Emirati Cuisine Explained

Modern Emirati cuisine is a sum of many parts, different elements that have arrived overland or via trading ports over hundreds of years. The barren environment has meant that the original cuisine was simple—meat, bread, dates—but Dubai has imported foods and recipes from the Levant, Persia, the Indian subcontinent, and other parts of the Arabian Gulf to fill it with flavor and color. We recommend looking for some of the items below, and keep in mind that sometimes breakfast is just as exciting as dinner.

  • Muhalla: lacy crepes flavored with dates or cardamom, served with date dhibs
  • Regag: Wafer-thin flatbread, usually served with cream cheese, bzar, and egg
  • Balaleet: sweet vermicelli noodles with saffron, cardamom, and omelet julienne
  • Foga: mildly spiced meat (usually chicken, fish, or lamb) served on rice
  • Machboos: meat marinated in bzar spices and cooked with rice, similar to biryani
  • Harees: whipped wheat porridge with mutton or lamb
  • Bzar: a mix of bazaar spices similar to curry powder, often used to marinate meat before grilling
  • Thareed: sregag layered with slow-braised chicken or mutton
  • Batheeth: sweet morsels made with spices, roasted flour, and crushed dates
  • Lgeimat: fried doughnut balls drizzled with date honey
  • Gahwa: Emirati coffee, usually heavily roasted and infused with cardamom, served in espresso cups without sweetening or milk

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