEB 2020


DIGITAL ADDICTION There is no doubt that the digital world has made our lives easier in many ways, but research suggests that our addiction to social media is in fact real. Every new notification or text triggers the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that drives people to seek rewards, therefore coming back for more. Research has also suggested that social media is associated with causing anxiety, depression and decreased marital satisfaction. There are many ways to cut back on your digital dependency. You can turn off your push notifications for social media apps, switch to airplane mode while exercising to lessen phone distractions, or plan to completely ‘unplug’ for one hour a day. Gradually, you can switch off for a day. Make sure you also have other distractions whenever temptation takes over, be it a magazine, book or even a walk to clear your mind. Don’t underestimate meditation and creating a sanctuary for yourself. It will help you center your focus and find your pace. We can always go to destinations with no mobile service to detox and just enjoy nature.


TOXIC RELATIONSHIPS Getting rid of toxic relationships that you are attached is easier said than done. Whether a friend, family member or significant other, toxic people can be really dangerous for our mental health. We usually know we are better off without them, but our hook becomes stronger than our instinct to look out for ourselves. To liberate ourselves from poisonous relations, we have to acknowledge the toxicity. The sooner we realize the harm they bring along, the faster we can recover and move on. Setting boundaries is an essential part of the process. Once you’ve made the decision to end a relationship, you’re responsible for keeping the boundaries clear, and most importantly, sticking to them. Realizing it’s not your job to save someone will prevent you from so much self-damage. If things are dire for your friend, direct them to resources that specialize in their particular issue. Solving their problems is beyond your capabilities at times. Surround yourself with positive people and find alternatives to regain your peace and wholeness. See what you like to do and fill your days with it. DESTINATION DESTINATIONKSA KSA103 103

104 104JAN/FEB JAN/FEB2020 2020


COMPULSIVE SHOPPING It might seem like a choice, but for many, compulsive shopping and spending is really an addiction. Psychologists define a compulsive spender as someone who puts so much time and effort into buying things and thinking about purchases that it impairs their life in a significant way. To control your spending, you should firstly get to the root of the problem and try to figure out what the actual reason behind your compulsive shopping is. It’s usually a response to an emotional problem. Afterwards, you should destroy all your credit cards. Seriously, they are the source of all evil. Always pay in cash and leave your card at home when shopping, so you limit your purchases. Of course, always track your spending. Writing down your spending is an important exercise as it helps you become more conscious of your spending and gradually helps you change that behavior. Set a budget for yourself and don’t carry more than you intend to spend. Usually, compulsive shoppers aren’t aware of the amount they put in during their shopping spree. Take it from someone who’s been there, you should always wait for 20 minutes before buying that thing you are ‘dying for.’ After 20 minutes, we usually realize we don’t really need the item that much so we manage to fight off our urge.


ANGER ISSUES Anger is an emotional state that varies in intensity from mild irritation to extreme rage. It is a serious problem as many people find it hard to maintain or control their temper during certain situations. Although we can’t always change the things that bother us, we can surely learn how to control our reactions. According to the American Psychological Association, there are three main approaches to dealing with bad temper: expressing, suppressing and calming. The important thing is to learn how to express calmly what it is that made us angry. Suppressing our anger can make us divert it elsewhere or even worse, turn it into inward anger, which can cause our health to deteriorate. Learning to calm ourselves, inwardly and outwardly is quite imperative. Letting our overwhelming feelings subside and calming ourselves can help lower our heart rate during angry moments. We can try to calm ourselves by breathing deeply and refraining from talking or answering back in the heat of the moment. So we ultimately need to learn how to express, calm ourselves and not suppress our anger. Here are a few counseling centers that can help with anger management and/or other psychological assistance needed in Saudi.

