The Emirati Cuisine in Dubai is a True Culinary Heaven Everyone Should Try

We all know that Dubai is a melting pot of the world. People from all kinds of backgrounds come for a visit and even stay to live there. That’s why the city offers plenty of international cuisines, from Pakistani to Iranian, Italian, Malaysian and Indian. But have you heard about Emirati cuisine? It’s the traditional cuisine of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which has similarities with neighboring countries’ cuisine such as food from Saudi Arabia, Asia and Middle Eastern countries.

Here is the list of famous Emirati dishes you should try in Dubai:

1. Manakish

When you’re having breakfast with the Emiratis, manakish must be there to satisfy your tummy! It’s also popular as a heavy snack. Although manakish is popular across the Levant, especially Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine, the one from UAE taste slightly different! Try the sweet one with honey and Kraft cheese, and the savory one with za’atar (dried thyme and oregano) with olive oil and olive spread onto the dough. Both of them taste amazing!

2. Karak Tea

Photographed by Adin Lubis @adinlubiss

To complete your breakfast or snack-time, have a glass of Karak tea! Karak tea is the unofficial national drink of the UAE. Although it’s originally from Indian and Pakistani households, and well-known as “masala chai”, everyone in Dubai loves this strong sweet tea. Karak tea is made with black tea, evaporated milk and spices, such as saffron and cardamom, which are boiled together and then simmered over very low heat to intensify the flavor.

3. Luqaimat

Photographed by Adin Lubis @adinlubiss

Are you looking for a lighter snack? Then luqaimat is the answer! It’s a traditional Emirati dessert that is usually enjoyed for iftar in the month of Ramadan. However, you can still find luqaimat throughout the whole year in certain places in Dubai, especially at touristic places. These fried dumplings are served with sticky date syrup (dibbs), which gives a bit of sweetness to the plain dumplings. I’d say luqaimat is an absolute must-try food in Dubai!

4. Chebab

There are American pancakes, French crêpes, Dutch pannenkoeken, and there is Emirati chebab. Chebab is the Emiratis’ version of a pancake. It can be served with eggs, cheese or date syrup. The name chebab comes from the word “cheb” which means flipping over, as this pancake is flipped over while it’s cooking.

5. Mbahar Deyay

This is the signature dish of Emirati cuisine, mbahar deyay – chicken served in a spicy cream sauce, with saffron-infused rice, garnished with fried onions and cashews. It’s served with green and red chilli sauce on the side. Even though Emirati food is mostly prepared with camel or goat meat, chicken is an exception for mbahar deyay.

6. Camel Meat

Last but not least, camel meat! Most of the Emiratis cook authentic Emirati dishes at home, which is why there are few Emirati restaurants in the city of Dubai. One of the restaurants that serves sizzling camel meat and camel burgers, is Local House! It’s located in Bur Dubai’s Al Fahidi Historical District; Siraj, in the Souk Al Bahar. They serve a fancy plate of camel tenderloin and also hummus with sauteed camel meat in small chunks.

If you’re in Dubai, what are you waiting for? Start the new experience of having an Emirati culinary tour!

Written by Adin Lubis

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Adin is a master student of Journalism & Media in Europe at Vrije Universiteit Brussel. She loves travelling, share her thoughts on her Instagram @adinlubiss, and vlogging on YouTube.