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Visiting a new city such as Dubai for the first time is a lot of fun, from its food and drink experiences to learning all about the unique culture. If you're visiting Dubai, which is one of the world's most popular tourist destinations, you may be wondering what food you can sample there without breaking the bank! To help you make the most of your trip, read on for 5 FAQs about Dubai's food and drink scene and find out some interesting facts about the local delicacies in this incredible city.

1. Where does Dubai's culinary culture come from?

Due to its reputation as being the home to the rich and powerful, the culinary culture in Dubai is somewhat unique. As generations of wealthy people from all around the world flocked to Dubai for its stunning scenery and incredible architecture, it began to embrace the influence of Asian, European and American food. Many dishes have been adapted, boosting their quality and flavour, but it's clear ex-pats and immigrants have had a very clear impact on Dubai's cuisine.

However, whilst the food and drink in Dubai are heavily impacted by foreign cultural imports, traditional dishes still prove popular. Spices play a big role in dishes such as machboos and baqoos, with lamb, beef, chicken and goat all popular meats. The cuisine is also influenced by the city's religious past, with alcohol consumption seeing much more significant restrictions than other rich playgrounds like Monaco.

2. What dishes can I try in Dubai?

There is a great range of dishes on offer in Dubai, all of which provide something completely unique to the palate. Just some of the great local dishes to try are:

Machboos: Machboos is a tasty rice dish topped with tender meat, including lamb, goat or chicken, served with pine nuts and an intriguing spicy sauce named daqoos.

Madghut and Mathbi: Madghut and mathbi are variations of machboos and are named depending on the specific cooking method used. Madghut is cooked in a pressure cooker whereas mathbi relies on hot stones to achieve a seared yet tender texture.

Tea: Dubai is held in high regard for its range of teas. Infused with spices such as cinnamon and saffron, the subtleties of Dubai tea come through on the palate and play a key role in topping off the perfect meal.

In addition to these delicacies, you can also try some Western and Asian classics during your stay. The fusion cuisine in Dubai is simply incredible, with Indian-European blends being a particular favourite. We recommend trying the divine spiced duck breast, with caramelised apple puree and cinnamon polenta at Nina.

3. What are some of the best places to eat out in Dubai?

There are plenty of great places to eat out when you go to Dubai. The incredible range of restaurants on offer - all catering to individual tastes and textures of food - means that there is something in the megacity for absolutely anyone. Below are just some of the best restaurants, and even small eateries and vendors, that are essential must-visits on your trip to the City of Gold.

Nobu Dubai: Nobu Dubai is one of the world's premier sushi restaurants, bringing premium seafood and a range of awards to the restaurant scene in Dubai. From stunning grilled black cod to delicately presented tataki with caviar, there is plenty to sample in one of Dubai's premium eateries.

Couqley French Bistro: Despite the name, some of the finest meals at Couqley French Bistro aren't actually French! Bringing a touch of the West to the Middle East, be sure to try their truffle burger or truffle fries.

White Orchid: We would be remiss to discuss restaurants in Dubai without a mention of the White Orchid. Providing stunning teppanyaki and a range of Asian dishes, White Orchid is one of the more expensive restaurants in the city, but well worth the price tag.

Fish Hut Seafood Restaurant: Due to its location on the sea, Dubai sees a significant amount of fresh fish on a daily basis. Fish Hut Seafood Restaurant is a great way of experiencing fresh fish at a reasonable price point. Offering a healthy and fresh menu whilst not breaking the bank, having lunch at a Fish Hut Seafood Restaurant is a must.

4. Is there anything I need to know about the culinary culture before my Dubai visit?

In order to drink in Abu Dhabi, and therefore Dubai, tourists must get a liquor licence. These are only valid in the Emirate that issued the licence, so keep this in mind. Furthermore, you will receive a code of conduct document setting out what is expected of you in the event that you do drink alcohol in the city. Take care with these laws, as they are imposed stringently.

5. What food tours are there in Dubai?

Dubai has a range of great food tours. These include afternoon desert safaris featuring a camel ride and a dinner, deep-sea fishing trips and even Thai dining experiences in widely regarded hotels across the city. If you have more of a sweet tooth, try out a chocolate and jewellery tour or even take a deeper dive into the coffee culture of the city. There's plenty to see and do, so rest assured you'll be able to find something that whets your appetite.

Dubai Food and Drink Experiences

If you're interested in taking a food tour in Dubai, check out our food and drink experiences in Dubai and browse a wide range of delicious activities. Including fine-dining restaurants, street food tours, drink experiences and much more besides.


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