A number of Arabic, Chinese, Indian and continental restaurants are already operating in the area that has a huge open space and seating arrangements. Image Credit: Aftab Kazmi/Gulf News

Al Ain: Town Square in downtown Al Ain is transforming into a ‘food street' amid popular demand for official status and support from the city's civic administration.

The area has the potential to become a fully fledged ‘food street' with a little effort from the civic administration, said restaurant owners and residents. A number of Arabic, Chinese, Indian and continental restaurants are already operating in the area that has a huge open court and seating arrangements.

The street has been gaining popularity among residents for the different varieties of cuisine.

"I have no doubt that it will be a big success after being officially declared a food street," said Naresh Kumar Suri, owner of a restaurant.

A food street centres around the concept of eating out with a variety of foods and delicacies in a closed locality dedicated for the purpose.

These streets normally have lots of restaurants and food outlets presenting traditional, modern, continental, and popular food.

In many countries of the world, they are also used to highlight history, culture and traditions along with providing residents a chance to enjoy the evening outdoors with family.

Pedestrian-friendly city

The concept has lately been a hit in Pakistan where ‘food streets' have opened up in most major cities, starting from Gawalmandi Food Street in Lahore.

Suri said Al Ain Municipality had recently redesigned some downtown roads with the idea of making it a pedestrian-friendly city. The emergence of a food street in the heart of the city would boost its efforts and attract UAE and foreign tourists. Food streets have also recently emerged as major tourist attractions in different countries of the world, he said.

Al Ain, like other major UAE cities, is cosmopolitan with people from hundreds of different nationalities and cultures.

Aleya Hesham, a Syrian expatriate, said Al Ain had developed into a major UAE city with almost every ingredient from gardens, a zoo, museum, archaeological sites, amusement parks and bustling shopping malls.

"Authorities must pay attention to the concept of a food street to take advantage of it as it has been happening without planning," she added. Mustafa Adel, an Egyptian expatriate, said he loves food from different countries of the world. It is a modern trend as the world has become a global village. "I have no doubt that a dedicated food street with international cuisine and specialities will be a big success," he said.

Boosting trend

He said it would be an excellent move that would boost the trend of dining out and bring more activity to the city's nightlife. "Food and sightseeing are two integral parts of the modern tourism concept. I am surprised the authorities have not yet paid attention to this important aspect," said Adel.