As Fri­day looks back over 20 years, Arva Ahmed re­flects on her most nostalgic foods of the UAE

Friday - - Contents -

Say Oman chips and Arva Ahmed im­me­di­ately tastes nos­tal­gia.

This one is for the old-timers. For the Dubai chil­dren who talk of Al Reef, Al Mal­lah and Au­to­matic like old high school friends. For those who soared on ba­nana swings and rode mighty waves at Al Nasr. For those who tight­ened their skat­ing laces at Gal­le­ria. For those who fell flat in the rink but rose like Mario on his sec­ond life.

For those whose so­cial lives blos­somed in Ghu­rair, City Centre and BurJu­man, in the down­time be­tween Pac-Man.

This one is for the Dubai chil­dren of the ’80s and ’90s. And for their par­ents who could si­lence their tantrums with a bag of lat­ticed Sa­fari Chips rather than an iPhone. This one is for those whose school lives taught them the value of be­ing first. First in line at the cafe­te­ria be­fore Cae­sers pizza ran out. For those con­nois­seurs who understood the ir­refutable ap­peal of a palm-sized, baby-soft wheel of dough with three dabs of sweet tomato sauce and a glob of low­mois­ture moz­zarella cheese.

For those who up­held the time-tested tra­di­tion of pair­ing that Dh1 pizza with an orange-flavoured Areej.

This one is for those who scav­enged for ev­ery fil that could be tossed in their direction, to be bartered for wafer and caramel Lion Bars. Thank you to the gen­er­ous par­ents who in­ten­tion­ally dropped coins our way. Sorry to the par­ents who un­in­ten­tion­ally dropped coins and never knew where they went.

This one is for those who lusted af­ter the for­est-wrapped 50-fil Sa­fari Bar. For those who re­joiced in hav­ing a patch of milky chew or Fruit­tella lov­ingly plas­tered against an up­per mo­lar. For those who grad­u­ated from a para­keet-green pack of Polo to the more suave, clover green box of choco­late-rip­pled Af­ter Eight. For those who lived the high life with Toblerone, one choco­late pyra­mid at a time. For those who ju­di­ciously saved their pocket money for the au­ral grat­i­fi­ca­tion of snap­ping a Kit Kat bar. For those whose piggy banks had run dry and had to com­pro­mise with Pik-One.

This one is for those who flaunted their gold foil-wrapped choco­late coins like mil­lion­aires. This one is for the un­plugged chil­dren who were years away from ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the fil­ters of Instagram, whose coloured fil­ters in life were the ones they wore on their tongues, af­ter time well spent with a Gob­stop­per or with grape and straw­berry pel­lets that rained out of a Nerds box. For the tal­ented whose ego was not pow­ered by ‘likes,’ but by the size of the bubble they could puff with a Hubba Bubba or pack of Big Babol gum. For the cham­pi­ons who wore the tat­toos in Fusen gum squares like hard­earned medals from Al Mad­ina around the cor­ner. For the dream­ers who hal­lu­ci­nated of their fan­tasy toy in the milky walls of a Kinder egg. For their an­noy­ing sib­lings who man­aged to get that toy in their Kinder egg ev­ery sin­gle time.

This one is for those who con­formed to the class­room rule of dis­tribut­ing Quality Street choco­lates for their birth­day. For their moth­ers who would store those tins, and those of su­gar-stud­ded Dan­ish Bis­cuits, as stor­age for combs and baubles.

This one is for those wheel­ers and deal­ers who con­vinced their moth­ers to in­vest in thim­ble-sized jelly cups that could be slurped col­lec­tively at break time. This one is for those who bull­dozed through a bag of Square Chips on the ride home from school. For those who flut­tered their Mr Krisps chip-ringed fin­gers out of the window, then gnawed off each crunchy ring at a time. For those who were con­vinced, con­trary to every­thing learned dur­ing dic­ta­tion, that the cor­rect spelling was cheez be­cause the Cheez Balls tin said so.

For those who understood that the best part of eat­ing Quavers, Po­fak or tomatoflavoured Chip­sticks was the glory in lick­ing

This one is for those who understood the BEST PART of eat­ing Chip­sticks was the GLORY in lick­ing pow­dered fin­ger­tips af­ter. For those who have an UN­BREAK­ABLE BOND with Chips Oman

chip-pow­dered fin­ger­tips af­ter. For those who still have a bond with Chips Oman. This one’s for those whose mem­ory gates are flung open if they hear the words: Chupa Chups, Kopiko, Curly Wurlys, Koukou Roukou and Igloo. For those who now know that Santa doesn’t ex­ist, but calo­ries do.

For those who have grown up to live by the weigh­ing scale, but will never for­get that care­free time when ev­ery day was cheat day.

This one is for those whose DNA will never per­mit them to say ‘no’ to a Cae­sers pizza – even if they are now adults. And even if it’s not a sched­uled cheat day. This one is for old-timers.

Arva Ahmed of­fers guided tours re­veal­ing Dubai’s culi­nary hide­outs (fry­ing­panad­ven­

A group of chil­dren en­joy­ing the spoils of their gro­cery store snack shop­ping in Hatta in 1994

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