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The United Arab Emirates is unlike any other place on Earth- Dubai is its crown jewel. For thousands of years, this city was just the land of pearls, and divers would risk death as deep as 40 meters.  Eventually, the magic of pearling gave way to oil and industry. Nowadays, Dubai is a hotbed of business, energy, and tourism. However, its eccentric heritage still shines through.

Dubai’s cuisine still feels, smells, looks, and tastes like the exotic place as it was in old days. Whether you are traveling to Dubai for business or to spend your vacations, there is a great need to recharge with some food. A city of diverse flavors and spices- eating in Dubai is its own reason to visit.

What is Emirati Cuisine?

When someone thinks about Emirati cuisine, Arabian foods of Levantine origin like shawarma, hummus, and falafel probably come to mind. It is likely due to the popularity of Levantine dishes in the region.  However, due to constant dealings with travelers from various regions, Emirati foods have evolved a lot over the years. Emeriti cuisine is a combination of Iranian, Lebanese, even Indian flavors. It includes plenty of vegetarian and meat-based dishes to enjoy. Hence, this cuisine are largely a fusion of the farmers, fishermen, and Bedouins’ diet.

In traditional Emirati cuisine, you’ll find extensive use of ingredients like camel and goat milk, meat, dates, vegetables, fish, grains, and of course a whole lot of spices. The main spices are cinnamon, saffron, turmeric, and thyme. In order to give more flavor, sometimes the dishes are also seasoned with the leaves of the indigenous ghaf trees. In terms of drinks, a special tea made with mint is served at the end of the meal in order to help digestion. Furthermore, dates and Arabic coffee are considered integral to Emirati hospitality and culture.

However, this blog is all about what to eat in Dubai, so here’s a look at all the top dishes that you absolutely have to experience in the heart of the UAE. Let’s get started!

Non-Vegetarian Dubai Cuisine

All meat lovers- rejoice!  The aroma and taste of the Arabian food will keep you coming back whether you want Arabic food in Dubai or looking for inexpensive street food. If you are planning your trip according to your meal plan, you’ll absolutely fall in love with this list.

Al Harees – Taste the Tradition

haresa

Meat, wheat, onions, ground cumin, and a pinch of salt, are combined with some hours of baking. It produces really wonderful dish that will definitely leave you craving for a second helping. Al Harees is one of the most savored during Ramadan, Eid, and weddings. You’ll be surprised at how warm and hospitable the Dubai locals are. It is easily one of the best dishes and you can find it on many an Emirati dinner table, on the menus in some of Dubai’s restaurants. Preparation of Al Harees needs a great deal of time and skill, so it’s generally presented at special occasions.

Emirati Al Harees is known as one of the country’s best-known traditional dishes. It’s also an important part of the local culinary heritage and continue to be passed down through multiple generations.

Manousheh – Pizza of Dubai

dubai pizza

Manousheh i the local pizza- an apt choice for the piquant taste buds. If you are looking for Dubai specialties- Manoush proves to be a perfect pick for a luscious breakfast. Stretched dough filled with exotic toppings such as earthy zaatar herbs, salty Akkawi cheese, and olive oil. It is also known as the go-to dish for street food in Dubai. However, make sure you hog on it with sweet minced lamb and jam. The dish is popular with both locals as well as tourists.

Chelo Kebab – A Heavenly Taste

kebab

If there is need of the best food in Dubai, just head to Chelo Kebab. Enjoy the aromatic saffron-scented basmati rice served with butter on kebabs.  Chelo Kebab is another mouthwatering and famous food of Dubai. You must try this scrumptious non-vegetarian dish with your friends or family.

Iranian Sangak – One of The Most Popular Foods

bread

Hello bread lovers, Iranian Sangak is for you. A delight easily paves its way into the list of one of the best foods to try in Dubai. This Iranian leavened flatbread is made out of whole wheat. It can be served plain or rectangular in shape. It is one of the famous foods of Dubai that you must try! The best thing about Iranian Sangak is, the bread can also be made gluten-free. It is the go-to food item for both foodies and health freaks.

