Food Culture in Dubai

Dubai's food culture is a reflection of its history, diversity, and ambition. It features the traditional cuisine of the UAE, which is influenced by various Arab and Asian countries, as well as the dietary taboos of Islam. In this article, we will explore some of the highlights of Dubai's food culture and some local specialties you should try when you visit Dubai.


Main Features: UAE, Arab, Islam

Dubai's food culture is influenced by its geographical location and religious beliefs. Dubai is located in the Gulf region, where the climate is hot and the food choices are limited. Dubai people are Muslims, and they are forbidden to eat pork and drink alcohol. Therefore, Dubai people's diet is mainly based on rice, bread, lamb and chicken, and they eat fruits and nuts as snacks.


Arabs love coffee and tea

On the streets of each city, there are coffee stalls everywhere. A cup of coffee with a few pastries is a cheap lunch. The expensive dishes include fried pigeon, baked fish, roasted whole lamb, etc. Roasted whole lamb is to remove the head and feet of a fat lamb, scoop out the viscera, stuff it with rice, raisins, almonds, olives, pine nuts and other dried fruits and seasonings, and then roast it on a big fire. Its characteristic is that it is tender and fragrant, and has a delicious taste. Arabs are skilled at grabbing rice with their hands. They are not afraid of scalding, and they can quickly tear off a small piece of meat or vegetable with their fingers and put it in their mouth without touching their mouth.


Influence of history and cultural traditions

Dubai's food culture is also influenced by its history and cultural traditions. Dubai is a multicultural city, where various cultures and traditions blend together. Arab traditional dishes such as leek soup, lamb stew and barbecue are the favorites of the locals, while Indian and Pakistani dishes are also very popular, such as curry, naan bread and lentil stew. In addition, with the economic development of Dubai, international food culture has gradually emerged here. Various Western fast foods such as burgers, fries and pizza have become the favorites of young people.




Preference for sweets and black tea

Sweets are pastries, collectively called "halwa". Halwa is often sweet and greasy, covered with layers of sugar, honey poured on the sugar, and another layer of sugar on the honey. It is sweet and delicious, and also a traditional dish during Ramadan. Arabs have a special liking for black tea. They put half a cup or even more than half a cup of white sugar in each cup of black tea, and add a few fresh mint leaves to make it refreshing and fragrant. There are many fat people in Arab countries, which seems to have something to do with eating too much sugar.


Local specialties

Dubai catering belongs to Arab style. Arab cuisine has similarities with Western cuisine. It includes appetizers, soups, salads, barbecues and desserts. It is mainly based on roasted beef and lamb, chicken, etc., with various methods; the form is mostly everyone sitting together, lively atmosphere. In addition, Arab desserts are also recommended. They are made from fruits and vegetables with meat, accompanied by local sauces. They are sweet and delicious; salads are usually made from fruits and vegetables with yogurt, olive oil and salt. They are delicious and appetizing. As for staple food, you can't miss the fragrant Arabic bread. The bread is sprinkled with sesame seeds and baked until crispy. It has a very pure flour aroma. Here are some local specialties in Dubai.


Coconut dates: If you are a sweet lover, coconut dates are a must-try delicacy in Dubai. Dubai people like to fill coconut dates with crispy nuts. Take a bite and you will taste the sticky sweetness of coconut dates first, then the crunchy texture of nuts. The taste is complex but memorable.



Gahwa: In Arabic language, Arabic coffee is pronounced as "Gahwa". Its production method and taste are also very characteristic of the local area. Usually the host will invite guests to sit in the living room (Majlis), heat the coffee with a beautiful Arabic coffee pot Dallah (Dallah), and then pour it into a handleless cup called finjaan (finjaan). When making coffee, Dubai people will also add cardamom, fennel seeds, cloves, saffron and other spices to give the coffee a local flavor.

Lgeimat: A kind of Arabic dessert similar to fried dough balls, served with local favorite spices saffron and cardamom syrup. The texture is crispy outside and soft inside. It is sweet and delicious. It is also a traditional dish during Ramadan. The secret to adding color to the dish lies partly in the production of syrup. In addition to the requirements in the traditional recipe, more local ingredients should be added to make it unique.



Hummus: Hummus is very easy to make. It is made by boiling chickpeas until soft and mashing them with tahini sauce (sesame paste), olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and salt. It is usually served as an appetizer with pita bread or fresh vegetables for dipping.

Machboos: Machboos is a unique staple food in the Arab region. The rice is a kind of Indian fragrant rice called Basmti. The rice grains are long and are mixed with meat, saffron, nutmeg and other spices. When served, you can smell the aroma of rice, meat and strong spices, which makes you irresistible.




Karak tea: In addition to Arabic coffee, this karak tea is probably the most popular drink among the locals. Its English name is Karak Chai, which is a kind of Indian-style milk tea mixed with spices. It originated in the Indian subcontinent and can also be said to be a product of the long-term trade and cultural exchange between the Arab region and India.