United Arab Emirates Food and Drink
Due to the international attention that places like Abu Dhabi and Dubai attract, the cuisine of the UAE has come to reflect that with many hotels and restaurants offering dishes from around the world. Traditional Emiratis cuisine is based mainly on meat, grain and dairy with vegetables used sparingly as they do not thrive well in the climate of the UAE. Thyme, turmeric, saffron and cardamom are commonly used spices. The spicier dishes are usually accompanied by a side dish of yoghurt, cucumber or mint which helps to cool it down.
Popular dishes include:
Kafta: This is sometimes referred to as the Arabic hamburger. It involves rolling meat into pita bread accompanied by cucumbers, tomato, lettuce and yoghurt.
De-Ja Ta-Ha-Tah: This dish is a combination of chicken and rice that is served with plain yoghurt, limes and sliced onion.
Luqeymat: This is a piece of pancake that has been fried and then rolled in sesame seeds and flavoured with date syrup.
Al Harees: This dish is common at special occasions and is one of the most favourite meals in the UAE. Meat and wheat are cooked for several hours until the meat has dissolved into the wheat. This mixture is then poured into a clay oven or a special earth oven, after it has been cooked for a very long time, it turns into a thick mixture. The end result is served with local ghee (clarified butter).
Al Madrooba: This is a dish consisting of salt-cured fish (known locally as “maleh” or salty) and flour. The fish is cooked in a pot with spices and flour which creates a sauce. It is topped with ghee before serving.
Despite being a predominately Muslim country, alcohol is available in the UAE. Tourists are permitted to buy alcohol in hotels, restaurants and bars while residents are required to have permits. During Ramadan, no alcohol is served during daylight as this is a time for fasting (tourist centred places like Abu Dhabi and Dubai allow bars to sell alcohol at night). Gah-wa Khaleejelah, or coffee, is a staple of Arab breakfasts and red tea with mint is also very popular. (Coffee and tea are often flavoured with cardamom and saffron).
Things to know:
Tipping is not expected in the UAE, however, it is appreciated. The amount is generally left to the diner’s discretion. In fine-dining or high-end restaurants, a service charge of 10% may be added to the bill.
United Arab Emirates Travel Information
At Goway we believe that a well-informed traveller is a safer traveller. With this in mind, we have compiled an easy to navigate travel information section dedicated to United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Learn about the history and culture of UAE, the must-try food and drink, and what to pack in your suitcase. Read about UAE's nature and wildlife, weather and geography, along with 'Country Quickfacts' compiled by our travel experts. Our globetrotting tips, as well as our visa and health information will help ensure you're properly prepared for a safe and enjoyable trip. The only way you could possibly learn more is by embarking on your journey and discovering UAE for yourself. Start exploring… book one of our United Arab Emirates tours today!
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