By Jenna Jolie
Seven emirates, one destination: the United Arab Emirates is a must-visit country for not only diverse landscapes but also the culinary delights satisfying even the most discerning travelers. However, with all this variety, it is hard to find out which are the most tasty Emirati dishes. Don't be too worried, as this post will share some of the most favorite UAE cuisine and the best dining spots for traditional Emirati food in Dubai. Let your senses be enveloped by exquisite dishes that merge international influences with local ingredients, and enjoy the most satisfying experiences for your taste buds.
A Must-try List of The Best Emirati Foods in Dubai: Traditional Emirati Cuisine Worth Tasting
Shawarma, a popular Middle Eastern delicacy, is among the best UAE cuisine. This mouthwatering dish is made with thinly sliced marinated meat, commonly chicken or lamb, which is meticulously stacked on a vertical spit and slowly roasted to perfection. The result is succulent and flavorful meat wrapped in warm, pillowy flatbread. The tender meat is accompanied by fresh vegetables, crisp onions, and a medley of tantalizing sauces, including the ever-popular garlic sauce and creamy tahini. While shawarma may be available at various Middle Eastern food outlets worldwide, the authentic experience of savoring shawarma in the bustling streets of the UAE is unparalleled.
Shawarma is one of the best UAE cuisine
2. Al Harees
Al Harees is a traditional Emirati food, typically served during joyous occasions like weddings and religious festivals, including the sacred month of Ramadan. Although it takes several hours to prepare, the result is a culinary masterpiece worth every moment invested.
This delightful dish is made with wheat, meat, water, and salt mixed in a pot. The wheat is diligently boiled for hours until it reaches a tender and soft consistency. Following this, the meat is introduced, and the concoction is allowed to simmer for an additional four hours or so. The outcome is a delectable porridge-like dish that has been savored and cherished by generations of Emiratis.
When served, Al Harees is often adorned with a delightful array of garnishes, including sugar, cinnamon, ghee, pistachios, and raisins. Besides its satisfying taste, Al Harees is also nutritious, making it an ideal choice during the fasting month of Ramadan. Its gentle and easily digestible nature ensures that it provides sustenance while being gentle on the stomach.
A favorite Emirati dessert, one treat that simply cannot be missed during your travels to Dubai, is Luqaimat. These delectable sweet dumplings are crafted with a combination of butter, milk, sugar, flour, yeast, cardamom, and saffron, having a unique texture that is simultaneously crunchy on the outside and delightfully soft on the inside. The batter, formed by whipping these ingredients to achieve a smooth consistency, is then deep-fried to perfection, resulting in a beautiful golden hue.
What makes Luqaimat truly exceptional is the finishing touch. These little delights are often glazed or drizzled with date molasses, imparting a rich and irresistible sweetness. To enhance their texture, they are adorned with a sprinkle of sesame seeds, adding a delightful crunch. The combination of salty and sweet flavors makes them the perfect conclusion to a traditional Emirati feast.
Luqaimat is a favorite Emirati dessert
Balaleet is typically served for breakfast meals in Dubai, cherished for its unique blend of sweet and salty flavors. This traditional Emirati food is called بلاليط in Arabic, captivating the taste buds with its delightful combination of vermicelli infused with rose water, cinnamon, and saffron, all harmoniously layered with a delicate thin egg omelet on top. Balaleet holds a special place as a cherished breakfast choice, often elevated with a sprinkle of pistachios for an added touch of decadence.
5. Al Machboos
A food tour in Dubai is incomplete without trying Al Machboos. This tantalizing delicacy combines red meat, fish, or shrimp with fragrant rice to create a harmony of flavors. One key ingredient that sets Al Machboos apart is the Loomy (or dried lemon), which infuses the dish with its unique tanginess.
The cooking process is simple and involves a few essential steps. Typically, lamb is marinated in a delightful blend of spices such as garlic, cumin, cloves, bzar (Emirati spice blend), and chili powder. The meat is then cooked tenderly before being braised in water or stock with onions, garlic, turmeric powder, coriander powder, dried lime, and chopped tomatoes. The rice is added to the pot, absorbing the rich flavors as it cooks to perfection. Finally, the meat, onions, spices, and other ingredients combine to complete this mouthwatering dish.
To enhance the dining experience, we recommend pairing Al Machboos with some refreshing raita and a side salad, creating a truly delightful and satisfying meal that showcases the culinary wonders of Dubai.
Despite its origin in Lebanon, Manakish is popular across Emirati and Arabic restaurants, favored by locals and visitors for its irresistible flavors. The flatbread is topped with various flavorful ingredients, making it a versatile and customizable dish. Manakish can also be enjoyed with toppings such as cheese, minced meat, vegetables, or a combination of these ingredients. The dough is baked to perfection, resulting in a fluffy base that complements the rich and flavorful toppings. Whether enjoyed as a quick breakfast or a satisfying lunch, Manakish has become a must-try dish in Dubai.
Manakish is a popular Emirati dish
The Most Well-known Emirati Restaurants in Dubai
From authentic, local establishments cherished by residents and citizens to contemporary restaurants reimagining Emirati gastronomy, Dubai is a lovely destination where tourists can find several dining options. We will offer you a list of the best Emirati restaurants serving famous Emirati foods in Dubai so that you will choose the most suitable one for your culinary palate.
1. Al Arish restaurant
Al Arish, tucked away in the Al Dhafra Tourist Village near Al Mina Fish Market, is one of the UAE's pioneering restaurants offering authentic Emirati cuisine. This restaurant serves a delightful selection of salads, appetizers, and beloved traditional regional delicacies.
Address: F8CX+57Q - Street # 8 - Al Khalidiyah - W9 - Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates
2. Al Fanar Restaurant & Cafe
Step into Al Fanar Restaurant and find yourself transported to the enchanting ambiance of 1960s Emirati culture, where authentic flavors of Emirati cuisine are available for tasting. Bridging the gap between tradition and modernity, Al Fanar Restaurant takes pride in introducing Emirati culinary delights to both local and international markets. In addition to one of the best restaurants serving the best-tasting Balaleet, Al Fanar is a captivating mini-museum where customers can learn more about Emirati culture.
Address: Ground Floor, Dubai Festival City Mall, Near P.F.Chang's, Canal Walk - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
3. Siraj restaurant
Siraj Restaurant welcomes guests with its stylish and contemporary aesthetic, beautifully complemented by numerous nods to Arabic culture. The restaurant's comfortable terrace offers an ideal setting to soak in the mesmerizing nightly fountain show while indulging in a culinary journey. The menu at Siraj showcases a diverse range of dishes, mostly Emirati and Levantine cuisines.
Address: Souk Al Bahar, Dubai
4. Al Khayma Heritage restaurant
Al Khayma Heritage Restaurant is a top place where food lovers can experience authenticity showcasing Arabian hospitality and generosity. This renowned restaurant creates a culinary journey enriched with regional delicacies, aromatic herbs, and spices, blending them with Dubai's cultural richness. Guests are catered to several traditional Emirati cuisine, creating an immersive dining experience that celebrates the essence of the Arabian lifestyle.
Address: Historical Neighbourhood - 79 Al Mussallah Rd - Al Fahidi - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
Relax your mind by enjoying a trip to the UAE, where the breathtaking landscapes promise to etch everlasting memories in your mind. Take your time to indulge in the exquisite flavors of UAE cuisine, savoring each bite as it leaves an indelible mark on your taste buds. Apply for a UAE visa online now and get ready to embrace the most fun-thrilled experiences on your UAE journey!