By Hisham Aljamil
Dubai is known as the “City of Gold” and one of the high-ranking global cities to date. But more than that, this city is also on the right track to earning another distinction: a popular culinary destination.
At present, locals have no reason to complain and are in fact proud of the number of choices and quality of food offered by the various dining establishments here – something that they would like people from all over the world to try and experience as well.
Dubai: A Foodie’s Mecca
Dubai is known for its numerous amazing tourist spots and landmarks that draw thousands of holidaymakers every year. Its food scene also manages to pull in a large number of foodies annually due to the following reasons:
1. It is home to thousands of restaurants
Local online and print newspaper The National reported in 2016 that Dubai had more than 16,000 dining establishments. This number has undoubtedly increased since numerous restaurants and eateries continue to open in this emirate nearly every week.
These dining establishments consist of international and locally owned restaurants, fast-food chains, cafeterias, hole-in-the-wall joints, food trucks, and coffee shops – you name it, Dubai has it. Whatever kind of dining experience you’re looking for, you will certainly be able to find and try it in Dubai.
2. You’ll get to sample different types of cuisines here
Since Dubai is home to thousands of dining establishments, you won’t have a hard time satisfying a craving for any kind of cuisine. You can have a scrumptious traditional English breakfast complete with a lovely cup of tea first thing in the morning or for brunch. If you want something really filling for lunch, you can head out to one of the local Italian, Chinese, or Indian restaurants here. To end the day right, enjoy a delightful dinner at a Japanese or French restaurant with a cup of sake or glass of your favorite red or white to cap off the night.
Aside from the usual popular cuisines, you will also find restaurants and eateries serving authentic Caribbean, Ethiopian, Filipino, Greek, Korean, Lebanese, Mediterranean, Moroccan, Mexican, Thai, Turkish, Spanish, Vietnamese, and of course, American fare.
Dubai is known for its Emirati and Arabic cuisine as well. If you want to immerse yourself in the local food culture, check out the different restaurants and eateries serving these dishes. In case you’ve always wanted to know what camel tastes like, you’ll have the chance to do so since camel meat is served in various ways or used in different types of dishes in different local Emirati and Arabic restaurants here.
3. It is home to restaurants owned by renowned Michelin-starred and celebrity chefs
Several Michelin-starred and celebrity chefs and popular restaurateurs have opened their establishments here. These include:
- Social by Heinz Beck. Chef Beck was awarded 3 Michelin stars for his restaurant in Rome, La Pergola.
- Reflets par Pierre Gagnaire. This restaurant is owned by the prominent French chef, Pierre Gagnaire, also a 3-star Michelin awardee.
- Rhodes W1. This quintessential British restaurant is owned by multi-awarded and world-famous chef Gary Rhodes.
- Dubai is home to one of the most famous Japanese restaurants in the world – Nobu. This restaurant is owned by famed Japanese celebrity chef and restaurateur Nobuyuki “Nobu” Matsuhisa.
- Indego by Vineet. Vineet Bhatia is a 2-Michelin star recipient and has a fine dining Indian restaurant located at the Grosvenor House hotel in the Dubai Marina.
- Clé Dubai. Michelin star awardee Greg Malouf offers diners a contemporary take on Middle Eastern cuisine.
If you’ve always wanted to experience fine dining at its best, you won’t have to go far since Dubai has a number of the best and most renowned restaurants in the world.
4. Different prestigious food and beverage events take place here
Every year, the biggest food festival in the Middle East takes place in Dubai – the Dubai Food Festival. This event takes place during the first quarter of the year. This year’s festival boasts of the following fun and amazing events:
- Etisalat Beach Canteen
- Miele Dubai Restaurant Week
- Taste of Dubai
- Eat the World DXB
Other food and beverage events that foodies, business owners, and professionals can look forward to this year include:
- Yummex Middle East
- The Specialty Food Festival
- GCC Food Suppliers and Manufacturers Summi
- Global Food Processing and Technology Summit
- Middle East Natural & Organic Products Expo (MENOPE)
- Dubai Winter Festival
5. Local dining establishments only use the best and freshest ingredients
Lastly, local dining establishments use only the highest quality and freshest local ingredients. They also have no qualms about sourcing ingredients from other countries to ensure that the dishes they serve stay authentic, remain true to their known taste, and satisfy all diners. Many restaurants and other dining establishments work closely with food distributors in UAE to make sure that they get only the best products which they can use for all the dishes they serve.
With everything that Dubai has to offer in terms of food and dining experiences, the city should be on top of the bucket list of any serious foodie.
AUTHOR BIOHisham Aljamil
Managing Director, Bidfood Middle East
Hisham’s corporate career started in the UAE in late 1988; he worked for firms such as R.J. Reynolds, Danone Group, and Richemont Group across several countries in the GCC. He climbed up the ladder in roles and responsibilities to manage regions and businesses in the Middle East. In 2003, after 15 years of business experience, he took a leap of faith towards starting up something on his own. At almost 10 years in, the business has grown to cover 3 major markets with a turnover exceeding US$60 million. Hisham’s vision is to continue his regional expansion to the rest of the Middle East markets.
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