Waad Therapy Center

Location: 7174 Al Amir Sultan - An Nahdah Dist., Jeddah Mob: +966-591402043 Web : waadtherapy

Maabar Social Consultancy Location: Arawdah, Jeddah 23435 Tel: +966-12-6900888 Web: maabarksa

Medicare Clinics

Location: Al Madhar Ash Shamali, Takhassusi St., Al Mathar Ash Shamali, Riyadh Tel: 920005531 Web:

Soundheart Counseling Center Location: Al Faisaliyah, Dammam, 32273 Mob: +966-597976747 Web: 4soundheart DESTINATION KSA 105


SUITE SPOT The Merchant House Hotel: Coveted Hospitality in Bahrain By Yasmine Mohamed

106 JAN/FEB 2020

There are times when it becomes a necessity that you escape to a cozy, tranquil getaway free of pressing responsibilities. Relationship goals then translate into rejoicing in the pleasant company of a flavorful, fulfilling meal. Warm feelings of nights spent alone sipping on “gahwa” rekindle, and daydreams of slumbers uninterrupted by pesky morning alarms bring you tremendous comfort. Seek remedy at The Merchant House Hotel in Bahrain, and on the spur of the moment, file for that leave! This award-winning 5-star luxury boutique hotel, part of Campbell Gray Hotels’ line-up, is curated with great sophistication. Over 200 original contemporary pieces ornament the reception area, corridors, and rooms. The all-suite accommodation also features bespoke furniture, with fabric design and internal decor that blends eloquently with the overall aesthetic. Suites have an open-plan kitchenette and sitting

area, a king or super king bed you literally sink in, and a bathroom. “If you have a garden and a library, you have all you need.” A statement quoted by Marcus Cicero, embraced by Gordon Campbell Gray, and embodied within The Merchant House Hotel. Indigo, the hotel’s rooftop restaurant with a garden terrace and bar, serves à la carte breakfast, Friday brunch, lunch, and dinner. Delicious dishes inspired by the Mediterranean and Asian cuisines will please your palate. Overlooking the lobby on the mezzanine floor is a stunning library that features around 1,000 especially curated books. Located right next to Bab Al Bahrain, downtown Manama and nearby the financial harbor, this is a great accommodation whether the intent is business or leisure. So book for your next visit there today and enjoy your stay! web: themerchanthousebahrain indigo.manama

Why we think The Merchant House Hotel would be worth your two cents: 1. En-suite freezer and ice cubes. N-ice 2. Books available in all suites for your leisure. 3. Use of paper straws and recyclable packaging for bathroom toiletries following a no-single-use plastic product policy that’s environmentally friendly. De-GREAT-able 4. Use of chemical-free and herbal toiletries. 5. Bedside electronic console that conveniently allows you to control the AC and lights in all parts of the suite. There’s a nice option allowing for night lights too for those of you who don’t like to sleep in total darkness. 6. The English Afternoon Tea served in the library on weekends includes recipes inspired by Gordon Campbell Gray’s grandmother and delicious freshly baked scones! 7. You can book an art tour with your afternoon tea for a wellrounded experience. Ar-TEA DESTINATION KSA 107




Salman Bin Abdulaziz












2.52% 13

Mohammed Bin Salman


2,149,690 km²

Makkah & Madinah

GMT +3

Sharqiya, 4.1 million people

Riyadh, 7.3 million people




King Khaled International Airport









Jeddah & Makkah


King Abdulaziz International Airport

Khobar, Jubail Dammam & Dhahran



Madinah & Yanbu



Abha & Najran


King Fahd International Airport

Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz International Airport


BUSINESS + BANKING HOURS 8/9 a.m. - 4/5 p.m. (Sun - Thur)

1.00 USD 1.00 Euro 1.00 British Pound 1.00 Indian Rupee 1.00 Philippine Peso

WEEKEND Friday – Saturday SHOPPING HOURS 10 a.m – 1 p.m. 5 – 11 p.m.


108 JAN/FEB 2020

Prince Abdul Mohsen bin Abdulaziz International Airport

Prince Mohammad bin Abdulaziz International Airport


STC Inquiry information Speaking Clock Mobily STC ZAIN

Al-Ahsa International Airport

905 1222 1100 900 959

EMERGENCY Ambulance General Emergency NAJM (Car Accidents) 920000560

997 911

SR 3.75 SR 4.39 SR 4.82 SR 0.06 SR 0.10



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ISSUE 8 JAN / FEB 2020

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