Traditional food served in the UAE is referred to as Emirati cuisine. Although Dubai has made giant strides from a fishing village to a modern tourist hub, Emirati cuisine is still very popular among the locals and tourists. The Emirati food has been inspired by its neighbours like Saudi Arabia and Oman, plus some Asian nations. However, the modern Emirati cuisine features a wonderful fusion with elements from other cultures, giving it a unique and distinctive flavour. We bring you some popular Emirati cuisine dishes that you should try.

Traditional Food in The UAE


Shawarma, UAE Image Credit:

A popular traditional food in the UAE, shawarma is a non-vegetarian delight. The key ingredients include chicken, beef or lamb mixed with several vegetables garnished with mayonnaise and served in soft bread. This delicacy is popular worldwide, and you will find this served in every global city. People consume it as a snack or if they want something light. The meat is replaced with several vegetables for vegetarians and mixed with multiple dressings.

Arabic Coffee

Arabic Coffee, UAE

Arabic Coffee is flavoured with cumin, cardamom, cloves and saffron and is a popular accompaniment to the main meal in the UAE. Many restaurants serve Arabic Coffee to complement the main meal. This dish is usually served with sweet dates and is a great way to start or end your main meal.

Al Harees

Al Harees Food, UAE Image Credit:

This traditional UAE dish is a common feature in religious festivals, rallies, weddings, and even the Ramadan season. Resembling a porridge due to its texture, Al Harees is prepared using simple ingredients like meat, wheat, water, and salt mixed in a pot and then cooked over a couple of hours. The wait is worth it. You get to enjoy it for AED 21-42 per plate. You can try this at Harees in Al Waldha, Abu Dhabi.

Al Machboos

Al Machboos, UAE Image Credit:

This delicacy is served as a main course meal in several Emirati and Arabic restaurants. It mainly features flavoured rice mixed with meat, vegetables, and spices in several layers before being slow-cooked in an oven. Lemon is topped finally after baking it to bring about a tangy flavour. You will find this across several Arabic and Emirati restaurants, with each restaurant offering its fusion versions. Al Fanar Restaurant & Café in the Dubai Festival city serves the best version for AED 55-69 per plate.


A traditional Emirati dish is served usually for breakfast. However, this sweet and salty delicacy is sometimes served as a dessert. It primarily features vermicelli and egg flavoured with rose water, cinnamon, cardamom, orange blossoms, and saffron and finally garnished with pistachios. The Logma in Boxpark and Al Fanar in Dubai Festival serve the best versions of the balleat.

Chelo Kebab

Chelo Kebab, Dubai Food Image Credit:

Chelo Kebab features skewers of bread served with saffron flavoured rice, a well-liked traditional food served in the UAE. The recipe is quite simple, but the flavours are exotic. The locals prepare it over a charcoal grill to get the burnt flavour. You can get the best version served at Pars Iranian Restaurant in Al Barsha for AED 60-80 per plate.


falafel Food in Dubai

Falafel is a popular vegetarian Emirati delicacy. The deep-fried chickpeas patty is wrapped in a roll and served with fresh vegetables and multiple dressings for added flavours. You can get your falafel for AED 6-30 per plate at various local joints and cafes.


A popular UAE traditional food is served as an early evening snack or meal. There are three mouth-watering layers – stock-soaked bread forms the first layer, and the second layer features stuffed aubergines and chickpeas garnished with tahini sauce and yoghurt flavours. Add pine nuts for some added extra flavours. You can get the best version served in Ayam Elezz in Umm Suqeim for AED 26 per plate.


This national dish of the UAE is a filling, and satisfying meal, and features roasted lamb or mutton served on top of rice and garnished with hazelnuts and vegetables. A complete protein meal, Khuzi is a must-taste during your trip to the UAE. Bu Qtair Fish Restaurant in Umm Suqeim serves the authentic khuzi.


