Entries in the 'Middle East' Category

January 28, 2007

Trader Vic’s Roundup

Filed under: Asia,Chicago,Dallas,Las Vegas,Middle East,News,Tiki,Trader Vic's — Humuhumu @ 1:46 am

Here’s an update on some of the Trader Vic’s openings currently slated, from the Trader Vic’s website:

Shanghai, China – Opened on New Year’s Eve

Dallas – February, 2007 (it’s been pushed back many times, but February 11 is the most recent date)

Las Vegas – in June, 2007

Trader Vic’s Mai Tai Bar in Dubai – April, 2007

Chicago – late 2007 (This has been pushed back quite a bit — their initial estimate was that it would be open by now. There have been rumblings of union troubles (I don’t know of which sort) causing some delays.)

Doha, Qatar – late 2007

Amman, Jordan – late 2007

Beijing, China – late 2007

Earlier Trader Vic’s opening reports on Humu Kon Tiki:

Trader Vic’s Kuwait?

Filed under: Middle East,News,Tiki,Trader Vic's — Humuhumu @ 12:00 am
Trader Vic's Kuwait press release, from Kuwait Unplugged
Trader Vic’s Kuwait press release,
from Kuwait Unplugged

Humu Kon Tiki reader Misbas recently made a comment on a post about the Kon Tiki in Kuwait:

The Kon Tiki is a Polynesian-style restaurant in the Trader Vic’s mode, and the food is actually very good, if somewhat pricey. Speaking of Trader Vic’s, a company here has announced plans to open one in Kuwait. Imagine that, A TV’s sans alcohol — the spectre is both comical and depressing at the same time! The other Trader Vic’s locations in the Gulf (Bahrain, Dubai, Abu-Dhabi, Al-Ain and Oman) do a bang-up business, but all serve the big “A”.

Interesting… a quick search turned up this post on the Kuwait Unplugged blog:

Trader Vic’s is well known around the world as a tourist trap specializing in luridly colored cocktails (the Mai Tai being its most famous), with tacky umbrellas and weirdly shaped glasses. The food is secondary… it’s not bad, but it’s also not the main reason people go there.

Now Trader Vic’s is the latest entry in the never-ending race to import totally unsuitable franchises to Kuwait. What would be the point if they can’t serve their signature cocktails?

And the press release… words fail me!

Kuwait Unplugged has a full-size image of the printed press release above… words fail me as well, but for an entirely different reason. Can someone who can read Arabic help me out?

I’m also not up enough on the restaurant & (non)bar scene in the Middle East, so I don’t feel like I’m in a position to say whether or not this is a good move on Trader Vic’s part, but I have to agree that I don’t get it, especially if the decor is as sparse as the newer Trader Vic’s I’ve seen here stateside. Heck, I’m not even sure if Bongo Bongo Soup is halal.

September 7, 2006

Kon-Tiki in Kuwait City

Filed under: Middle East,Tiki,Trader Vic's — Humuhumu @ 8:53 pm
Kon-Tiki in Kuwait City, photo from Dan in the Desert
Kon-Tiki in Kuwait City, photo from Dan in the Desert

The above photo of Kon-Tiki comes from the website of Dan in the Desert, a civilian working in the Middle East. I first came across his post about this unusual restaurant in Kuwait City last December. He made only passing reference to it, and I still don’t know a lot about the place, but today I finally got off my duff and got it entered into Critiki.

Kon-Tiki, from the Radisson SAS website
Kon-Tiki, from the
Radisson SAS website

Kon-Tiki is just a restaurant — alcohol is a big kapu in Kuwait. It is indeed a Polynesian restaurant, and you can just almost see what appears to be a tiki on the wall in this photo. The really striking thing about this restaurant, though, is that it sits directly beneath an authentic Kuwaiti dhow that is in permanent dry-dock. That dramatic curved wall and ceiling is actually the hull of a ship. That ship is called the Al Boom, and it holds a steakhouse. The Kon-Tiki is at the Radisson SAS Hotel, which is in Salwa, a sort of suburb of Kuwait City, and it is right on the Persian Gulf. There is also a simple website for the hotel, which has this small picture, but it doesn’t reveal much more about this unusual Polynesian restaurant.

Many people are unaware that Polynesian restaurants are not uncommon in the Middle East; in fact, Trader Vic’s has nine Middle East locations — there are currently only seven operating in the United States.


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Humuhumu is the creator of several tiki websites. She is a designer and programmer based out of San Francisco.

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