Jasheed- Taste the Shark

jasheed

Jasheed is another popular dish in the Gulf region. No doubt, fish has particularly important in Emirati cuisine, significantly in coastal regions where fresh fish is included in many meals.

Jasheed is made from small sharks or other fish if these aren’t available- eaten with rice. The food is served with white rice and clarified butter. If we discuss the procedure, the fish is covered with water and cooked for 30 minutes with spices until the skin peels off. After that, it is cleaned and put into pot with mixed spices, cinnamon, dried lemon, cardamom, ginger, chopped onion, and garlic. In the next step, fish is shredded and mixed it with a blend of spices for 15 minutes. The entire mixture was then cooked until well done.

Saloona

saloona

Saloon looks like curry as its water-based- making it more like a stew. It’s made with lamb, fish, or chicken, seasonal vegetables, and blend of spices. Saloona is generally paired with white rice, but you can also swap out for tandoor bread.

Al Machboos – Surprisingly Delicious

Al Machboos

Simply cooked, it is considered as one of the most famous foods of Dubai. Rice, onions, and meat, are seasoned with spices, salt, as well as dried lemon. It is fascinating to know that, Al Machboos is listed in the list of the famous food in Dubai due to its zesty flavors. You must try it with salad and raita- supposed to be heavenly. In order to enjoy the authentic way, serve it on a large platter and allow everyone to eat from the same. You’ll be surprised at how good it tastes, considering it looks very unsophisticated.

Margooga- Feel the Zest

margouga

Margooga is another type of Emirati stew- a mix of veggies such as carrots, zucchini, tomatoes, and eggplant with meat, spice mix, and unbaked Levantine bread. The bread is added to the margooga when it’s nearly finished. It absorbs the flavors of the stew perfectly. It would be best to try lam-based of this hearty dish.

Stuffed Camel

camel place

Being named by the Guinness World Book of Records- as one of the best foods you can eat in the world, stuffed camel is known one of the most luxurious foods in Dubai.  Stuffed camel is cooked on a spit over an open flame as well as filled with sheep, chicken, eggs, fish, and spices.

It is fascinating to know; Stuffed Camel is still a traditional food in Dubai. It is so over-the-top, so, stuffed camel is especially served only when there is any special occasion, Bedouin ceremony, festival, or other cultural or family event. So, if really want to try this dish, plan your trip accordingly.

Vegetarian Dubai Cuisine

Unlike other foreign countries, Dubai is vegetarian-friendly. Dubai is is a delight for vegetarians. The reason is, a large number of most Dubai cuisine are vegetarian in nature. Here are some of the best vegetarian dishes!

Hummus- A staple dip

hummus

Hummus is everyone’s preferred dip in the middle East, perhaps one of the easiest to prepare. A blend of chickpeas, olive oil, garlic, sesame tahini paste, and lemon juice, Hummus is a staple at almost every spread. Sometimes it’s also a customary starter. Enjoy it with freshly baked Arabic flat bread.You can also try it as a spread, or enjoy a condiment with freshly-grilled kebabs. This multipurpose dip is coming in a variety of flavours like beetroot, avocado and many more. However, the original must be your first choice. In Dubai, Arz Lebanon restaurant is presenting the perfect version-drizzled with olive oil and love.

Fatteh – All in One

fateh

Fatteh is an ideal for an early evening meal- it consists of three layers. Bread is soaked in-stock forms the foundation.  In the middle layer, we have chickpeas, stuffed aubergines, and topping with yogurt and tahini-sauce topping. Never miss treating your taste-buds with this best food in Dubai.  You can also pair it with pine nuts, parsley and paprika.

Kellaj – A Cheesy Delight

kellaj

Kallaj is one of the must try foods in Dubai. It’s a bread filled with grilled charcoal and halloumi cheese. Kallaj is dish is a perfect pick for dealing the small hunger monsters. This is one of the best Dubai foods in order to satiate your evening hunger and it has also stayed a top-rated dish in Dubai for some years. Taste it with powdered sugar and serve hot.

