A huge part of traveling is about enjoying the culture and people of a country. A part of a country’s culture is its cuisine. So it’s prudent to know which foods are top rated or a delicacy in a country.
That is also true for the UAE. That’s why we have put this post of 10 must eat dishes when visiting the UAE. If you don’t get to try the food, you have missed half of the experience.
These hot dumplings have a similar taste and texture to doughnuts. Cafés make fresh batches daily, served with a sticky date sauce and topped with sesame seeds.
These hot dumplings have a similar taste and texture to doughnuts. Cafés make fresh batches daily, served with a sticky date sauce and topped with sesame seeds. Local Bites Café in Jumeirah is a good place to try them, mid-morning with some hot coffee.
Originally from Palestine, this pastry dish has become a firm favourite with locals in the UAE. Made of sour cheese, crisp sugar syrup and dough, it’s best served immediately after being made.
One of the most popular places to try it is Qwaider Al Nabulsi in Deira. During Ramadan, orders for this dessert can reach in to the thousands per day, as people request it for iftar – the meal eaten by Muslims at sundown to break their fast.
Traditionally, camel meat was not eaten by Emiratis, but modern chefs in the city are increasingly trying their hand at cooking everything from camel sliders to camel biryani, burgers and stews. Camel milk – slightly saltier than cow’s milk – has more protein, is lower in cholesterol, and higher in vitamin C and iron.
Don’t fancy a whole glass? Try camel milk ice cream instead. Arab cafés across the city have a range of different flavors, including pistachio, chocolate and date.
4. Turkish cocktails
Dubai isn’t teetotal, and its bar scene is incredibly lively. Try the Anatolian Fizz at Ruya, made with sparkling wine, pomegranate molasses, citrus, rose and raspberry.
Ruya’s cocktails are based on classic Turkish flavours, with ingredients such as hibiscus, rose, pomegranate, honey, spices, citrus and mint.
Like many dishes in the Emirates, these hot pastry appetizers were influenced by flavors and techniques that hail from across the Arabian Sea, in India. Some are filled with meat, vegetables and spices, but the most popular local version is stuffed with three types of cheese.
6. Arabic coffee and dates
Complimentary Arabic coffee is offered everywhere in the UAE from government buildings to hotel foyers. For the good stuff, head over to Café Bateel and try the Bateel signature qahwa, a traditional Arabic coffee made with lightly roasted beans and cardamom, served with organic local dates.
This meaty, tomato-based stew is full of heat, cooked with turmeric, cumin and bezar (a local garam masala-like spice mixture).
Different variations can be found across the city, made with chicken or lamb, and some simply made with baby marrow and potato. The chicken margoogat dish at Aseelah in the Radisson Blu Hotel is a must-try, along with the restaurant’s exciting menu of other traditional and experimental dishes.
These delicious Emirati-style pancakes are normally served at breakfast time. They’re crammed full of sour cheese and sweet date syrup, then heated.
The cooking process causes the sweet and sour elements to combine, with a flavour that’s a little like a rich, boozy Swiss fondue. Tasty ones are served at Logma.
This traditional rice dish is made with whole local spices including cardamom and cinnamon, then mixed with dried lemon.It’s usually made with locally caught shrimp, lamb or chicken.
Avoid shop-bought versions of this classic Arabic bread, and instead try it at a bakery or restaurant where they’re making it fresh. It’s perfect with fresh hummus and mutabal (aubergine dip).
If you have made it this far down the list, there is a bonus. My favorite dish in the UAE is mandi. The meat just falls off the bone and the rice that comes with it is delicious. So don’t forget to try it.
Places to try some of these foods
1. Asad Al Madfood – one of the best restaurant. Higher in prices than bait al mandi but the sam deliciousness. Want to try making it yourself, checkout the recipe.
2. Bait al Mandi
3. Al Fanar Restaurant & Cafe – Sharjah
There are other great restaurants you can go and get these foods, but these are some of the authentic and tasty ones I have tried.
What have you tried on your travels that was just too delicious?