Dubai for Foodies: 10 Best Things to Try

Dubai is on the fast track towards gaining the recognition of being a foodie’s paradise. With thousands of restaurants and numerous cuisines to choose from, your craving for something savory or sweet (and everything in between) will be easily satisfied.

You don’t even have to wait in line at a popular restaurant or café to eat your fill; there are many restaurants that will deliver excellent meals and food products right to your doorstep.

But which dishes and fares should you put on your list of must-try foods in Dubai if you’re here on a gastronomic journey? Here is a list, from a leading food service company in the UAE, of the top 10 you should sample:

1.   Ghuzi

 Ghuzi, or khuzi, is the UAE’s national dish. It is made of roasted lamb or mutton served on top of a bed of rice with spices. A variety of vegetables and nuts are also added to the dish. In restaurants, the roasted meat is served on kebab skewers, with the other garnishes on top of the rice.

Ghuzi is a complete meal in itself. It is a good dish to start with if you’re a foodie on a quest to know more about the hearty, traditional side of Dubai’s food scene.

2.   Al Harees

Another must-try traditional Emirati dish, al harees is a slow-cooked one-pot dish that consists of boiled wheat with salt. Once the wheat gains a smooth, porridge-like texture, tender, tasty chunks of lamb, mutton, chicken, or veal are added and the dish is baked for another several hours. A variety of spices are also added to boost the flavor of the dish.

Al harees is another delightful, tasty, and filling offering that will help you learn more about traditional Emirati cuisine and culture.

3.   Shawarma

Shawarma is another Arabic dish that many restaurants and eateries in Dubai have perfected. If you’re hankering for this meaty wrap, you can select chicken, beef, or lamb for the main protein. Slices of pickles and tomatoes and a drizzle of garlic sauce are added for texture and flavor.

There are now some restaurants in Dubai that serve shawarma with a special fruit shake — a great deal if you’re a foodie on a budget.

4.   Mutton Achari Handi

Aside from Emirati and Arabic dishes, you won’t be disappointed by the different cuisines you can enjoy in Dubai – something that you certainly look forward to as a foodie. Start by trying a popular Pakistani dish: mutton achari handi.

This dish consists of mutton cooked with fresh green chilis and a variety of spices. What you’ll get is a bowl or plate of tender mutton with a tangy, pickled aftertaste. This is one of the most popular dishes to try in Dubai today.

5.   Bihari kebabs

Indian is the most popular cuisine in Dubai today. Bihari kebab is one of the dishes that has helped propelled this cuisine’s popularity.

These kebabs have their roots in the Indian state of Bihar. The skewered pieces of meat are infused with exotic spices, yoghurt and tenderized papaya. They melt in your mouth and make you want to order more.

6.   Koshari

If you haven’t tried any Egyptian foods before, you’re in luck. You will find one of the most popular Egyptian dishes in the world in Dubai, and it’s called koshari.

Koshari is a dish made of baked noodles or rice and drizzled with traditional Egyptian condiments, lentils, chickpeas, fried onions, and vinegar. This Egyptian comfort food is often served with feteer, a traditional Egyptian pie made from flour and sugar and topped with a variety of garnishes.

7.   Manousheh

If you’re craving for a slice of pizza with a twist, you definitely have to try manousheh. Commonly served as a breakfast dish, this Lebanese savory pastry is made from stretched dough and stuffed with flavorful toppings such as zaatar herbs, olive oil and Akkawi cheese. It is a dish you must simply enjoy for breakfast.

8.   Cheong Fun

Cheong fun is a type Chinese dimsum. Shrimp, duck, Chinese barbecued pork, and other types of meat are tightly wrapped inside rice flour wrappers and made into rolls. They are then steamed or deep-fried. These tasty bites are quite addictive and are a must-try for any foodie.

9.   Luqaimat

Once you’re ready for dessert, start with some luqaimats. These deep-fried dumplings are drizzled with date molasses, making them salty and sweet at the same time. Luqaimats are considered by many as the “official sweet of the Emirates.”

10.   Baklava

As a foodie, you may already know your way around baklavas. But you’re certainly in for a treat if you try these sweet pastries in Dubai.

This special dessert, which is made of layers of filo dough,  filled with chopped and sweetened nuts, and drizzled with sugar syrup or honey. It is a favorite in Dubai. Just make sure you choose a bakery known for their best-tasting baklavas.

Dubai has so many delectable things to offer to serious foodies. If you haven’t been to this city yet, then it’s high time you do. There are many great places to throw a party in Dubai. And a culinary journey to Dubai is one of the best experiences you will have in your lifetime.

 

AUTHOR BIO

Jad Asaad is the Marketing Manager at Horeca Trade LLC with more than eight years of experience in digital, online and offline marketing. He started his career in Beirut working in a creative agency and then moved to Dubai to further expand his career. He created and implemented award-winning high-impact digital and offline marketing campaigns that consistently generated revenue streams and improved performance in targeted segments.

 

Dubai – New & Old

**This post was “Freshly Pressed” on WordPress.com on August 9th, 2012. Thank you WordPress for including me among the great bloggers at Freshly Pressed ! Please give me your comments below and thank you for reading!”**

I’ve been told that I have “horseshoes up my a*%”. I have had the uncanny ability to win more than a few door prizes and other draws over the years (more so than my unlucky friends). I haven’t won the lottery but I have won a couple of trips. My best trip win to date – Dubai. 2 Business Class tickets on Emirates Airlines to Dubai from Toronto. And 3 nights at the Burj Al Arab Hotel (including buffet breakfast). The trip is a grand prize draw at an evening hosted by Jumeirah Hotels. I have 2 ladies offer to be my travelling companion before I have left the building (never mind that my wife was with me – she cast evil eyes in their direction).

The flight from Toronto is long- 14 hours. With the late evening flight, and comfort of Emirates Business Class flat seats, we both manage to rest and sleep very well. But when we arrive in Dubai, it’s night time- again.

The 6 Star Burj Al Arab

We arrive at the Burj Al Arab and are awe struck by this iconic Dubai hotel. The lobby hotel person escorts us to our floor where our butler checks us in. He has great news- we’ve been upgraded to a 2 bedroom 3,600 sq. ft. suite. The butler takes us on a tour of our bi-level “room” . The butler is there to make drinks, draw a bath in your jacuzzi, clean your room every time you leave, press the elevator button for you, etc. A short time after we are settled in the lap of luxury, we both feel exhausted. Jet lag knocks us out and we sleep for 12 hours (and miss our $200 USD breakfast). In the following days, we enjoy the Burj and explore the “new” Dubai. The Burj Kalifa (the world’s tallest building), the Mall of the Emirates (with the indoor ski hill), and a desert safari.

After you have seen “new” Dubai, you need to get over to the Dubai Creek area and see “old” Dubai- simple local restaurants, markets, and local people. My wife, the travel agent of the family, had suggested that we stay another 3 days. Dubai is a long way to go for 3 days.

Old Dubai

We transfer over to the Holiday Inn Dubai Creek. Normal accommodations. We embark on a city tour to see the area. Later, walk through the souks, look in a few shops and eat some local food. The original Dubai is Dubai Creek and the immediate area. Dubai dates back to 1799 when the area started as a trading hub and many years later became an important port. Oil was discovered in Dubai and Qatar in 1966 and then the oil industry took over. The “new” Dubai (construction, financial services, tourism, real estate) comes from the emirate’s desire to diversify the economy beyond oil (and the fact that oil will run out within the next 20 years). “Old” Dubai is authentic and rich in culture.

Conclusion

Still, Dubai and the Burj al Arab are both worthy of any travel bucket list. Do spend some time in both the “old” and “new” Dubai. Dubai is like 2 destinations in one. Dubai is different. Definitely worth the trip and out of the ordinary.