Food in Dubai mainly contains traditional Arabic food and some items from India sub-continent. Tourists to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) visiting Dubai for the first time will find many varieties of food in that beautiful emirate. Most of the popular Dubai foods you may have read or heard about are traditional Arabic foods that are also available in other places in the Middle East.
To enjoy as much of the different Dubai foods as you can, it is recommended that you observe the “mezze” when dining. Mezze is that type of dining popular in most cultures in the Middle East, in which the diner tries out several small amounts of different dishes during each course.
Some of the favorite Dubai foods include falafel, hommus, ghuzi, matchbous, the very popular shawarma, and, of course, the equally popular roti.
For those who have not tasted any of these yet, here’s a brief description of each:
This is the Arabic version of French fry. It is prepared by mixing chickpeas and several different spices. It is then deep-fried and made into a cutlet. It is usually served as a side dish.
This is made from chickpeas, which are cooked, mashed, and then mixed with olive oil, tahini (paste made from sesame seeds), lemon juice, garlic, and salt. It is served as a spread or dip.
This dish is popularly served in many restaurants in Dubai. It is made of a whole roast lamb served on top of rice mixed with vegetables and nuts. Frequent visitors to Dubai say that a trip there wouldn’t be complete without having tasted this delicious preparation.
This is another very popular Dubai food. It is composed of spiced lamb, tomato stew, and rice. The dish is especially a favorite when served with loomi, a spice made from ripe limes boiled in salt water and dried.
This is probably the most popular food in Dubai. It is made of either lamb or chicken, thoroughly cooked and mixed with fries, tomatoes, pickle, and garlic sauce. The mixed ingredients are then wrapped in a small roti (Arabic bread) and served. Preparation of shawarma may vary from one restaurant to another; hence, its taste too.
While you’re at it, you may want to try any of the special fruit juices prepared in most shawarma stores. One of the favorites is the strawberry-banana blend.
This is a special type of Arabic bread that is a part of most, if not all, of Dubai foods. Roti, which is much like a tortilla in appearance, is traditionally made with plain flour and baked in clay ovens. It usually goes well with matchbous or ghuzi, but is especially tasty with Indian curries.
Three other popular Dubai foods are wara enab (rice-filled vine leaves), tabbouleh (crushed wheat mixed with minced mint and parsley), and haries (lamb cooked very slowly and made tender, and served with wheat).
Of course, dining in Dubai, as in anywhere else, should conclude with a dessert. Some of the favorites are esh asaraya (cream-topped cheesecake), umm ali (bread pudding), and mehalabiya (a pudding sprinkled with bits of pistachios).
Good Restaurants in Dubai
Visit our blog post about top 7 restaurants in Dubai for details of good Dubai restaurants.