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Food as a factor in choosing where to live/work ~
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qatarwatch



Joined: 03 Dec 2007
Posts: 24

PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2008 8:51 am    Post subject: Food as a factor in choosing where to live/work ~ Reply with quote

* This post was originally tied to another thread...but I invite responses here.

In the other thread, someone claimed that food costs were static in Qatar, and implied that the price of shawarma was a good indicator of food costs, and perhaps even of a healthy diet.

First of all, shawarma - plate or sandwich - is 'fast food'. And in the fast-food courts of Qatari shopping centres, a shawarma (sandwich) goes for QR 10-12 ( about $3.25). This is not expensive by 'Western' standards, and is comparable to the cost of a double cheeseburger. A shawarma is also in the same nutritional league as a double cheeseburger, and as such cannot be considered a 'staple' in any healthy diet. These items have not increased as much in comparison to other foods, primarily because they are in the highly competitive 'fast food' market, and as such cater mainly to lower-income workers here in the Gulf. You certainly wouldn't want to eat shawarma more than once or twice a week, leaving at least 19 or 20 meals per week unaccounted for.

The cost of food has indeed been rising here in Qatar. This isn't surprising given that it's a global trend, and the fact that Qatar imports almost all of its food products. A simple google search will turn up plenty of evidence of this. Overall inflation in Qatar was more than 17% last year, with the average cost of food rising more than 10% in the first quarter of 2008 alone.

* see: www.gulfnews.com/BUSINESS/Economy/10190349.html

In any case, perhaps an even more important aspect of the whole 'food' equation expats should consider when choosing where to live and work is that of its variety and quality. In my humble opinion, Gulf cuisine cannot hold a candle to the healthy, robust and savory cuisines of any East or Southeast Asian country. So if you are currently enjoying the many fabulous (and affordable) dining experiences possible in one of these places, and place a high value on healthy, whole foods, why would you even consider moving to the Gulf?
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16086
Location: USA

PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2008 1:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would have to say that cuisine is so far down my list of reasons that I choose a job as to be non-existent. Laughing

For those that do their own cooking at home, it certainly provided a much better selection of 'in-season' fruits and veggies than most of Europe and North America is used to.

VS
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Stephen Jones



Joined: 21 Feb 2003
Posts: 4124

PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2008 3:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've no idea about Qatar. In Saudi the price of a shwarma sandwich is 3SR. A falafel sandwich will be even cheaper. If you cook yourself the price of food is cheaper in Saudi than in most other countries. If you don't know how to cook, get your cleaner to moonlight as a cook and prepare some curries to stick in the freezer.

Quality of cheap restaurants depends more on the town than the country. I've got to nip out to get some photos done in a minute, and I'll have an Indian meal at one of two restaurants in Khobar I know. In neither case will the meal come to more than SR10, and the quality is excellent.

China, Thailand or the Philippines all offer much, much better food than the Gulf. However there's nothing to stop you eating at a Chinese, Thai or Philipino restaurant every day. You'll pay more than you would in Beijin, Bangkok or Manila, but the dent it will make in your salary is minimal.
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rocketchild



Joined: 27 Mar 2008
Posts: 96

PostPosted: Sat May 31, 2008 6:45 am    Post subject: food..you are what you eat Reply with quote

you are what you eat

i can say that after mucho years in the GULF food is indeed an important factor in my life.

when night falls and the only place to eat out are the few western style places that offer pizza or um hamburgers...this adds to ones depression.
(unless you are in Dubai)

the lack of choices on socializing etc...as in restaurants does affect people a lot. How many times have people i worked with, come back from a bigger GULF city, like Dubai ranting about the 'selection' available.

Eating at home is ...limited. Because so much of ones time is spent indoors in the GULF, eating out and just BEING out is important.

I met so many teachers in Oman, who would drive 350 km to Muscat the capital just to eat some sushi (only avail. one night a week at one place), and watch a film in the cinema. It was a huge big deal for them. And groups of 14 teachers would arrange these big rare nights out.

Would it have affected me choosing the gulf? mmmm Well, it is the reason i will not work in KOREA.

The price of food affect me, yes. 17 percent rise at the very least, in Dubai it is a higher in many places. And my salary hasn't seen the same increase.

