schwarma

Guest post by travel blogger Rohit Agarwal of Transindiatravels.com

If you’re planning a trip to Dubai, you need to make sure that you have a good grasp on Emirati cuisine.

The food that you will find in the region will be unlike any food you’ve ever had, so you need to prepare yourself for an experience.

Dubai is not short of great eateries; however, you should make sure that you find a place that suits you.

To help, here is everything you need to know about food in Dubai.

Tip: Looking to eat your way through Dubai like a local? Opt for a local-led food tour like an Authentic Emirati Cultural Meal and Talk in Old Dubai or a Dubai Culture Tour: Deira Gold Souk and Bur Dubai Village.

Food In Dubai Is Inspired By Asian & Middle Eastern Dishes

There is not just one style of food in Dubai. Here you can get any style of food you desire. The main restaurants in the region take inspiration from Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine.

That means that you can try everything from Indian to North Korean food in the area. Make sure to research each restaurant before you book your table to find the best places.

Talk to the people in your hotel and see where they suggest. Dubai is a luxurious place, so everywhere you go will be high-class.

responsible tourism checklist

Camel Is A Popular Dish

Have you ever thought of eating a camel? Well, now you can. In Dubai, camel is a common and popular dish.

Many Emirati dishes include camel as one of their main ingredients. You can try stuffed camel, which is a famous dish in the area.

A chef stuffs a whole camel with herbs and spices and then roasts the meat for a meal that’s rich and tender.

The fact that there are so many camels in the area means the meat is cheap to buy — which also means if you want to save money on food, you should eat loads of camel on your vacation.

If You Don’t Like The Local Food, Opt For Takeout

If you visit Dubai, but don’t like spicy food, you may have a problem.

Many Asian and Middle Eastern dishes contain chilies and spice. Don’t worry, you will still find something to eat in the area.

Few people realize they can order takeout to their hotel rooms in Dubai.

That means that you can get pizza takeaway in Dubai with ease.

pizza
Photo via Daria Shevtsova/Pexels

Dubai Has Delicious Street Food

When walking around Dubai, consider trying the local street food.

As a rule, food in Dubai tends to be quite expensive.

The area is famous for its rich tastes and expensive lifestyle, and you’ll spend a small fortune if you eat in nice restaurants every single night.

Street food is an inexpensive and tasty option, and many people who live in the area eat street food every day.

The region is a hub for business.

That means that people are always busy.

Street food has become popular in the area because it is quick and easy to eat.

Who knew #Dubai was a such a #food focused destination? #travel Click To Tweet
food in dubai
Simit. Photo courtesy of berna namoglu via Shutterstock.

Make Sure To Haggle On The Price Of Your Food In Dubai

When you are buying street food or food from a local restaurant, it is okay to haggle over the price of your dish.

Many Westerners don’t like haggling, as they think it makes them look cheap.

My tip:

If you want to save money on food in Dubai, get comfortable with it. When somebody brings you the bill, you can question it.

Ask if you can get a discount or whether they will accept a little less than the asking price.

Make sure that you’re not too pushy, though, as this could come across as rude.

Why should you visit #Dubai? The #food! #yum Click To Tweet

Eating In Hotels Is Less Authentic

It’s a good idea to venture away from the hotel when traveling through Dubai.

Often hotel cuisine is different from the cuisine in the rest of the area.

The chefs at your hotel are likely used to cooking for Western tastes, meaning milder and less authentic cuisine.

Eating at your restaurant for a couple of nights is fine, but make sure that you try some local cuisine. There are many delicious Pakistani, Indian and Chinese restaurants in the city worth exploring.

schwarma
Photo via SOI/flickr

Shawarma Is Delicious & Cheap

If you want to have an authentic Emirati dish, you should try some Shawarma.

The meal is a type of spicy meat served in a wrap and is considered fast food in Dubai, so you must try it while you’re out and about.

If you’re not too keen on spicy food, you might find the dish a little too strong. Some extra mint sauce and salad will help to combat this.

responsible tourism checklist

If You Like Pork, You’re Out Of Luck

As Dubai is a Muslim region, you will not find any pork dishes in the major restaurants.

Instead, lamb, camel, beef, and chicken are popular options.

Just know that local chefs tend to use lots of heavy spices when they cook meat, so be prepared and adaptable.

Dubai Packing Essentials

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scarf shawl

Scarf Shawl 

This stylish garment is great for throwing on in chilly restaurants. It also doubles as a travel blanket AND works for picnics.
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dubai travel guide

Frommer’s Dubai and Abu Dhabi day by day

With its many unique customs and laws, Dubai is definitely a city you’ll want a guidebook for. We recommend Frommer’s.
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travel style

Stylish Travel Bag

Dubai is a modest but stylish city, and this light-weight travel bag is perfect for roaming the streets or hanging on the beach.
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Vigilant Personal Alarm

This TSA-friendly gadget can be worn as a bracelet and blares like a fire truck if you pull the pin!
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If you like it, pin it!

