Saturday, July 13, 2024

10 Emirati Dishes You Need to Try

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‘When in Rome, do as Romans do’.
That saying applies for every other country people decide to live. Expats have hard time adjusting to the culture and cuisine in their new country. Even though the United Arab Emirates is one of the most cosmopolitan countries, the process of adjusting is hard for newcomers. The cuisine in UAE is under influence from Iranian, Lebanese and Arabic food. Salads and starters are the most prominent foods. Traditional dishes have rich and unique taste, with lots of spices like Indian food. Here are some of the dishes you absolutely must try, whether you are in Emirates for a tourist visit, or you are starting a new life there.

Stuffed Camel

A Guiness book of records dish, Stuffed camel is one of the biggest dishes in the world. Served during weddings of elite families, the meal includes one lamb, 20 chickens, fish, rice, and boiled eggs. The camel is stuffed with all the ingredients, cooked, and then served.

Al Harees

Made of meat and wheat, this delicious and exotic dish takes hours to prepare. Wheat and meat are boiled together in a pot with a pinch of salt. Once ingredients mix into coherent texture, the dish is baked for several hours. Some serve this dish as it is, but some restaurants like to add other ingredients and make their own variations. The dish is usually served during Ramadan or weddings and festivals.


One of the most popular dishes in the Arab East, Falafel is a common snack in Israel. In its essence, Falafel is a modified version of French fries. The difference is in the various spices that people in the East add to the fries.

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This famous dip is made from chickpeas, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, garlic, and tahini paste. Humus can be served with other main dishes, or as an appetizer. People in the East love to combine Humus with Shawarma.


The core dish in Dubai, Ghuzi is made from roasted lamb, served on top of rice, vegetables and nuts. You can taste this unique dish in almost every restaurant in Dubai.

Al Machboos

Another traditional recipe that is popular in the Gulf area. Ingredients include spiced lamb, rice, meat, onion and a special spice Loomy (made from limes and salt water). Meat, vegetables and spices are cooked in boiling water. Once tender, the meat is separated, and rice is added. After the mixture is cooked well, meat is again added in the mixture, and cooked with everything for two hours.


Shawarma is the most popular and most eaten food in the Emirates. There are variations with lamb and chicken, depending on the restaurant. Other ingredients include garlic sauce, fries, tomatoes, and pickles. Sometimes, other vegetables can be included. All the ingredients are wrapped in a traditional Arabic Roti. For genuine pleasure, order it with strawberry-banana blended drink.

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Esh Asarya

This delicious dessert is a variation of cheesecake, with added cream topping.


Vegetarians can take a breath. This dish is specially designed for vegetarians. Tabbouleh is a salad made from green onions, cucumber, and tomatoes with a touch of fresh mint and lemon juice.


Another desert, Mehalabiya is a pudding made from rosewater and pistachios.

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