December 24, 2013

Fast Food Chains: 3rd World Versus Developed Countries

I find it weird that fast food chains open in third world countries first and faster than Developed Countries.

This week's headline news in the Food industry featured 2 major announcements:

  • Dunkin Donuts announced it will open in UK! ( Read more)

     While comparing to Middle East there is around 300+ chains of Dunkin Donuts! With              UAE, 74 stores and Riyadh city (KSA) up to 30 stores.
  • Burger King just opened its first branch in Paris! ( Read More
      Whereas  in Middle East it has expanded to over 250 chains ! ( Source: Burger King ME Website)
Photo Courtesy: Telegraphy - Burger King Paris

What does this mean?

December 21, 2013

A Superfood Breakfast: Goji Berries with Warm Quinoa

Guest Post from Christele - Nutritionist & Blogger at Health 'n' Horizons

Hello everyone! My name is Christele, I’m a nutritionist, a mom, a lover of real food, and a blogger over at Health ‘n’ Horizons! I am so excited to be guest posting for Pearl's Powder today. Hope you all like some real satisfying food for breakfast cause I’ll be discussing superfoods, particularly goji berries.
I will also be sharing a warm breakfast recipe for those cold winter mornings (and if you live in a warm climate, don’t worry, a cold version* is as good, if not better).

What are Superfoods?
Goji berries are what some may consider a superfood.

December 17, 2013

The Camel Burger: Humps or no Humps?

Anyone up for camel meat?  You bored from chicken or beef?

I am sure Burger lovers who are always searching for the "perfect burger" would include this burger in their endeavour!

The Arabic restaurant Local House in UAE slid this camel patty into the hollow pocket of a khameer, traditional, pita-shaped leavened bread studded with sesame seeds, as a response for local demand for camel meat.

Sharing this picture from a friend who tried the " Camel Burger" in Dubai, UAE....
hmm anyone tried it? What do you think about the taste?

Courtesy of Hussein Dajani, Dubai

December 7, 2013

UNESCO 2013 Intangible Heritage List for Food & Diets

UNESCO Enlists Japanese Cooking as a Heritage, Mediterranean Diet Not Lebanese

One of UNESCO's three heritage missions, Intangible Cultural Heritage focuses on intangible aspects of culture such as festivals, performing arts and traditional arts, crafts and foods that are transmitted from generation to generation. ( Full Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity). This year, UNESCO enlisted the below diets, cuisines, and dishes:

  • The United Nation's cultural organisation has added traditional Japanese food to its Intangible Cultural Heritage list for this year of 2013.  It is the second cuisines enlisted after the French cuisine back in 2012.
    Washoku, traditional dietary cultures of the Japanese, notably for the celebration of New Year.
    It is hoped the accolade will help preserve Washoku - the name used to describe all types of Japanese dishes such as sushi - as traditional dietary habits die out in the country due to the invasion of fast food and the loss of traditional cooking.Previously, only French cooking had been distinguished as a national culinary tradition.
    Washoku gives Japanese a feeling of social cohesion, it’s of low-calorie and healthy.

One the dishes I had was Saengseonkkaseu (생선까스 fish katsu) is a Korean fish cutlet modeled on the Japanese dish. 

Another is Teriyaki (照り焼き): can be beef, chicken or fish!

December 6, 2013

The Top of the Crate

In our countries, we have created terms that discriminate, not just people, but also food!
Like " Choose from the top of the . fruit/vegetable Crate"... Assuming that the bottom or inside should always be thrown cause it would be bad !
It is a food culture that throws away food even when there is a slight bruise.
Food waste is indeed a problem created by our mindsets and cultural norms.

علامات التميييز العنصري للأكل في بلادنا وجود تعبير " وجه الصحّارة" ...طيب داخل الصحارة...يعني ما بتسوى ؟

Food for thought...

Invictus: a Poem that Inspired a Leader

I really haven't been sharing Poems recently as I was blogging more about food. ( Shared Poems)
But, I am sharing today a very special poem that has affected my life and I discovered it when I was reading about Nelson Mandela's biography back in 2010, amid personal struggles.