A dollar does not go far at all these days in the GULF and that is the issue connected to FOOD.

In most other countries one can still save nicely, I really don't feel that the low salaries offered in the GULF are worth all the personal sacrifices one must make to be happy there.

That is just my personal experience...and opinion.
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qatarwatch



Joined: 03 Dec 2007
Posts: 24

PostPosted: Sun Jun 01, 2008 9:58 am    Post subject: Re: food..you are what you eat Reply with quote

"Would it have affected me choosing the gulf? mmmm Well, it is the reason i will not work in KOREA. "


Rocketchild, what do you have against Korean food!? It has to be one of the most robust, diverse, and wholesome cuisines on the planet! Plus, independently run restaurants can be found conveniently in almost any neighborhood, including in the smaller cities and towns. Perhaps you are just averse to a little garlic and hot pepper? ^^
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rocketchild



Joined: 27 Mar 2008
Posts: 96

PostPosted: Sun Jun 01, 2008 11:03 am    Post subject: one word Reply with quote

Dog

can't live in a country where people eat DOG
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16086
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sun Jun 01, 2008 1:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The French eat horses. Laughing The Native Americans ate dog. Baby goats and cows are cute, but people eat them. Is it any worse than lobster which is just a scavenger of the sea floor? There are snake restaurants in Hong Kong... pick your live snake before...

I don't think I'd damn any country or cuisine just for what some members of the culture might eat. I would just avoid it when or if I was there.

VS
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rocketchild



Joined: 27 Mar 2008
Posts: 96

PostPosted: Sun Jun 01, 2008 1:53 pm    Post subject: madness runs in my royal blood Reply with quote

Embarassed

VS. It's just a 'joke' really isn't it? Within the expat community, the nutter factor. And some of it is fact. And some of us are mad.

And thank god for that Twisted Evil Twisted Evil Twisted Evil Twisted Evil Twisted Evil

snake sounds tasty...but aren't dogs too 'human' and domestic.
I just wouldn't feel like I could eat in a place that serves up puppy.
What if there is a bit of puppy hair, or oil from the meat still on the frying pan in my veggie stir fry.

Dog.

edited out my bad comment my self...sorry...i can be mean... Embarassed


Last edited by rocketchild on Sun Jun 01, 2008 2:41 pm; edited 1 time in total
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16086
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sun Jun 01, 2008 2:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually I have tried snake... but in a French restaurant in the US. I didn't have to see it live beforehand. Laughing It was the stereotypical... tastes like chicken moment. Tastes rather like a slightly fishy chicken. It's not bad.

VS

(if I were you RC, I would edit out that rather racist comment that you concluded with...)
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rocketchild



Joined: 27 Mar 2008
Posts: 96

PostPosted: Sun Jun 01, 2008 2:40 pm    Post subject: i know Reply with quote

it was a bad comment wasn't it.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
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Location: USA

PostPosted: Sun Jun 01, 2008 3:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, it was... but you redeemed yourself by editing it out. Cool

VS
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dmm



Joined: 20 Apr 2008
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Sun Jun 01, 2008 9:26 pm    Post subject: Bo-shin-Tang Reply with quote

Maybe RC is just joking or exaggerating about the dog-eating dilemma but dog really isnít a dish on every corner of Korea. Bo-shin-tang (보신탕) - dog-meat stew has a long history in Korea. Itís suppose to be a body-tonic (sexual of course) and the color fur of the dog brings better results (reddish color supposedly is the best, next white or black, and then mixed w/b). I lived in Korea for 3 years; never had or saw it on a menu. If you really wanted it, you could ask a Korean (best-male college student). They usually could direct you to a place. Itís more popular in rural areas and with the older generation.

You will see more veterinarians than Bo-shin-tang shops in Korean cities. There are many Koreans who love dogs. They dress them up like dolls. A walk through most street malls will turn up stalls selling Nike sweat suits/ fireman outfits for small dogs. Also, hair dying, seeing a poodle with pink or bright yellow ears is quite common. Many big grocery stores have dog lockers you can put your little rat-dog in and shop a way. Either way, most Koreans donít eat the dish regularly. Yeah, many Koreans have told me their grandma made it or they ate it with a crazy uncle once or twice but it just isnít a staple food nowadays.

