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Dubai EXPO: Sushiro - The restaurant at the Japan Pavilion

One of the best things about EXPO is the great selection of restaurants in the country pavilions. Many of our friends were raving about Sushiro, which is the restaurant in the Japanese pavilion at EXPO, so yesterday we went out to try it. Sushiro is a kaiten sushi (conveyor belt sushi) restaurant, with small plates of sushi and other small dishes running around on the belt. If you see something tempting, you just grab the plate and eat it.

At Sushiro, you can also order directly from the menu, in case you get tired of waiting for your favorite plate to show up on the belt. The plates have different colors, and each color corresponds to a price. The most expensive ones are the black plates, which cost 25AED, but even though we ate until we could not squeeze down a single bite more, our bill was only around 350AED for both of us, which is really cheap for sushi in Dubai.

If you go to Sushiro, you should definitely try the o-toro/fatty tuna, which is the piece of the tuna with the most fat marbling. You rarely find that kind of tuna outside of Japan, and it is usually very expensive, but at Sushiro, one piece of o-toro nigiri was only 25AED. You can also go for the medium-fatty tuna, where you get 2 pieces for 25AED, which is also a very good deal.

Eating at Sushiro felt like being in Japan and the food was really good. In Japan, Kaiten sushi restaurants are casual places, but the quality of the fish at Sushiro was better than at many upscale sushi restaurants in Dubai, and there were many kinds of sushi to choose from. The ramen was also very nice, and if I had not been so full, I would have ordered one of their parfait desserts, which looked delicious. I wish EXPO was not so far from where we live, as I am already craving Sushiro sushi again.

Sushiro is one of the most popular restaurants at EXPO and we waited for 45 minutes to get a table, but when we left, we heard the staff say that the wait was over an hour. If you are planning to eat at Sushiro, it is therefore a good idea to arrive early.

ubai: Lunch at Little Erth in JLT

Last week, Polle and I went to JLT for lunch. JLT is located on the other side of the SZR, opposite Dubai Marina and I usually say that JLT is like the Marina without all the yachts and tourists. Instead, there are lots of good and cheap restaurants in the area, and one of our old favorites is Little Erth, which is a cozy little, primarily plant-based, restaurant.

I always get the vegan cheese, which is served with crispy, sumac-spiced pita chips and is perfect to snack on while waiting for the rest of the food. I regret a little that I did not also order a portion of the cheese to take home, as it is a really nice snack that will easily last a couple of days in the fridge.

Polle loves the Spaghetti Marinara with whole grain spaghetti and vegan buckwheat meatballs, so that is what he got. It is quite a large serving, and it is really filling, so I can recommend that, for those of you, who are not sure, whether a plant-based meal would actually fill you up.

For “dessert” I got the 24K latte, which I thought was a new menu item, but which the staff told me has been there since they opened. It is a turmeric latte with almond milk, ginger and cinnamon, and the flavor is rather spicy, but at the same time soft and creamy. The spices leave a sludge at the bottom, so you need to stir before drinking. Super delicious!

Dubai: Mauritius Now Gala Evening at One & Only Royal Mirage

The other day, I was invited to the Mauritius Now Gala Evening. The event was organized by the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority, and took place at the One & Only Royal Mirage, which is a nice resort hotel here in Dubai. There was a large buffet with different kinds of food from Mauritius, and during the dinner, we were watching videos featuring different sights and activities from the beautiful island.

The food was really good and packed with flavors, but without being too spicy. I particularly liked the Octopus Vindaye, which is a Mauritian dish with octopus in a rich turmeric- and mustard-based curry. I had so much of that dish, that I was too full to try more than a few of the other dishes 🙂 Though there is always room for dessert, and I got to try Napolitaines, which is a kind of glazed sandwich cookies, that I first though was macarons.

I also met with C, who writes the blog LilOneOfTheAshes. We have known each other for several years, but it’s been forever since we last met, so we made sure to sit at the same table, so we could catch up on everything.

What is white label beauty

Launching your own beauty brand in Europe is not an easy task. You need to comply with some of the strictest regulations in the world, and extensive lab testing and documentation of ingredients and shelf life are required.

Furthermore, many smaller beauty brands do not have their own production facilities, but pay to have their products made at an external factory. If you want to use your own formulas and customized packaging, the minimum order quantity and the production costs are often prohibitively high. Beauty products have a limited shelf life, so you risk spending a lot of money before you even know, if there is a market for your products.

If you want to start your own beauty brand without investing too much money, you can instead choose to buy from factories that make generic, unbranded products (so-called white label), and then add your own label/brand.

