Cuisine In The United Arab Emirates

Arabic cuisine offers a wide range of interesting flavours and dishes. Below you will find a general idea of what to expect when eating in the UAE.

Arabic cuisine is standard fare throughout the UAE but, due to a huge influx of expatriates and tourists in Dubai and to some extent, Abu Dhabi, more international foods can now also be found in these emirates.

Main delicacies

Mezze – a mixed starter which is normally served in restaurants and usually eaten with the hands, with the help of bread to scoop up the food.

Hummus - chickpea dip/ spread

Kibbe - meat patties made from minced lamb, bulghur wheat and onions

Tabbuleh - salad of couscous or bulghur with diced tomatoes, onions, mint and parsley

Baba ganush - aubergine or eggplant dip

Kussa mahshi -stuffed courgettes (or zucchini)

Warak enab - stuffed vine leaves

Pitta bread -unleavened bread

Felafel - chickpea patties rolled into balls, often served in pitta bread at corner stalls

khuzi - a stuffed whole roast lamb on a bed of spiced rice

Kebab Kashkash -a dish of meat and spices in a tomato sauce is favorite in UAE.

Matchbous - spiced lamb with rice

Esh asarya - a kind of cheese cake with cream topping

Grilled chicken - also very popular at hotels and roadside cafes, and this is spiced up with relishes and other accompaniments such as Khubz (Arabic bread) or hummus (chick pea paste), etc.


Despite strict Muslim practice, the more “Westernised” of emirates, such as Dubai now offer alcohol in liquor stores and 5-star hotels. However, in Sharjah you can only drink in your home or in an expatriate bar called the Sharjah Wandereres and as a resident, you will need a liquor license allowing you to purchase alcohol.

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