The Poem 'Invictus' (meaning Unconquered, Undefeated) by William Henley, and the Leader Nelson Mandela (R.I.P Madiba) was inspired by the poem, and had it written on a scrap of paper on his prison cell while he was incarcerated for 27 years on Robben Island.

I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,                              

I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

December 5, 2013

Christmas Tree: The foodie way

Photo sent by Mrs. Christiane Chahine, a Lebanese Expatriate living in Riyadh

As the christmas season started, a staff from a very famous super market (french brand) decided to celebrate christmas publicly in Riyadh!
Or at least do his own Christams tree from onions and garlics...

Many other trees were seen in many supermarkets also made from vegetables. I guess this staff sparked an inspiration for a christmas spirit!

December 4, 2013

Cooked with Delicious and Good Intentions

We, the millennials, the tech savvys and social media addicts, are a nation of aspiring cooks! At least that's what most of us write on our Twitter bios, share on Pinterest boards, and post as Instagram photos, yet-honestly-we barely have time for cooking daily... Nevertheless, most of us rely on social media to choose food, whether through restaurants' reviews, recipe's blogs, or friends' comments about products. But our social media profiles can go beyond just sharing individual food photos, recipes and reviews. Social media has been rising as a crucial aspect in the communication between consumers and the food brands on one hand, and between consumers and health care practitioners on the other... 
How do food companies and food experts deal with social media?Well, that is what I explored and wrote about in Cloud961 issue number 5.

Download full issue here

December 1, 2013

Zero Calorie Meals and Zero Guilt

Steam: The Zero Calorie London Restaurant

A pop-up restaurant in London's Covent Garden is promising diners a 'calorie-neutral' meal in which guests will tuck into steam-cooked scallops, chorizo and beef fillet, but leave the restaurant having burned off every calorie. How is this even possible?

Between courses, guests will take part in stretching classes to aid digestion, sit on vibrating seat pads to increase calorie burn, and engage in full-on dining workouts to burn off the calorie count of dishes
Yes, dine and work out at the same time!

Here is someone who experienced dining there from Marie Claire!

This is how it goes:
Taken from
Read More about its unique way.

November 29, 2013

Five years of Blogging on Pearl's Powder!

On this day exactly November 29, 2008, I started my official blogging!
My story of blogging started because I simply wanted to share my thoughts, and sprinkle these powder of thoughts to the world around me. (Read more About my story of blogging)

While social media back in 2008 was still taking its baby steps especially in our region (MENA), I was trying all efforts to reach as much as I can in terms of readership and promotion..

Yes, I do admit that perhaps my number of frequent readers was and still a little number. But these readers, friends, and online supports, are the ones who supported me all through my 5 years blogging experience, they are the ones who "commented, shared, retweeted, liked" my posts. And for this number, I owe all my humble reach and perhaps success.

November 28, 2013

Favorite Food Books

Starting this week, I will be introducing my favorite food book of the month.
I have already read a collection of food books, yet never reviewed or talked about them.

If you have a favorite food book, please do recommend it here!
For now, my collection will be updated on My Food Shelf!
The collection features book ranging from food history, food stories, food science and technologies, as well as culinary books (recipes)

Loulwa's food book

Catching fire: How Cooking Made Us Human
The Crisis of Food Brands: Sustaining Safe, Innovative and Competitive Food Supply
Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health
Pet Food Politics: The Chihuahua in the Coal Mine
Safe Food: Bacteria, Biotechnology, and Bioterrorism
The Untold Story of Milk: Green Pastures, Contented Cows and Raw Dairy Products
The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals
In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto
Second Nature: A Gardener's Education
Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round
Food Product Development: Maximising Success
The Nasty Bits: Collected Varietal Cuts, Usable Trim, Scraps, and Bones
The Book of Tea
Perpetual Harvest: What to Plant and Enjoy, Month by Month
The Geometry of Pasta

Loulwa's favorite books »

November 17, 2013

Published in International Journal of Dairy Technology

It is after so much hard work and efforts that I am glad to announce that my third publication, but first original research article, is out published in the International Journal of Dairy Technology.
"Characterisation of the sensory properties of whey protein concentrates".

