The Global Village in Dubai is the perfect place to snack while you shop. We put together a list of 15 authentic street foods from around the world that you can find at the Global Village.
1. Ragag from the UAE
Get a taste of the UAE by having a traditional Ragag, a homemade bread.
The word is derived from the word ‘raga’ meaning thin. The bread is often found in roadside cafes and is very popular at Global Village.
The batter is made of flour and is spread over a hot flat pan. After cooking for a few minutes the mixture resembles a crepe. An egg is then broken and spread over it. A popular version of the Ragag is the cheese ragag, wherein cheese slices are spread over the flour-egg flat bread.
According to the Emirati women at the Global village stall, many people even opt for a plain egg ragag. A new variation of the dish is the flour pancake served with dollops of Nutella. This version is popular among children. The dish is served hot and is cut into slices.
The ragag can be served for dinner and can be topped with melted butter. It can also be served as an item for breakfast, filled with cheese.
The dish is popular in other GCC countries but can vary in flavour and filling.
The luqaimat is a hot Arabic dessert that is popular in most Khaleeji homes. Luqaimat are sweet, crunchy dumplings, served with honey or syrup.
This sweet treat is bite sized and is a great dish to share.
The dumplings itself are not sweet but the syrup or date honey poured over the fried balls contributes to the sweet taste. Luqaimat are usually made in the month of Ramadan and are had after iftar, when the fast is ended.
3. Bun Kebabs from Pakistan
If one thinks of Pakistani street food, Bun Kebab is bound to come to mind. The dish is most popular in fast-paced metropolitan cities like Karachi and Lahore, but it can be found all over Pakistan. Bun Kebabs are usually sold from roadside stalls, side street vendors, and fast food restaurants.
The fried hearty delight has been introduced to Global village at the Pakistan pavilion. The dish is served at a stall owned by Fayaz Ahmed. Ahmed hails from the city of Rahim Yar Khan in Punjab province. He has been selling Pakistani street food at Global Village for the last four years.
“Everyone from all countries, Pakistanis, Arabs and especially Indians, come to our stall and order Bun Kebabs,” Ahmed said.
The patty of the burger-like dish combines ground beef, mutton or chicken, ground lentils, powdered cumin seeds, and an egg batter. The patties are fried in clarified butter or oil.
The 'kebab' is often topped with a fried egg or omelette, and tomatoes, cucumbers and onions. The dish is typically plated with spicy chutneys and ketchup.
“It is made to be street food. It is made in a way that anyone can grab it and eat it anywhere,” Ahmed said.
4. Ćevapi or Bosnian Kebabs
Cevapi or Bosnian Kebabs as they are popularly known in the UAE have become a showstopper at Global Village. With multiple stalls selling the meaty delicacy, people endlessly line up to grab a wrap filled with kebabs as they shop and enjoy themselves at the theme park.
The dish is made out of minced meat, mainly beef, mixed with spices. It is typically found in the countries of southeastern Europe. It is considered a national dish in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia and is also common in Montenegro, Albania, Slovenia, North Macedonia, Bulgaria and Austria.
The dish is often described as a cousin of Turkish kofte and Persian kebabs and believed to have been originated after the Balkan Peninsula was influenced by those cultures.
At Global Village, they are generally served in a pita bread that is lined with a labneh dressing, red sauce made out of bell peppers and sour cream, and fresh onions, making it the perfect snack to grab on the go.
Dina Abadzija is a Bosnian worker hailing form the capital Sarajevo. She said that the dish is especially popular in her city and “the most favourite dish of Bosnians, they are crazy about it.
“We eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The restaurants that line the streets selling Bosnian Kebabs are always full, no matter what time it is,” she said.
5. Koshary - Egypt
Koshary is served in practically every Egyptian restaurant, home, and street corner. It can be deemed the ultimate Middle Eastern dish served on the go as street vendors sell hundreds of plates each day from roadside carts.
