There has been a recent push to get more expats and tourists to try delicious Emirati cuisine while in the UAE. Whether you’ve been in the UAE for a while or just got here, you need to try these 5 Emirati dishes soon. Take a break from all the ‘festive’ food and check out the local flavors. Here are just a few of our favorites.
1. Chabab bread (Emirati pancakes)
A classic breakfast dish in the UAE is Chabab bread, often referred to as Emirati pancakes. These golden disks look a little like your classic American pancakes but as they are made with yeast they have a more bread-like flavor. They’ll often include a hint of turmeric & fennel in the batter too, which gives them a flavor kick! You’ll find these served with Kraft cheese and honey or date syrup. You’ll want to wake up for breakfast if these are being served!
This is a rice dish you’ll find served in every Emirati house. This rice dish can be found served with chicken or fish, although lamb is the real crowd pleaser! Machboos’ main flavors stem from the spices in the rice; cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, and lemon. You can think of it like an Emirati biryani but with its own unique flavor!
3. Samak Mashwi
If you’re a fish fan you’ll love this dish. Samak Mashwi is grilled fish, the Emirati way, marinated with date paste along with herbs and spices, which gives it a delicious sweet and savory mix. The fish is skewered, with its scales on, and cooked in a dome-like barbeque made of clay. As the scales are left on during the cooking process the fish doesn’t dry out. As the UAE is a country with ample coast and a history of fishing we highly recommend you try at least this fish dish while you are here!
This delicious stew can be made with any meat or fish but traditionally includes seasonal vegetables too. What makes this stew distinctly Emirati is the spice mix called Bezar. This dish is perfect for the cooler months of the year and is even more delicious as leftovers the next day!
If you haven’t tried luqaimat yet, you’ve been missing out big time! Instead of getting a donut for dessert opt for these little balls of deliciousness instead. Luqaimat are bite-sized fried dumplings that are coated in date syrup and sprinkled with sesame seeds. With a crisp outer layer and a soft and fluffy inside, you’ll find it hard to stop eating this delicious traditional dessert. (Fun fact: luqaimat actually means small or bite-sized in Arabic.)
There are many more traditional Emirati dishes that are equally delicious! Let us know what your top local dishes are in the comments below and let us know what we should try next.
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