A feast for the taste buds!
It is a well-documented fact that the United Arab Emirates is a cosmopolitan country. Besides providing umpteen attractions for tourists across the world, the UAE also is a foodie’s delight. Loaded with Middle Eastern traditions that date back centuries, the local food here is simple, but packed with flavour and character. It provides travellers an opportunity to experience and enjoy tasty, traditional middle-eastern delicacies.
A famous dip, hummus is made with chickpeas, olive oil, lemon juice, tahini (sesame) paste, salt and garlic. An ideal appetizer, it can be served with dishes like Shawarma (seasoned meat (usually lamb or chicken) served in thin bread (lavash) and at times topped with vegetables or a sauce) and pita bread.
One of the UAE’s most common appetizers, this snack is typically served with soup, hummus and olives. It resembles a Mexican Quesadilla and is made with a spiced mince filling called Kefta placed in the centre of folded flat bread layers.
Commonly served during Ramadan, Eid and weddings, this dish is simple, yet offers a highly exotic taste. It is made by cooking wheat and meat with a pinch of salt in boiling water for hours so that they can be made in to a smooth paste. This is then further cooked overnight in a covered clay pot with coal. Al Harees is topped with cinnamon, sugar and ghee and served on flat plates.
Another traditional dish in the UAE, Al Machboos is one of the favourites across the gulf. It is cooked with rice, meat, onion and dried lemon (loomy) and is seasoned with spices and salt. Here, all the ingredients are cooked well in boiling water until tender, then the meat is separated, rice is added to the remaining mixture and it is again cooked well. After that the meat is again added to the rice, vegetable mixture and cooked again for two hours. Needless to say, the flavour is phenomenal.
Now on to desserts. Luquaimat is a classic Arabic dessert where small pastry balls are deep fried and decorated with sugar. These crunchy sweet dumplings are a common Ramadan dish and are made from flour, yeast and sugar. These simple floury balls are totally, totally irresistible.
Some other must-try dishes include Matchbous, Ghuzi, Falafel, Esh asarya, Tabbouleh and Mehalabiya.
So go ahead and explore these dishes and more when you are in the UAE!