Koshary incorporates lentils, macaroni noodles and rice into a single dish and it’s then topped with a spicy tomato sauce that uses a special spice blend, chickpeas, and fried onions. Even renowned Egyptian footballer Mohammad Salah has credited it as his favourite dish.
The dish is served in Global Village at Kushari Express. Sara Shabab works at the food stall and hails from Egypt. Expressing her enthusiasm for the vegetarian delight, she said: “Everyone in Egypt eats Koshary, they cannot live without it.”
There are no doubts about the dish’s popularity and great taste, however its origin is even more interesting.
According to middleeasteye.net, the name “Koshary” is actually a derivation of the Hindi word “khichri”, which refers to a dish of lentils and rice popular on the Indian subcontinent.
The dish’s history in Egypt dates back to the 19th century. When the British arrived in Egypt in the late 1800′s, they brought a version of the Indian khichri, called kedgeree. According to “Larousse Gastronomique”, kedgeree is a concoction of spiced lentils, rice, fried onions and ginger.
The dish became instantly popular, especially amongst the working class, as it was inexpensive and filling.
The version of Koshary that is served today is a result of the influence of the Italian community living in Egypt at the time. They adopted the dish and added pasta to it. The Egyptians then added the spicy vinegar tomato sauce, chickpeas and fried onions.
6. Gözleme from Turkey
Gözleme is a traditional savory Turkish flatbread and pastry dish stuffed with fillings. The most popular ones are Spinach and Feta, spiced ground lamb, minced beef, and potato.
The name derives from the Turkish word göz, meaning "compartment", in reference to the pocket of dough in which the various toppings are sealed and cooked. According to Cennet Bozdogan, who works at a Turkish food stall at the Global Village: "Originally it was a breakfast item or light snack gözleme, most Turks love it and more recently the dish has become a popular street food, with stalls on road sides and at weekend markets."
You can find this at the Damla Gurme food stall in Global Village
7. Simit from Turkey
In Turkey, simit or Turkish bagels are sold by street vendors on trolleys or carrying trays on their heads. A sweetened bread shaped like a ring, scattered with sesame seeds, apparently, Turkey's love affair with the simit extends to 1400's. Back in the time of the sultans, it was considered to be a valuable and luxurious food item. During the month of Ramadan, the sultan would provide it as iftar for those fasting, and give simit to the soldiers on guard as a token of his appreciation. The simit became a valuable offering in the Turkish culture. Its affordability and availability make it a popular community food.
8. Stuffed mussels from Turkey
Turkish Midye dolma or stuffed mussels are meals made of plump orange mussels, herbed and spiced rice, pine nuts, and occasionally currants. It is a popular and common street food in Istanbul, and Izmir, in Turkey, owing to their coastal nature.
In the 1980s and especially the 1990s, the mussel business became one line of defense against unemployment and destitution in the big city. According to an article on theatlantic.com, people who had never seen the sea before, and suddenly had to learn to dive in the Marmara for mussels, which are brought up in great nets from the seabed. The women then scrubbed them clean of barnacles and seaweed, and prepare great vats of spiced rice with which to stuff them. They gradually became popular as a street snack.
A fried-dough pastry based snack, history is divided on how exactly churros came to exist. Some say they were the invention of nomadic Spanish shepherds. According to a huffpost.com article, living high in the mountains with no access to bakeries, the Spanish shepherds supposedly created churros, which were easy for them to cook in frying pans over fire. Lending credibility to this version of history is the fact that there exists a breed of sheep called the “Navajo-Churro”, which are descended from the “Churra” sheep of the Iberian Peninsula; the horns of these sheep look similar to the fried pastry.
Another story says that Portuguese sailors discovered a similar food in Northern China called “You Tiao” and they brought it back with them. The Spanish learned of the new culinary treat from their neighbors, and put their own spin on it by passing the dough through a star-shaped tip which gives the churro its signature ridges.
The dessert-snack can be found at Churros kiosks on the food street in Global Village.