November 14, 2013

How I am trying to stay fit in Riyadh

I posted this hamster because I think it's a cute photo. dont ask
Since moving to Riyadh, I barely can go walking around the streets like I used to when I was in Beirut.
Also living in a city, where you have nothing to do except go out for eating or shopping, makes you lose your sight on how to properly keep your body healthy and posture proper.

That's why I am comparing the fitness activities I used to do in Beirut to those in Riyadh:

In Beirut:

  • I barely used a transportation (car or taxi ride) unless I was visiting somewhere far away or when I had to go for dinner at night.
  • I used to walk back and forth to get my grocery at least 4 times per week
  • I used to go walking for several errands around the streets for shopping or paper work or paying the bills, or meeting someone over coffee or lunch.
  • I used to walk down to work (yes a downhill with steepy and long stairs), and my work also involved alot of standing and moving around.
  • I also used to swim on Sundays for around 40 minutes.
Indeed, walking in Beirut, at least 30 minutes per day, made me fit and healthy.

After moving to Riyadh:

November 9, 2013

My Dairy Intolerance

A food scientist who is intolerant to a major food group : DAIRY! Can you believe that?
And the most ironic of them all,  I did my whole thesis research on milk! I spend a year and a half experimenting with milk, when I am intolerant to it! Imagine all the suffering I had to go through.
So, how did I know I was intolerant to milk and all its derivatives?

The Story :

November 4, 2013

Featured in " Culinary Blogosphere of Lebanon"

In  its October Issue, Cloud961 interviewed 3 bloggers from the culinary blogosphere in Lebanon on why  they started a food blog, how blogging about food can make an impact, and everything in between. The bloggers were Strawberryblu ( Cynthia Bu Jawdeh), No Garlic No Onion (Anthony Rahayel), and Pearl's Powder ( Loulwa Kalache).. Yep that's me!

Read full interview here

October 11, 2013

Elie Saab : Evian

Now You may drink water with a touch of fashion!
Elie Saab, one of the most renowned fashion designer, puts a touch of purity for Evian.
Evian Pure is a limited edition designer bottle.

October 4, 2013

Pearl's Powder Interviewed in Le Commerce Du Levant

Le Commerce Du Levant magazine*, published its 2013 “Restos, bars, cafes”  special edition for the Food and Beverage Industry in Lebanon in July. ( Read Key Findings Below**)

Cover Page of the Magazine : Juillet 2013

 Luckily, Mr. Thomas Dayer, interviewed me back in April 2013. And I couldn't retrieve a copy of the magazine as I was out of Lebanon. Sweet enough, the media team immediately handed my part of the interview on the same day( yesterday) when I asked for it! :) So...Thank you ALOT! 

I was interviewed among Top Lebanese Food Bloggers such as (No Garlic No Onion, The Burger Tribune, The Permanent Hunger...etc)
Below is my part! .... Now you know a little bit more about me :)

October 3, 2013

A Food Aroma from your phone

Remember my post about restaurants having menus that send smells for their visually impaired customers? (If not, read it here).
Well technology is rapidly invading the food scene in ways we cant imagine! There is a Japanese company called "Scentee" that is designing an added gadget to your smart phone (I-phone in particular for now), whereby it can allow you to smell food by a single click on the screen!

How does it work?

October 1, 2013

Weight & Food Love...Not proportional

"How come you love food, yet  you don't show it (physically)??"
This....! This was one of the weirdest ( a little bit frustrating) job interview questions I have ever got. & mind you it was not related to a food company but rather to a social media/ advertising agency. So the person who asked me, and who comes from IT background, has no relation with Food...

Though I never posted about this "physical aspect" of one's body. Because I am against talking about it.
As every person experience certain situations & environment conditions that can affect his/her own body.  So we cant generalize over the matter of physical appearance.