If you want to be offended, some Korean foods are odoriferously offensive. Beon-da-gi- steam silk worms- has a stench incomparable. OR visually offensive- meats Koreans put on sticks and coat with mayonnaise (sold late night to drunkards) can leave you scarred. Or, if you are really lucky, your Korean boss will take you to a swanky traditional Korean restaurant and theyíll break out the 3-year old plus Kim chi (cabbage fermenting with chilies in a pot in the ground). Keeping that down with a smile can test fortitude and face.

In the end, I agree with Qatar Watch and there are some great Korean dishes that ME food cannot fill the void. Donít get me wrong because I love the food here but when it is hot out, I yearn for some Cham-Chi Bi-Bim Bop (fried egg-tuna-fresh vegetables (cold)-rice) and side dishes sometimes (9 riyal- 2500 won). Moreover, Korea has many Buddhist which some run great vegetarian buffets. So, if this place is getting you down, Korea really isnít a bad place to end up. Bosses are incompetent, crazy ex-pats lurk around, standards are questionable, but there is a charm to the place that you canít quite pinpoint but you miss when you are away. Plus, Koreans are wacky but loveable, ambivalently rude but accommodating, and theyíre workaholics without working while still having one of the largest economies in the world without being born under an oil field. Cheers DMM
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rocketchild



Joined: 27 Mar 2008
Posts: 96

PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2008 11:05 pm    Post subject: dmm Reply with quote

you haven't helped your case
in fact after reading that i almost barfed

thanks for confirming that I will never work in Korea.
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kbridger2008



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Sun Dec 14, 2008 7:26 am    Post subject: Food is a reason to work somewhere else. Reply with quote

Hello RC and Other Quatarians:

I'm thinking of teaching in Quatar at the Newton school, though I read that it sucks pretty bad. Note that most management at Korean universities are probably graduates of Kim Jung Il's school for future abusive dictators who cannot speak English and want to manage native English speakers though they cannot figure out how to button their shirts.

Lesson 1- double the paperwork on finals week with an all Korean database and then fire some of the best people right off the bat for nothing, so the rest will be scared shitless to do anything more than immediately follow orders. Then tell them to be Kind to their students.

So Quatarian management sounds somewhat familiar. Food?

I've been in Korea now for 3 years and the food here sucks so bad that I never go to a Korean restaurant, not even if it's free. I've gone to at least 15 and they all suck so bad it's pathetic. I have nothing against Hot peppers or garlic, in fact I like them...however the Koreans are just trying to cover up the actual problems that foreigners find with their food.

First is the Kimchee which is really rotten cabbage with hot pepper paste added to try to make it seem like the problem is that it is hot, it is like the veggies that have turned to petroleum with a bouquet like "eau de garbage". This was probably their approach to avoiding scurvy in the winter like the Germans did with saurkraut, but this stuff is rotten, not pickled.

Part 2 of Korean food is their "dobu" which is the soy miso they put in their soups that smells and tastes like they added the leftover gym locker clothes to the soup that no one wanted after ten years of play. Then you notice the only meat is some gristle on an old bone. I've seen the stiff dead boxer like food dogs at the local market here, but while it is disgusting, the restaurant food is worse. When a couple of my older richer students took me out to an Italian restaurants the cooks put some stuff in my expensive food so I had diahrea. Almost no foreigner wants anything to do with the vile food they call Korean here. The Chinese will not eat in the Korean "Chinese" restaurants and neither will I after the first time since it's mostly breading fried in grease. I've subsisted on fast food pizza slices and chicken kebabs, but even then the grease gave me arteriosclerosis. Yep, Korean food is hated universally and is one reason I will not consider marrying a Korean. Oh one last thing...they are always pushing it on you like it was the best thing since Christmas leftovers. Even at the church Thanksgiving turkey, they didn't offer me kimchee, but they gave it to you, like it or not. I tasted it, (keep hoping) then threw it out.

I'm thinking of working in a Muslim country with imported food, but worried that it will cost too much.

Dog? It's only the tip of the iceberg. The rest is far worse. If you come to Korea, better learn to cook and bring a good spoon, fork and knife.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16086
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sun Dec 14, 2008 3:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just a note... it is not Quatar... it is Qatar

VS
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