Everything you need to know about the food in Dubai

 

About The Author

Rohit Agarwal is the blogger at Transindiatravels.com. He is also a blogger for several travel and tourism related websites on the internet. His love for travel and fondness of different cuisines across the world makes him travel the most enchanting destinations.

Jessica Festa

Jessica Festa is the editor of Epicure & Culture as well as Jessie on a Journey. She enjoys getting lost in new cities and having experiences you don’t read about in guidebooks. Some of her favorite travel experiences have been teaching English in Thailand, trekking her way through South America, backpacking Europe solo, road tripping through Australia, agritouring through Tuscany, and volunteering in Ghana.

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22 Comments

  1. I’m a food and travel writer and I moved to the United Arab Emirates in 1998 and lived there for the best part of a decade. After I left continued to return and still write about the country. Some corrections to the post above:
    * not everywhere in Dubai is “high class” – in fact, there are many simple eateries where the workers eat that have delicious food, but the places themselves are rustic.
    * camel meat is not common/popular nor will you find the ingredient in every Emirati dish – it’s a delicacy that’s usually reserved for Emirati weddings and very special occasions as camels are prized animals and are expensive.
    * most Middle Eastern food is not spicy, although there are some dishes that contain spices – there is a difference.
    * ‘Local’ food is Emirati food and it’s difficult to find outside homes – Dubai only has half a dozen restaurants serving Emirati food. Again, the food isn’t spice, although there are a few dishes that are laden with spices.
    * It is definitely *not* acceptable to haggle for food! Nowhere. Not street food, not even in the most modest of eateries, and definitely not in restaurants.
    * Hotel restaurants are not less authentic – there are hundreds of superb restaurants in hotels serving very authentic cuisines from around the world, whether it’s Lebanese, Italian, French, Moroccan, Thai, Vietnamese etc. They often use premium ingredients imported from the countries of origin and their chefs also tend to be from those countries.
    * You can find pork in many restaurants, especially Asian restaurants, where the menus will use the symbol of a pig so Muslim diners know not to order it. But you will also find restaurants that have a lot of Muslim customers that don’t have pork.
    * Shawarma is not spicy – the chicken shawarma is served with a garlic sauce, so it can be tangy, while the lamb tends to be served with sumac, but again this is not a strong spice – it’s flavour is very subtle.

    1. @lara: Thank you for these notes. It’s great to hear the perspective of someone who has experience living in the UAE.

    2. Thank you SO much for your post. It was extremely helpful.

    3. My family are Emiraties and I have to say that your article is misleading and factually incorrect on a number of aspects . Lara has covered the corrections required.

    4. Thank you so much :)this is so very helpful for my family and I and luckily i did not decide NOT to book for DUBAI after reading the POST ABOVE , thank you LARA

    5. That was an excellent rebuttal to the original post. I appreciate the authenticity of someone who has resided and actually embellished themselves in the future. Bravo ! well done. I now have a better view of what i am in for. I have traveled Morocco , Lebanon , France and Spain and the food was Amazing. My favorite cuisine thus far is Moroccan.

  2. Dubai is the place for fun and the street food is more than good . I have enjoyed a lot . Instead of eating at my hotel i preferred to experience the varied tastes found around the city,The food is superb.

  3. Now, that’s a real good read but I won’t say I agree with all of these. I sure enjoy the Asian cuisines and Dubai street food ( common, who doesn’t love those kebabs!) . I have actually never tried camel and the fact that high-end restaurants aren’t in vogue isn’t always true.
    I did visit Wagamama with my kid and also had taken out from there more than once, and loved their cuisine.
    Though many restaurants literally rob you of your dollars, but few offer unique experiences and it is worth visiting.

  4. Thanks for the article Jessica and Rohit. I recently found a local blogger who is doing some awesome blogs on Dubai restaurants. She is called Lidija and can be found at Lidijas Kitchen online.

  5. Even I find it quite misleading that the point mentioned above is at all true. But still, Dubai stands to be the best country for cuisines. So for travellers the food there is a must try.

  6. Thank you for sharing these amazing dishes. When i visited Dubai, i tried almost all the above dishes but didn’t get a chance to eat the camel dish. I tried most of the dishes from the restaurants from the Mall of the Emirates.

  7. The food was awesome from Dubai and I liked it soo much and I wanted to eat alot.there were some really good food which was included in tour packages which made the trip to my Dubai extra awesome with full flavours.Thanks ocean air travels <3
    https://www.oceanairtravels.com/emirates

  8. Dubai is famous for its food. You can get different types of delicious foods there. If you are looking for vegetarian food in Dubai then I think it’s a little bit difficult. Last year i face difficulty when i went to visit Dubai

  9. very nice information …. Thank you so much

  10. Great article on food in Dubai. Dubai provides some unforgettable dining experiences and cuisines. I really love the delicious foods like Fatteh and Mandi. The dessert Mahalabiya is not to be missed. Thanks for providing such sweet memories of Dubai food.

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  13. Nice Article!!
    Thanks for sharing.

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