Getting a Piece of Dubai Every Time You Dine
There are certainly hundreds of restaurants in Dubai that will fulfill whatever you’re craving for. But there aren’t that many that will allow you to get to know more about the city and its rich culture. These are the ones that serve traditional Emirati dishes – the ones steeped in local history and flavors.
Traditional Emirati dishes are rich in meat, rice, spices, and seafood. The original settlers made use of meat from local animals such as goats and camels, and fish from the Arabian Sea. These dishes are also heavily spiced with turmeric, saffron, cardamom, cinnamon, salt and pepper which the locals got from travelers.
Although other types of produce and other ingredients have been added to the most popular Emirati dishes, their preparation and flavors still exhibit the land’s bountiful heritage and culture.
If you want to learn more about and experience Dubai through a culinary journey, here are the five Emirati dishes you should try:
Begin your gastronomic journey in authentic Emirati cuisine in Dubai by feasting on khuzi – the UAE’s national dish. Also known as ghuzi, this dish consists of a whole-roasted lamb or mutton served on top of a bed of spiced rice, vegetables, and nuts. In restaurants, it is often served on kebab skewers with vegetables and hazelnuts over rice. It is one of the most popular dishes in Dubai since it is a complete meal in itself.
Coya Dubai and Bu Qtair Fish Restaurant serve authentic khuzi which you simply must try.
This slow-cooked stew is usually made of chicken, lamb or goat and roasted vegetables. Thereed can also be cooked as vegetarian fare as well. The stew is flavored with ginger, garlic, dried lime, and saffron. When served, the stew will be poured on top of a rigag – a thin Emirati flatbread.
A bowl of thereed will instantly allow you to experience the rich tradition of Dubai. Seven Sands is one of the best restaurants in Dubai that serve this tasty dish and other traditional Emirati foods.
Several restaurants on Sheikh Zayed Road are also known for this delectable Emirati dish.
This one-pot dish is a tasty and aromatic combination of rice, meat, onions, spices (such as cloves, cardamom, saffron, cinnamon, nutmeg, and bay leaves), and loomi – a type of dried lemon.
Machboos is prepared by boiling the meat together with the spices and loomi. Once all the ingredients are tender, they are taken out and rice will be added. When the rice is cooked, the meat will be placed back into the pot and the whole thing will be cooked for several more minutes.
If you want to taste authentic Machboos, you won’t go wrong with ordering the dish at Barjeeel Al Arab.
4. Al Harees
Just like with other traditional Emirati dishes, Harees is a one-pot, slow cooked dish. It is popular in the UAE and across the Gulf area, particularly during Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr, and other special occasions such as weddings.
This porridge consists of wheat and a meat of choice, usually lamb, veal, mutton, or chicken. The dish is slowly cooked and seasoned with cinnamon, pepper, and salt.
To savor authentic Harees anytime of the year, visit Al Fafnar Restaurant & Café and Khaneen Restaurant.
This deep-fried dumpling is highly popular during the month of Ramadan and after Iftar. This treat, which is often served as a dessert, is also a staple during special occasions. Luqaimats are crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. When served, they are soaked in honey or a sweet, sticky date syrup known as dibbs.
You can savor these tasty treats at the Arabian Tea House Restaurant and Café and Milas.
You don’t have to travel far to experience firsthand, the rich heritage and culture of Dubai. A visit to a nearby restaurant will be enough and, sometimes, can provide even more.