The white label factories obtain the necessary documents for selling in the EU, and they are also responsible for documentation and laboratory tests, so you avoid all the paperwork and the high associated costs, which has significantly lowered the barrier to entry and flooded the market with new brands.

Many of the new products on social media are of this type, and if you see an influencer with a beauty brand, more often than not, it is white label, ie. generic products that the influencers just labels as their own.

How can you tell if a product is white label?

Do not expect the beauty brands to be particularly eager to tell you that their products are really just white labels, and that they did not come up with the formulas themselves, so how can you tell if it is white label? Here are some of the things that might give you an idea:

If you develop your own products, this is something you want to use in your marketing, because it makes your brand standout and adds credibility. You can therefore be sure that brands with their own laboratory and research facilities, will mention that on their website and in their marketing. Since you cannot lie or mislead the consumer, brands built around white labels would instead either completely omit mentioning product development, or use very vague terms when describing the research and development behind the products.

A good place to look for clues is the brand’s About page. What is the story of the brand? Who are the people behind and do they have any skills or expertise that make them particularly suitable for starting a beauty brand? What makes the products different from what is already on the market?

Should you avoid white label beauty products?

White label products are not necessarily bad, as they have to undergo the same tests as all other beauty products sold within the EU. On the other hand, you should not expect to buy something particularly unique, as the white label factories sell the same products made from the same formulas to many different brands. The expensive influencer hair shampoo that you saw on Instagram, could thus be exactly the same shampoo available at a discount brand that buy from the same white label manufacturer.

Dubai: Yueshan Fang/Coco Cantonese – Dim sum in International City

Yesterday, I was back in International City, and this time I wanted to check out a Chinese restaurant, which is called Coco Cuisine on GoogleMaps and was supposed to be located in the middle of a park between some residential buildings, but which turned out to be named Yueshan Fang on the store front, and located in building D-08 in China Cluster.

Coco/Yueshan Fang serves Cantonese food, so I had cheungfun, which is a rice noodle tube with different kinds of filling, and youtiao, which are fried dough sticks that I have previously tasted in Hong Kong. I also had duck with rice but I had forgotten, that at more casual places in Asia, duck and chicken are just chopped into pieces without removing the bones first, and this was also the case at Yueshan Fang, so even though the duck wast juicy and delicious, it was very difficult to eat because of all the small bone bits in the meat.

At Yueshan Fang, the turnip cake is called “carrot cake”, but it was the right kind, and it tasted really good. For dessert, I had egg tarts, which are small tarts with an egg custard filling that I sometimes love, and sometimes find too eggy. This particular day, it was just right.

Yueshan Fang is a rather casual restaurant with many regular customers, and the food is not quite as sophisticated as what you’ll be served at, say, Long Teng. Though considering the low price (everything I had was just around 100AED in total and would have been enough food for 2-3 persons), so if you want cheap dim sum in International City, Yueshan Fang is still worth considering.

Of course, there was way too much food for me, so after tasting a little bit of everything, I got it to go, and had it for lunch and dinner today:)

Yueshan Fang/ Coco Cantonese, China Cluster Building D-08, International City, Dubai

Meydan South, where I live, is not far from International City, but since my brain still thinks we are in the Marina, a trip to International City still feels like quite a hike. Though yesterday, I had overcome my mental hurdles and booked an appointment for a mani/pedi in International City, and after I had my nails done, I decided to find a place for lunch in the area. International City is divided into Clusters with different country themes, and the China Cluster has some of the best and cheapest Chinese food in Dubai.

I ended up at Chongquing Noodle House and it turned out to be a real gem. The concept is simple: Homemade noodles in different kinds of soups and sauces along with a good selection of inexpensive sides. It is easy to over-order, but the food is served in takeout boxes, so if you cannot finish the food, you just ask for a lid, and you can take the leftovers home. Practical, but probably not very eco friendly, so let’s hope they come up with another solution in the future.

I ordered hot & sour soup, beef noodle soup, chicken wontons and cucumber salad, and everything I had was amazing. From the first bite, I suspected that the noodles were homemade, because they had that delicious, slightly bouncy texture that you rarely find at the store-bought ones. I therefore asked one of the staff where the noodles were from, and to my great disappointment she replied “Chongqing”. However, it turned out that she had misunderstood my question, and thought I was asking about something else. The noodles were homemade, of course!

Chongqing used to be part of the Sichuan province, which is a Chinese region known for generous use of red chilies, and the food at Chongqing Noodle House is no doubt on the spicy side, but manageable, if you are into spicy food.

Chongqing Noodle House, Shop No 16, China F15, International City, Dubai