x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

A fishy business

A reader says it's not just hammour that is faked in some restaurants. Other letters address skimpy outfits, what's in our water and whether the butler did it.

The only way to be certain of what you're eating is to cook it yourself, a reader argues. Stephen Lock / The National
The only way to be certain of what you're eating is to cook it yourself, a reader argues. Stephen Lock / The National

The problem with Cheap fish being sold as hammour (May 28) is that, very often, a restaurant customer cannot distinguish hammour from an alternative cheaper variety, particularly when it is covered with sauce, batter or seasoning.

Generally speaking, if the price is "too good to be true" the product probably isn't genuine.

The question is: what recourse does the customer have? If a customer thinks he is not getting what he ordered, how can he prove it? He can vote with his feet and never come back to that establishment, but that will not stop the practice.

The potential for fraud, both in restaurants and retail outlets, is enormous and does not necessarily end at hammour.

What about cornfed chicken, Wagyu beef, Welsh lamb, diver scallops or Scottish salmon? The list goes on and on.

While the majority of establishments are sincere, there are some that are out to make a quick buck and there is little protection for the consumer.

As somebody who has been involved with the catering industry for over 40 years, I know.

Jeremy P Weeks, Abu Dhabi

Visitors should show respect

I am currently visiting Abu Dhabi and I could not agree more with Hanan and Asma's dress code campaign (Call for crackdown on skimpy outfits, May 29).

I believe in observing decorum and noting the feelings and beliefs of a culture I am visiting. Call me old fashioned, but I think showing less is more. As for the UAE being a relaxed place for tourists, nobody should take that too literally.

Please, ladies, be respectful.

Mary Zale, US

True artists are born, not made

I was astounded to read in Ayesha Ali Al Blooshi's commentary How money eroded the popularity of traditional dress (May 28), that some girls become media artists to find husbands.

Really? No one can become an artist; artistry is a gift.

While skills can be honed to help develop natural talents or unblock creativity, you cannot teach someone to "become an artist": you either are an artist or you are not.

Maggie Hannan, Abu Dhabi

Not all water is good for you

I write regarding your Food for thought column on dehydration, Are you getting enough? (May 28). It's an interesting article but, unfortunately, it's not just down to H2O but what's in the water in the form of minerals that counts.

A lot of the water in the UAE is desalinated water that does not contain naturally occurring "soluble" minerals.

A natural liquid electrolyte can be added to water or any drink to give you a good dose of electrolytes.

Stuart Walsh, Dubai

Did the Vatican butler really do it?

I suppose that the story behind Vatican in chaos as Pope's butler is arrested (May 28) will find a place in Hollywood, or at least a Dan Brown thriller, soon.

Confidential documents were allegedly found in the Vatican City flat of Paolo Gabriele.

It's hard to understand why a 46-year-old father of three who has been the Pope's butler since 2006 would offer sensitive documents and letters to other people.

The Vatican is right to condemn the release of sensitive information, and senior officials should be appointed to investigate the leaks fairly and fully.

Maybe it was part of a plot to discredit the Pope and to make the butler the scapegoat. The truth will be revealed somehow.

Gaye Caglayan, Dubai

While many people are no doubt comparing recent events at the Vatican to an Agatha Christie whodunnit, I can't help think of the title of a Joe Orton theatrical farce, What the Butler Saw.

Whatever it was, it must have been very interesting indeed.

J Johannson, Abu Dhabi

Country could do with some credit

I read Everest girl tells of scaling past bodies (May29) with great interest. However, I felt something was missing: the word Nepal. It would have been better if you'd mentioned the name of nation where Mount Everest sits.

Bibek Thapa, Abu Dhabi

Column reflects reader's reality

The column Hesitant to leave UAE luxury for university living (May 20) is a humorous take on teenagers in Dubai. I absolutely loved it and it certainly mirrors my feelings right now. To the writer, Lavanya Malhotra, I say: you are the main reason I read The National. I'm your No. 1 fan. Please do an article on the band One Direction.

S Markani, Dubai