The cuisine of Dubai is as vibrant and cosmopolitan as its culture, population and economy. The cuisine of Dubai is similar to the cuisine in the rest of the emirate states to a great extent. So before moving to the cuisine of Dubai, this is a much needed introduction to the surrounding that affects the cuisine prevalent in the emirates as a whole and Dubai individually. Dubai is a place which is thronged by thousands of visitors everyday and as distinct and yet so impressive a place Dubai is, its emirati cuisine matches the same. However rapid the rate of development and however drastic the changes in its infrastructural growth be, the cuisine of Dubai still strongly binds its tradition and originality that it has discovered and inculcated over the years.
The cuisine of UAE as a whole covers the clever combination of the most exotic spices from all over the world and more specifically a touch of Arabic and Asian culture to its cooking. Located in the Middle East one can perfectly blend the food habits of the Gulf and the Arabian countries in its cuisine. You can find everything from pizzas to sushis, from burgers to chapattis and from milk to wine all at one place. Emirati cuisine that covers the entire UAE is a blend of many Middle Eastern and Asian countries.
Levantine food that is a recent addition to the emirati menu does not perfectly justify the traditional food of UAE, which includes a lot of meat grain and dairy due to its harsh weather conditions over the year. Vegetables form an important part of the diet and it is easily grown in abundance but in selected places only and transported to the rest.
Meat mostly preferred is chicken, lamb, goat and beef. Though camel too is a part of the list but the high utility of camel for transportation in desert places and it’s much valued milk, keep eating of camels exclusive for big festivals only. Traditional dishes include Ma’louba, Margooga, Harees, Machbous, Frsee’ah, Fireed, Jisheid, and Mishwy. The dishes usually in the emirates is cooked in a single cauldron or pot and mostly the food is stewy.
The flavors of cardamom, saffron, turmeric and thyme add the true essence and identity to an emirati cuisine. Though rice is not much of a favorite an emirati cuisine yet it finds its existence in their diet since the influx of traders into the region long back. If you are in an emirate state your breakfast would comprise mostly of breads like raqaq, khameer, and chebab, served with cheese eggs or date syrup. These foods were first introduced by the Bedouins in the country.
If you are a sweet lover emirati dessert would be your heaven’s ride with different varieties of sweet like – the luqeymat, a deep fried ball of pancake batter that is rolled in sesame seeds and then drizzled with date syrup, the khabeesa, which is flour bread crumbs blended with sugar, cardamom, and saffron or bethitha, a semolina blended with crushed dates, cardamom, and clarified butter. Occasionally when you are at the closure of a meal in Arab you would be offered red tea which is brilliantly infused with mint to help better digestion of food. Also in UAE there is a tradition of offering Arabic coffee to the guests at arrival.
UAE though being a Muslim country has many hotels serving pork, which stresses the cosmopolitan nature of its cuisine. Also alcohol which Islam strictly forbids, is being served in most of the big hotels and restaurants. The only restriction to this liberty is the strict prohibition of drinking in public and also during religious holidays. Sea food is the mainstay of emirati cuisine. The emirati cuisine reflects the rich cultural heritage of the place and its exposure to various civilizations over time. Meat, rice and fish are the staple food of the country and though beef and goat form a part of their diet but mutton and lamb are the most loved ones.
The cuisine of the emirate county is truly an amalgamation of various cultures that have blended into it with time and history. The locals of the country greatly welcome the ensemble of unique and vivid delicacies in its cuisine. The food of this place is surely to excite the taste buds of each one of us. All I long for now after this blog is a plate full of emirati food for my palate.