But since when does our physical bodies show our passion towards something.
Alright maybe a muscled man will show that he goes regularly to the gym, but that doesn't mean he likes it... A short woman might appear she doesnt play basketball, but perhaps she do and she loves it!

September 30, 2013

Should we Give Processed Food Another Chance?

This is one of the posts I wrote last year and I forgot to press the " Submit" button :(
The content is still valid and  irrelevant of time though.

“Don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food.” Michael Pollan.

Don't eat anything your great-great grandmother wouldn't recognize as food." Michael Pollan

As extreme as this notion might be, it does hold some truth. The debate about processed and wholesome (natural) food has always been raised. Some scientists claim that processed food offers convenience, saves time money, transportation costs and makes food available all year around over all the globe. While others argue that processed food has been the major cause of diseases due to their low nutrient content, high artificial ingredients, and high caloric value. World health organization states that the increase in obesity levels and chronic diseases (diabetes, heart diseases) are attributed to processed foods. Increased risk of cancer is also due to the amount of chemicals in these types of food. Also hyperactivity and attention deficiency disorder in kids were caused by consuming food loaded with artificial colorants and flavors such as candies and soda drinks.

September 1, 2013

Baking in Jars

Baking in the Jars has become the latest trend, especially among home made products.
I found several places later after this trial selling such items.
The recipes that I followed are all attached here for you to download. Surely, several trials should be made if this was done for a commercial purpose especially before we settle on the end product in order to perfect the sensory experience from all its sides: flavor, odor, color, and texture.

August 14, 2013

It is the Cronut!

Croissant + Donut= Cronut! 

Is the Cronut the new craze in the bakery scene??

If you are a foodie, you might have heard recently about the legend of the Cronut. The Cronut is a hybrid of a doughnut and a croissant, created by the pastry chef Dominique Ansel and sold at his New York bakery, Ansel's SoHo. Chef Ansel introduced the world to Cronuts on May 10, and since then, this new bakery item has been the latest trend among food lovers.

Cronuts after Cupcakes?

Cupcakes have been the latest trend in the food baking industry for the past 5 years in the world. The concept was first introduced after “Sex and the City” TV series with the first prominent Magnolia Bakery in New York City (Source: Business Insider, Jan 2011). Cupcake became a global ubiquitous phenomenon, spreading all over the world in cities and towns.

August 13, 2013

Coca Cola Goes Green

Coca Cola has used their familiar and distinctive curved script since 1887. And since the 1920s their famous logo has been placed on a red background on the company's classic cola. 

Now Coca Cola is drifting away from its iconic red color, and have launched a new look in Argentina. Coca-Cola Life, distinguished by its green label, is marketed as a "natural" and "green" low-calorie beverage in  a fully recyclable bottle that's made with 30% plant material.

August 10, 2013

Designing Restaurants for the Visually Impaired

Braille Language in Wimpy

What do you like to order Sir?
What would a visually impaired person answer to the waiter if he have not tasted the food before, if he was not accommodated with the menu? If it was his first time to the restaurant?
We eat with our eyes before we eat with our mouths..And sometimes even we have tasted the food before, if we dont see or atleast read about it, we would be confused to choose our lunch or our dinner.
Surely the sense of seeing is crucial in food choices.
Yet when we consider any visual disability as a difference, and not as a problem, it brings us very interesting concepts and ideas, especially in the food industry.

Some restaurant menus introduce Braille language to help customers with visual impairment. Braille language uses punctures on paper so that it could be read with fingers.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does not require restaurants to offer Braille menus as long as servers or other workers can adequately read menus out loud. Reading menus is considered an adequate replacement and an option that meets the requirements of the ADA.

June 4, 2013

The Bun Theory

Not quite the Burger bun.. though this is another subject and a much bigger hype that has been ongoing here in middlest east and GCC countries in the last 5 years. ( Yeah with all blogs posting the search for the best burger ever!)