Tabbouleh – For Health Conscious

quino

Supper delicious, irrespective of how you spell it. Tabbouleh is a salad prepared from tomatoes, cucumber, green onions and seasoned with lemon juice and fresh mint. Needless to say, it is the healthiest food Dubai for foodies looking for healthier options. The health freaks will definitely be spoilt for choice as these salads are renowned all over Dubai. Some of the other salads are also flavored with Blueberry and Corn. Moreover, the stuffed grape leaves version is worth trying.

Falafel – Prepared with Love

flafel

 

Falafel is a deep-fried ball prepared out of ground chickpeas or fava beans. It’s a delight to eat and known as one of the best amongst Dubai famous food people love to enjoy. You can pair it with any bread in order to have an exceptional dining experience. However, ensure to ask the waiter what the Falafel includes because every restaurant cooks it differently. There may be something in that you’re allergic to. So, don’t take your chances and ask the waiter first. It would be most delicious if paired with hummus and pita.

Kousa Mahshi – Taste the Classic Spices

Kousa Mahshi – Taste the Classic Spices

From the list of exotic foods in Dubai, Kousa Mahshi is a classic one. It’s eaten as a main course, courgettes or zucchini stuffed with rice. The lip-smacking taste has helped it in making to the list of special food of Dubai. Kousa Mahshi has received rave reviews and of the diners has also been quoted as- this item is the best in the world. Just go ahead and decide for yourself!

Shirin Polo – An Authentic Dining Experience

Shirin Polo

Thick, crispy tahdig crust and the sweet garnishes are responsible for the popularity of this amazing dish. Shirin Polo includes basmati rice with carrots, raisins, chicken, currants, as well as nuts. If you are looking for Dubai’s specialty in terms of vegetarian, this is a must-try. We assure you; you’ll be exceptionally happy with entire dining experience. In Dubai cuisine, it’s an important dish. You can also pair with barberries and pistachio ice cream.

Madrouba – Healthy Food

Madrouba

Madrouba is another Dubai’s most popular food. It also has its fans in Bahrain and Oman. Madrouba with chicken is the popular variety but it is also served with fish, lamb, as well as crushed grains. It’s prepared using rice, onion, tomatoes, garlic, seasoning. Butter, and yoghurt moderation.

The dish is named madrouba means ‘beaten’ in Arabic. The reason is, in the last stage of the recipe, all the ingredients are beaten in order to form a smooth mash. This dish is ideal for all ages. The process of cooking it is entirely different and it’s for both a vegetarian and a non-vegetarian dish. The best thing about Madrouba is, it can be digested easily and you can find it easily too.

Fattoush – Healthy and Delicious

fattoush

Fattoush is a delight to all health freaks giving them an ideal flavor without gaining extra pounds. Basically, it’s a Levantine bread salad made from toasted or fried pieces of pita bread. Keep in consideration, Fattoush is listed among Dubai’s famous foods. It is something that you must add to your health and taste. You’ll be surprised- how delicious this dish is! This is the most delicious dish for Asians you can also complement it with mixed greens along with a tangy lemon dressing.

Street Food in Dubai

The street food of Dubai has taken the world by storm. People are opening up to street food globally. While wondering what to eat in Dubai, choose the street food. Here we have shortlisted some food items making the street food aficionado inside you happy:

Shawarma – The Popular Street Food Item

shwarama

This popular meat dish has traveled far beyond the UAE. Shawarma is made from slow-roasted and spiced meat- a kind of Middle Eastern sandwich. Shawarma is served in an Arabic roti with vegetables, tomatoes, fries, garlic sauce — the sides seem endless. Although it is also found in New York City, Moscow, Delhi, Tokyo- means everywhere but eating in Dubai is an experience that must not be missed. In terms of exploring street food scenes, you can visit the famous Shawarma outlets such as Shawarma Twist, Al Mallah, Doors Freestyle Grill, and Ikea Bistro.  Try the local flavors of Dubai here.

Shish Tawook – Taste It Like the Locals

sheesh tawook

Shish Tawook is the popular dish on the menu of almost every restaurant in Dubai. It is served as a traditional kebab and tastes better when served sandwiched in bread. You can find it served in many other parts of the world like Pakistan and India, among others. You can pair it with fries and pickles.

