A table with typical Qatari food.  Photo: @federicomacchi

There is not much time to stop the machine and fast food outlets are the simple solution. What is eaten in Doha and how to follow a healthy diet without dying trying.

In this type of coverage, without any time to stop the ball and take a moment of leisure (logical, we are working 24×7), meals are often a problem. And this World Cup, here in Doha and surroundings, is no exception. It is that the routines are subverted by the time difference (six more than in Argentina) and by the current production methods of our trade, which force us to always be with guard up like the Gallardo River.

All this complexity threatens good eating habits. Looking at the photo and guessing the generous corpulence that follows below, you can tell me, quoting Raúl Alfonsín: “You’re not doing so badly, chubby”. And, yes, I have the advantage of the reserve tank. But everything has a limit.

Nutritionists, with whom I have a long history of failures but also a couple of bumps, always advise eating healthy and resting well. As you will realize from what I am telling you, we would not be doing either of the two things.

A table with typical Qatari food. Photo: @federicomacchi

I’m not complaining, of course. The idea is not to be sorry. Quite the opposite. It’s great to cover a World Cup or any event of this magnitude. It is super rewarding and a great challenge. But after a week and with just two days of competition, the body is taking its toll from disorders and fatigue. This being the case, added to a jet lag that never settles down, they make it necessary not to make mistakes in the elections.

Elections of what? The choice of food. Is that It is very attractive to try the typical dishes of Qatar. It is a completely different food culture than what we are used to in the southern tip of America. Between ignorance and spiciness that appears as a special guest in almost all dishes, choice of lunch and dinner -breakfast is Fatto at home it can end up being a bad drink.

It is true that one can be more result-oriented than Bilardo. Nothing to sting the ball in the penalty. Strong in the middle and bet on the fast food outlets that are around the world to satisfy your hunger without the risk of complications. However, living 40 days, or the duration of this journey, to hamburgers and fries, fried chicken or pizza, would not be the healthiest thing in the history of humanity.

What are we left, you will be thinking. He wants neither fu nor fa. There is no food that suits him… Neither the typical nor the junk. It’s not quite like that though there is nothing that compares to Puppi’s Milanese. There are dishes that are very tasty. Most come with rice, as it happens in all countries on this side of the world. It is known that rice, like bread, serves to appease the effects of spicy foods. Y It is the great base of all food, as the old advertising from the eighties said.

It is also the basis of machbooswhich is a dish that is usually on the menu both in restaurants and in Qatari homes. Also known as kabsa it is consumed in many homes and restaurants in Qatar. It is cooked with rice, as I told you, different spices and fish or meat.. what meat? Chicken, lamb, prawns or camel… I think he got me chicken. But we didn’t quite understand each other with the waiter who had even more rudimentary English than mine.

This is what the machboos looks like.

This is what the machboos looks like.

The other day I finally realized why Arabic bread has that shape. I had already seen it in movies and also on gastronomic channels, but here I ended up falling for the file You eat it, of course, generally with your hands. The three fingers that we use to make a bunch or label someone as a coward (ca…) are used, but they are pointed downwards and are used as a clamp.

Bread is the ideal wrapper to lift food. So you can eat all kinds of food. I tried a kind of antipasto that had hummus, an olive marinade (how fine, say olives), a deconstructed caprese (everything was finely chopped), a kind of Russian salad, and a spicy pasta that almost made me a bad move.

Fortunately, At dessert time, I had a phenomenal success. And that the photos of the dish look much more succulent because it has a better consistency. Enough mystery. The dessert is called umm ali, which means “Ali’s mother”. It is actually of Egyptian origin and is a kind of custard that has a puff pastry -it can also be bread- almonds and chopped pistachios. It is usually served hot, but it can also be eaten cold. It is a delicacy.

How much? In fast food they start around 10 dollars a combo. In slightly more nutritious and elaborate restaurants, the issue, at least, triples.

This story will continue…

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