Luqaimat, UAE

Image Credit:

After a fulfilling Emirati dish, it’s time to enlighten your sweet tooth. Luqaimat features sweetened dumplings that have soft insides. The prime ingredients used are milk, butter, sugar, flour, saffron, yeast, and cardamom, which are whipped together until a smooth batter is formed. It is then deep-fried for a golden texture. Finally, date syrup or honey is generously drizzled over it while serving. You can get your own Luqaimat for AED 26 onwards per plate. The Arabian Tea House Restaurant & Café in Bastakiya and Milas Restaurant housed in the Dubai Mall are the best places to check out.


A flatbread topped with meat, vegetables, and spices topped with cheese before baking in an oven. It makes a A perfect snack or even a fulfilling appetizer before the main meal. Although it has Lebanese origins, this is very popular and served across all Arabic and Emirati restaurants, with several recipes sharing their fusion versions. In addition, you will get your own Manakish for AED 15-30 per plate.


This regional custard delicacy is a well-liked and appreciated dessert served during the Ramadan season. This pudding is prepared from boiled milk & sugar that is thickened using corn starch. It’s topped with fresh cream and rosewater for some added flavours. You can get the best version of this dish at Al Mallah in Dubai for AED 6-10 per plate.


The Emirati Crepe is quite popular among the locals. This thin Emirati bread is also a healthier alternative prepared from wheat with additional toppings such as egg and cheese. It is a perfect snack or you can consume this even as an appetizer. Serve with some gravy or other Emirati delicacies for the best culinary experience.

Shish Tawouk Sandwich

Many locals and tourists have not discovered a hidden culinary gem in the UAE. This spicy & savoury dish is served at every food joint in the entire Middle Eastern region. This non-vegetarian dish is prepared with sliced chicken stuffed in a flatbread and complemented by herbs, vegetables, pickles, and spices. However, you will find the best version served at Mezza House in Dubai for AED 10-115 per plate.


This slowly cooked non-vegetarian delicacy is prepared from chicken, goat or lamb meat roasted with vegetables, potatoes, marrow, diced tomatoes, and pumpkin and served with a thin traditional Emirati bread named Riga. You can create your vegetarian version by simply avoiding meat in the ingredients. The food lovers can get their plate for AED 74-84 for non-vegetarian and AED 74 for vegetarian versions.

Intrigued by the breathtaking beauty and unbelievable diversity around the world, Shambhavi has taken the agenda of inspiring travellers to embark on their new journeys with passion and information. She has a pen in one hand and a camera in the other. She is a food-enamoured introvert who is fond of plants, reads fiction and taps feet to Bollywood music.

  • 12 thoughts on “Traditional Delicacies Of UAE For a Delightful Culinary Experience
    1. Avatar for Shambhavi Sisodia

      Thank you for this article. I am visiting Dubai soon and am glad to have come across this article. I love to try local foods, and would definitely try a few mentioned here.

      • Avatar for Shambhavi Sisodia

        Trying the local cuisine is important to experience the city to the fullest. You should definitely try these dishes when you are in Dubai.

    2. Avatar for Shambhavi Sisodia

      Luqaimat is my favorite Emirati sweet dish. I can eat a several of them at a time.

    3. Avatar for Shambhavi Sisodia

      Although Shawarma is available in the city where I live, it cannot be compared to the one I had in Dubai. The Shawarma I had in Dubai was so juicy and flavorful.

    4. Avatar for Shambhavi Sisodia

      Falafel and shawarma are two of our favorites. Sometimes we get them for breakfast or brunch.

    5. Avatar for Shambhavi Sisodia

      I love coffee and would love to try Arabic coffee. Friends who have tried it are very fond of it.

      • Avatar for Shambhavi Sisodia

        Arabic coffee is a romantic and delicious as well. If you love the taste, you can get some Arabic coffee beans or powder home as well.

    6. Pingback: A Complete Guide to Traditional Food of UAE

    7. Avatar for Shambhavi Sisodia

      This is such a delicious list. I am a foodie and looking forward to try these dishes during my trip to Dubai in October.

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