In all honesty, people travel for the food. There’s nothing like sitting down to a delicious, traditional meal and taking in the culture. Plus, the price is pretty astounding too. The UAE has culture running throughout the heart of the country, but the Emirati people aren’t well represented. As a percentage, only 11% of the population were born in the United Arab Emirates. As a result, finding local cuisine can be tricky, especially when McDonald’s and Nando’s are around the corner.
Fear not, though, because this post is here to help. These are the four hacks to finding true Emirati delicacies.
Eat At A Five-Star Joint
Okay, these types of eateries are high end and very expensive, but that means the service is second to none. Therefore, you can order pretty much whatever you like and they will bring it to the table. Well, maybe not anything, but the traditional-style dishes that are on the menu. When in doubt, you can ask the server for help and advice and they will only be too happy to help. And, because new restaurants in Dubai deal in luxury, their opinions should be perfect. Look out for khuzi, a feast of goat, lamb and rice.
Stop Off By The Side Of The Road
In Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the restaurants are reserved for the cuisines of the world. It isn’t unusual to find French, Italian and American-style dishes on the menu, for example. Shops by the side of the road are different because they cater for the masses. Rather than rustle up a pizza, they focus on the ingredients their parents and grandparents used to cook. The result is a plethora of dishes such as thareed, a sturdy, stew-like soup. If you’re lucky enough to be there during Ramadan, you’ll see it everywhere.
Go To The Supermarket
If you prefer, you can buy the ingredients and try and replicate a meal of your choosing. However, there’s no need when the supermarkets have counters that serve hot food at a very affordable price. Biryani and stuffed camel can both be found, and the latter isn’t as disgusting as it sounds. By far the biggest diamond in the rough is shawarma. Also known as the Arabian doner kebab, it’s small pieces of succulent meat wrapped in pita bread. With salad and yoghurt and mint sauce, there is nothing tastier in the whole of the country. It’s a big shout, but that’s the appeal of shawarma.
Understand What’s On Offer
You can go to a supermarket or a souq and marvel at the range, but it doesn’t matter if you don’t know what to buy. So, it’s best to do some research before arriving in a busy marketplace and holding up the line. All it takes is a quick Google search. Just bookmark the page and then repeat the word or phrase when you get to the front of the line. Alternatively, you can take a punt and hope for the best.
Have you been to the UAE? What did you think of Emirati cuisine?