Lahem Bl Ajin – The Arabic Pizza

arabian pizza

Another thing that comes to our mind while thinking street food in Dubai is Lahem Bl Ajin. It is the best in town- referred to as the Arab Pizza.  Lahem Bl Ajin is amazing Lebanese flatbread pies along with spicy meat toppings. People, who are looking for spicy food, regard this dish as one of the best foods in Dubai.

Taboon Bread – Not Only A Bread

bread

A famous old Palestinian bread- Taboon Bread is delicious when served with thyme and olive oil. It is perfect for the people who desire traditional Dubai foods. In Dubai, Taboon bread is sold as street food stuffed with falafel and hummus. Street food vendors rarely share the recipe of this soft bread, but many food blogs have the recipe of this bread- just in case you ever plan to make it at home.

Matchbous

Matchbous

Another lamb recipe- match bonus is made from a lamb spiced with known as loomi. However, Loomi is made from dried and ripe limes and saltwater. The lamb meat cooked into a stew with tomatoes and rice. Matchbous is a traditional dish of Dubai with unique, sharp, and spicy flavor. Moreover, cardamom, cassia bark, cloves, and turmeric are also used to flavor this dish. All these spices give it a satisfying depth of flavors.

Samboosa – Eat with A Twist

samosa

Dubai food scene is also inspired from other countries. You can easily see while exploring the street food outlets in the city. One of the most famous Indian Pakistan dishes, Samosa is served in Dubai. It is a twist of meat, vegetables, and fish. Moreover, samboosa is stuffed with exotic spices as well as all kinds of meat and vegetables. If you are in Dubai, forget the potato stuffed samosa and enjoy the Samboosa served with delicious fillings.

Oman Chips Roll – Everyone’s Favorite

oman chips

Oman Chips roll is another famous street food in Dubai and favorite since everyone’s childhood. Everyone loves Oman chips as they are tasty and spicy. You can find anywhere. The roll includes beaten chips with cheese spread into a roll shape. When you visit Dubai, make sure to taste this Dubai cuisine.

Desserts in Dubai

In Dubai, your meal seems incomplete without dessert. Yours too, there are a lot of delicious things to try in Dubai when it comes to treating yourself with sweet. Here we have shortlisted a few dessert items that are not only famous in Dubai but also around the world.

Luqaimat – Can’t Have Just One

Luqaimat

Luqaymat is a well-known dish of Dubai’s traditional cuisine. It is prepared espeacilly for various cultural events that held across the Emirates. Luqaymat is a must-have pastry in the home or restaurant.

Luqaimat are small deep-fried dumplings made from butter, milk, flour, saffron, sugar, and cardamom. These sweet pastries are shaped into delicate balls that melt in the mouth. The batter is kneaded and left to rest for a while, before fried in oil and drizzled with sweet syrup. It all about, the more you eat, the more you will fall in love. If you ask any local regarding best sweet in Dubai, they will suggest you this sweet dish.  Luckily, they’re served on most Emirati restaurants’ dessert menus.

Mahalabiya – Can’t Miss

mahalbiya

if you are still looking for best sweet dish to eat in Dubai, it is a constant favorite among people. Mahalabiya is a rich pudding sprinkled with pistachios and rosewater. It is served cold as heating it will change the original taste of the dish and it will lose its rich flavors. So, don’t ask the waiter to heat it because every waiter will tell you the exact same thing.

Knafeh – Cheese Pastry Redefined

kunafa

Knafeh is known as the queen of Arabic desserts. It’s a kind of sticky pastry made from gooey sweet cheese. With the essence of rose-scented syrup and pistachios, it’s gives mouth-watering flavor. Knafeh is also a traditional food of Dubai and a favorite in terms of special foods of the city. Knafeh is not only famous in Dubai but also in other Middle Eastern places.

Khanfaroosh – For Teatime

khan farosh

If you’re searching for delicious desserts in Dubai, the search ceases here. Get this sweet treat in every nook and corner of the city. Khanfaroosh is a complete surprise made out of egg, sugar, flour, saffron, yeast, cardamom, and rose water. It is served with tea and coffee cake. While looking for deserts in Dubai, it is the one you must try. Share it with your other to add sweetness.