But it is the "Roti" Bun! 
If you are living somewhere in Middle East, or any Gulf Country like UAE, Kuwait, or Saudi Arabia, you might have encountered one of these three renowned Roti Bun shops: Paparotti, Mama rotti, and Rotiboy.

You might wonder they are all the same... So who was the first? Who imitated who? And surely.... who is the best?

In my attempt to objectively answer these questions I did a visit to all three on the same date:
To eliminate season effect on eating habits and the seasons' effect on the taste.

I visited Rotiboy  in Sahara Mall at 8 pm accompanied with two people. The mall was surprisingly not populated. The food court had around 10-15 people maximum. It was obviously empty in compared to other days. As for Rotiboy kiosk, the  counter was clear and clean. The stands were loaded with buns. The cashier was able to  answer all my questions about the product, type, flavor, origin, baking and reheating 
He also told me about the other branches: both existing and soon to be open. He  informed me about the current offer. He looked well trained and prepared. 
Regarding the traffic flow, around 3 people came while I was there during the 40 minutes....but comparing this flow to the current one in the mall, it was good because the neighbor cafes and restaurants barely had even one customer...Even Cinnabon didn't have any customers.

Tasting the bun is another story... Its temperature was perfect, neither hot or cold....just  warm like what your tongue really craves for...The overwhelming smell infused with  coffee is tantalizing and fresh... As if you are in a bakery and coffee store at the same time, perfect combination.....I tried two flavored buns the original and the chocolate filled...
And the most thing I loved about Rotiboy is that It serves my favorite Organic/Free Trade Tea: Tea Gschwender ( If you remember my post this tea? No well go read it !)
I went to Papparotti in Hayat mall during the same night (Monday Feb 4) surprisingly it was crowded; two tables were only empty in the whole cafe. We stood on  the line to take the order. I took a menu…. It had two pages but all it showed was one  flavor and wide range of drinks. I think what was attractive about the shop was: its location.

Its location and setting made it a perfect place for ladies and families to have coffee or a beverage...The traffic was superfluous with 3 people visiting every 15 minutes. Neither the waiter nor the cashier  had time to hear my question as they were in constant rush and motion...So I couldn't approach them quite comfortably. The original flavor is a bit sweeter than Rotiboy but  was similar in texture and aroma...
Paparotti's Bun in Panorama mall

As for Mammaroti branch on Tahliyah, It had a slow traffic in the ladies but medium number of in the singles section (around 6).
The price is the same as in the others. However, the texture of the bun was different, it  was doughier and heavier from inside and it was less fluffy than the other buns I tasted. I was easily able to detect a difference in both quality and taste from the other two bun shops.

Products and Services
Original and Flavored Filled Bun
Original and Flavored  covered Bun
Original and Flavored  covered Bun
Fresh smell and taste, fluffy texture
Fresh smell and taste, fluffy texture
Doughy texture, oily, good smell
11 Riyals  per bun, but with special offer ( 2 for 13 Riyals)
11 Riyals per bun, No offer
11 Riyals per bun, No offer
Décor and Furniture
Hip  décor , youthful colors, special furniture
Wooden design , and furniture that fits
Wooden Hip and contemporary design , and furniture that fits
Social Media
Yes ( Facebook 9800 likes, 1371 Twitter)
Yes ( Facebook 171 Likes, Twitter 130 followers)
Not official (Facebook, 4 Likes)
Product Availability
Available and abundant (can be seen)
Available and abundant (can be seen)
Lack of diverse flavors
Quality and product diversity
Product Diversity
Location and quality

Rotiboy's Bun

Rotiboy's Bun

Rotiboy's Bun


Rotiboy Serves My favorite tea! Tea Gschwender 

Lebanon's Paparotti: 

I also had the chance to visit Paparotti in Lebanon in June..
It is located on Bliss street, just beside Bliss house.The setting is great as you can see AUB, the main gate clock tower and the passers by! 
The taste is the same as the Riyadh branch. The franchiser owner is different of coarse.