Where to eat like a local and discover new Arabian flavours in Dubai
To get to know a country, it’s important to know its food. With influences from all over the world contributing to Dubai’s rich food scene, there isn’t a single cuisine on the planet that can’t be found in the city. Cherish your Ramadan by trying authentic flavour such as machboos, a flavoursome dish of meat cooked with spice blends and rice. Prefer bread? Try the exotic khameer and chebab, and end your meal with the Middle Eastern version of sweet dumplings, luqaimat.
If you’re still unfamiliar with the cuisine, here, we present a list of Emirati delicacies that you should try during your visit to Dubai, along with the best place to enjoy them. Get ready to be spoilt!
Everyone’s favourite dip is also one of the most simple to make, with chickpea, tahini (sesame paste), olive oil, garlic and lemon purée. It’s a staple of almost every Middle Eastern spread.
With a similar texture to hommus, this aubergine-based dip is a spicier version of its more well-known sibling, baba ghanoush. A perfect complement to grilled meats and flatbread.
A vegetable-friendly option, fattoush is a slightly heartier salad, usually featuring pieces of toasted or fried bread combined with whatever vegetables and herbs the kitchen has on hand, notably tomatoes, cucumbers and radishes – plus some pomegranate seeds for an added burst of flavour and colour.
A dish believed to have originated in Yemen, kabsa is now popular throughout the Gulf and is often served on special occasions to feed large numbers. In the most basic terms, it is rice with meat, but the characteristic flavour of kabsa comes from combinations of cardamom, saffron, cinnamon, black lime, bay leaves and nutmeg. The stunning blend of spices in this dish, as well as the very special underground cooking method, makes it a must-try.
Another classic that can be found on the menu of pretty much any Middle Eastern restaurant, falafel is a fried ball made from ground chickpeas or fava beans and spices and is the perfect street food.
With tender strips of chicken or meat flavoured with a heady mix of spices, cooked on a rotating spit and then crammed into flatbreads full of crunchy lettuce, hot sauce and yoghurt, it’s easy to see why shawarma is one of Dubai’s most popular – and cheap – dishes.