Balaleet

blaleet

Balaleet is a mixture of sweet and sour. It is a traditional dish including vermicelli sweetened with sugar, rose water, saffron, cardamom, and served with an omelet on top. Ballet is well known throughout the Gulf, especially in UAE. Although it is different from country to country, but only by the omelet covering the plate. Usually, it is served as a breakfast dish, it is also served as a dessert during Ramadan.

Arabic coffee and dates

coffee

Arabic coffee is offered complimentary everywhere in the UAE from government buildings to hotels. For better stuff, head over towards café Bateel and try their signature qahwa- a traditional Arabic coffee made with cardamom and lightly roasted beans served with organic local dates.

Best Emirati Restaurants in Dubai

So, without any further delay, we’re going to recommend you some best dine in Emirati restaurants in order to enjoy the amazing traditional dishes.

Al Fanar

Al Fanar cooks authentic Emirati cuisine in Dubai. It is serving out in multiple locations around the city. The ambiance of Al Fanar gives a feel of Dubai in the 1960s when it was just a little town on the coast of the Arabian Gulf. Eating areas are significantly designed to resemble a scene of desert tents close to a fire. Their traditional menu offers the best traditional food in Dubai. Al Fanar has three branches in Dubai Festival City, Al Barsha Pond Park and Al Seef.

Aseelah

Aseelah is a delightful restaurant serving traditional Emirati food with a blend of traditional hospitality and modern twists. The restaurant is welcoming, both on the outside as well as inside. Their menu serves modern takes on Emirati dishes like fennel and orange salad with beetroot carpaccio, chicken harees, chicken biryani, and camel sliders.

Zaroob

Zaroob is a famous eatery serving Levantine-style street food without selling on the street. This eatery serves the best Arabic dishes made with recipes native to Arab countries. Their menu is constantly rotating and the star hits include Kofta Sandwich that features perfectly grilled meat wrapped in baked Lebanese bread. Other items include the Chicken Mousakhan- a perfectly marinated and spiced chicken roasted and served with freshly baked bread.

Arabian Tea House Al Fahidi

The Arabian Tea House Al Fahidi is one of the iconic establishments in Dubai- serving authentic Emirati and Dubai cuisine for over twenty years. The decor is a staring white from the walls to the stones- the vibe of Arabian adventurers out in the desert. You’ll enjoy the traditional Emirati meals served at all time. Their menu comprises Arabian Tea House Breakfast Tray including Arabic bread, beans, cheddar cheese wrap, hummus, olives, falafel, and other delicacies.

Al Bait Al Qadeem

Nothing can beat this dining venue if you want to relish traditional Emirati foods in an inspiring setting. Al Bait Al Qadeem is located in the historical Al Ras area within one of the region’s oldest structures. The restaurant offers a dedicated menu for Emirati cuisine.

If you travel to Dubai, take in its flavors along with its sights as well as business opportunities. Don’t wait and plan your trip and dine on Dubai cuisine. From camel to rosewater, nothing offers a taste as unique as Dubai’s. Make sure to tip them after you’ve dined. Happy eating

FAQs

What is Dubai’s National Food?

Meat, fish, and rice are Dubai’s national foods. However, Al Machboos and Khuzi are the traditional cuisines of the country.

What type of food is eaten in Dubai?

The Emirati cuisine includes rice meat, and fish as a staple food. Among this, lamb and mutton are flavored meats, instead of goat and beef.

Is Dubai food Cheap?

Dubai offers both cheap and expensive cuisines. It significantly depends on your choice of restaurants; you can easily find cheap meals in Dubai.

Which is the traditional food of Dubai?

Madrouba is a traditional food and you must try while you are holidaying there.

What is a typical breakfast in Dubai?

A typical breakfast in Dubai is baith that, it’s a delicious combination of scrambled eggs with tomatoes, herbs and saffron. Other options include ballet, chebab, chamber which is served with a side of date syrup.

Which is the best food to try during Ramadan?

Oozie is one of the famous dishes to try in Dubai especially during the month of Ramadan.

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