10. Sweet potato based snacks from Japan
Apparently, sweet potatoes were introduced to the Ryukyu Kingdom, present-day Okinawa, Japan, in the early 1600s by the Portuguese. Sweet potatoes became a staple in Japan because they were important in preventing famine when rice harvests were poor.
According to Tatsuo Mori at the Japanese Pavillion in Global Village: "In Japan, all street food must be easy to prepare/source, cheap and healthy. Sweet potatoes have become a very popular street-dish and are used to prepare other snacks sweet potato with cheese and brûléed or flambéed sweet potato and even ice creams."
Sweet potato snacks and other street foods from Japan are available at the Japanese pavillion in Global Village.
11. Takoyaki from Japan
Takoyaki is a ball-shaped Japanese snack or appetizer made of a wheat flour-based batter, cooked in a special molded pan. It is typically filled with minced or diced octopus (tako). Yaki comes from 'yaku', which is one of the cooking methods in Japanese cuisine, meaning 'to fry or grill'. Takoyaki was first popularized in Osaka, where a street vendor named Tomekichi Endo is credited with its invention in 1935.
12. The Bombay Sandwhich from India
Get a piece of Mumbai at Global Village by biting into the juicy, all-day staple of India’s coastal city: The Bombay Sandwich.
Why is it an Indian favourite? It is simple to make and affordable. Available in Mumbai as street food in market places, and found in roadside shops, the dish was popular during the 1980s and 1990s. While the essence of the sandwich has stayed, you find many variations and combinations of the dish in many restaurants in India.
How is it made? Two slices of white bread are buttered and a coriander-mint chutney is generously added to the bread for flavour. This can be spicy. Then comes slices of boiled potato. It is seasoned with a powered masala mix called chaat masala. Neat slices of pink onions, cucumber and tomatoes are then layered on top of each other.
The sandwich can also be toasted. If you’re looking for something simple and filling, this is your pick.
13. Tandoori Chai
Move over Karak chai, Tandoori chai is here and it is delicious. While the origin of this chai is not known, it is served in many parts of India and Pakistan. According to online reports, the hot brew originates in Pune, India.
At Global Village, you can taste the smoky tea that is served in a sizzling hot earthen cup and is perfect for this weather.
At the Indian Chaat Bazaar, next to the India pavilion, you’ll find a stall selling tandoori chai. Earthen pots are placed in a hot tandoor (large metal drum). When the cup has heated, the milky karak is poured into the container, and it bubbles and froths over. The chai is then poured into another earthen pot and served.
The tea tends to be smother than regular tea.
14. Pad Thai from Thailand
Pad Thai or noodles with shrimp, is a popular Thai street food dish, and is available at the Floating Market in Global Village. Having street food in Bangkok is a big part of visiting the capital and you can experience it here in Dubai.
The Pad Thai is made using dry shrimp and Thai noodles and has three distinct flavours – fish sauce, tamarind and lime.
There is a reason why noodles are popular in Thai food. During World War II, Prime Minister Phibunsongkhram encouraged people to eat noodles as the cost of rice had gone up. Eating local ingredients were encouraged as well.
Some of the ingredients include bean sprouts, dried shrimps, egg, garlic, fish sauce, Thai noodles, peanuts, tofu and shallots. The Pad Thai is usually prepared in a wok or pot and the dish has a sweet and tangy taste. It is popular around the world.
According to a 2017 report by American broadcast channel CNN, the dish ranks at number five in their list of world's 50 best foods. At Global village, stall number 17 at the floating market is where you can find this dish.
15. Fried skewered shrimp sticks
Deep-fried shrimp and prawns are popular street food dishes in many Asian countries.
At the floating market, you will find stalls selling these gems and long lines of people waiting to get their hands on the shellfish.
The shrimp or prawns are coated in breadcrumbs and deep fried to a golden-brown colour. Five pieces are typically given in a serving. They are skewered and served with mayonnaise or sweet-chili sauce. Ma'am Su at the market is where you can try this popular street snack.