It is no surprise that authentic Emirati cuisine is a favourite with residents and tourists, alike. And, the Dubai Food Festival 2021 (DFF) has the city’s rich culinary heritage at the centre of the heart for all food lovers.
From the city’s souks to the modern day eateries that have made their way into the global culinary scene, here are three Dubai-based influencers telling you why Emirati cuisine remains loved across the UAE.
Dubai based Tik Tok influencer Abdel Aziz, who has around 1 million followers talks about what makes Emirati cuisine so popular. “Emirati cuisine is considered part of the identity and heritage of the Emirates. It is central to communities and allows friends and family to come together to express generosity, especially during holidays and at special moments. Through the development of the UAE in the modern world, Emirati cuisine has become increasingly famous among tourists and visitors from across the globe who love it just as much as we do,” says Aziz.
Here is a list of Emirati dishes Dubai based influencers vouch for and also speak about why they absolutely love them.
A traditional Emirati breakfast, Balaleet is a popular dish with residents and visitors alike. Typically prepared with vermicelli sweetened with sugar, cardamom, rose water and saffron, and served with an egg omelette, this dish has a contradictory flavour of sweet and savoury.
A popular UAE food blogger, Ahmed Janahi says: “Balaleet dish is a famous Emirati dish and it's my favourite. Every house has a different way to make it, and it comes in two colours depending on the way it is cooked.”
Check out the recipe to make Balaleet.
Some popular eatries to try Balaleet are Arabian Tea House, at locations in the city including Al Fahidi, The Mall (Jumeirah) and Archeological Site in Jumeirah 2.
A popular mouthwatering Arabic dessert made from whole purpose flour, milk, sugar, butter, deep-fried into crisp balls and drizzled with date syrup or honey - this dessert is popular in all Emirati homes. It is a favourite festive sweet dish among visitors, residents and nationals.
Amal Ahmad, a popular Dubai based social media influencer says: “I love Emirati food and the rich flavours, ingredients and spices which distinguish the taste of Emirati cuisine, including saffron, cardamom, cinnamon, loomi and others. Luqaimat is a dish loved by the masses, and one of the most famous varieties of Emirati desserts, characterised by sesame and date molasses.”
Here is a recipe to make Luqaimat.
To try the traditional Luqaimat, visit Hum Yum at Jumeirah Road, Kite Beach, Nad Al Sheba and Al Marmoom, along with a delicious cup of Karak Chai.
Machboos is more like a pilaf (pulao) rice, which is mildly spiced with strong flavours. It can either be prepared with meat, chicken or fish. The spice used in this is a traditional Arabic spice mix called baharat or bezar, consisting of turmeric, fennel seeds, crushed coriander seeds and cumin. Other spices include, cardamom and loomi (dried, black lime).
Adding to his list of favourite Emirati dishes, Instagram influencer, Ahmad insists on trying Machboos. She says, “Machboos is a must try. Containing rice, meat, lime, spices, and onions, and cooked with chicken, meat or fish, it’s one of my all-time favourites.”
A few popular restaurants that serve Machboos in Dubai are Al Fanar Restaurant and Cafe at Dubai Festival City, Al Seef and in Al Barsha.
A popular Iftar dish during Ramadan, Thereed is the perfect dish to break the fast as it is gentle on the stomach. It is a savoury dish prepared in meat broth, typically served with Arabic bread such as Ragag bread. However, it can also be made with chicken or vegetables.
Make this Thereed recipe and serve hot with Arabic breads or even rice. To try the dish, visit Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding