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Dubai food culture is renowned world wide. The city is full of flavourful delights and is perhaps the absolute, unrivalled destination for a foodie.
There are stalls and stalls of budget-priced dishes in every mall, juxtaposed with fabulous restaurants serving fare created by Michelin-starred chefs.
Some might say a Dubai stopover is the perfect foodie treat. The city’s foodie haunts offer an eccentric mezze of exotic dining experiences. How many can you pack into 24 hours in Dubai?
Best places to eat: Dubai food stopover
Ever since the first travellers arrived in Dubai on dhows and camels, the city’s unique food culture has embraced various cuisines.
After all, Dubai is situated right in the middle of the world. Is it any surprise then that this glamorous city represents all the world’s cultures and cuisines?
If you love great food, and if the UAE falls in your air route, plan for a gastronomic stopover in Dubai.
1 | A Gastronomic Feast Under The Desert Stars
Imagine this – an unforgettable desert safari, complete with a ride on a camel on glorious sand dunes, in the style of the Bedouins.
On your desert safari, you’ll get glimpses of the Dubai that was only a little fishing village, and the city that Dubai is now.
You’ll feel like you’ve stepped into another world when you settle down on the still-warm dunes and watch a supreme show of falconry.
As you rest yourself, your safari organisers are busy cooking an authentic Emirati dinner, including camel curry.
Lean back on the dunes and feast your eyes on the pitch-black sky, where each star shines brighter than you’ve ever seen it before.
Let the smells of the flavourful curry flow over you, as you take in the amazing sight of the endless stretch of dunes into the desert.
This is an unforgettable experience that is unmissable while on a stopover in Dubai.
2 | Michelin-starred Gourmet Chefs
Dubai simply must have the biggest, the best and the most spectacular of everything.
That’s the way it is. Dubai is bursting at the seams with top-class cafes and restaurants, run by Michelin-starred chefs.
Hungry for a gourmet break? Try any of Dubai’s amazing fine dining restaurants and you won’t be disappointed.
Rhodes W1 at Grosvenor House, Dubai Marina is run by Chef Gary Rhodes.
This is an authentic British restaurant, offering well-known and less familiar English food items. You’ll get everything here including Irish Stew, Welsh rarebit, crab quiche and shepherd’s pie.
Trouble finding good foodie joints? You really shouldn’t have a problem – eating in Dubai is a favourite passtime.
But why not try an opulent Dubai food tour like the mighty Burj Al Arab tour, often described as the world’s most luxurious, with amazing lunch, dinner and evening tea options.
3 | Endless Food Stalls Offering Every Imaginable Cuisine!
Dubai has many options for high-end dining, but what if you want to explore and taste what other humble eateries have on offer?
You might want to head to where locals traditionally have their meals. If that’s your foodie adventure, then Old Dubai market is your best bet.
Here you can get a delicious, authentic meal for less than AED20 (around USD $5), no matter which cuisine you want to try.
If you would like to try Indian food, visit the many Punjabi and North Indian restaurants in Old Dubai. Head to Manvaar in Karama for some exclusive North Indian food on a budget.
The Sum of Us café in Burj Al Salam building is the perfect stop for a delicious array of pastries, bread and desserts. This eatery is known for having the best coffee in Dubai.
Lunch at the Shake Shack at The Dubai Mall, after burning some calories exploring, is just the ticket.
Get an eyeful of the Dubai Aquarium, Sega Republic and other attractions while sampling everything that the Chinese, Pakistani, Thai, and Indian food stalls offer.
You could spend your entire stopover at the Dubai Mall – there’s that much to see and eat.
4 | A Trip Down The Lanes Of History To Dubai’s Original Food Culture
The Spice Souk with its huge baskets of giant cinnamon sticks, Arabic sumac and turmeric roots has to be seen to be believed.
When you start feeling parched after browsing the shops, grab a saffron-flavoured camel milk gelato in the main souk lane. The spice and gold souk has many food stalls offering Iranian food that are also worth a try.
Visit the famous Yemeni restaurant Al Tawasol and enjoy a well-seasoned lentil soup while relaxing on a lounge in a carpeted tent.
Be sure to get a serving of the popular Yemeni dish “mandi” which is chicken baked in specially-designed underground ovens.
If you are interested in trying Iranian cuisine head over to the Al Fanar Restaurant at Dubai Festival City for a taste of the UAE’s national cuisine.
Explore Bastakiya’s narrow shaded alleyways and taste some Emirati and Iranian food at the many food stalls. You can indulge your sweet tooth at Sadaf’s Iranian Sweet Store, with some saffron-laced rock candy.
5 | The Most Incredible Views While You Eat!
Imagine tucking into your meal while filling your eyes with views from the tallest skyscraper in the world. The 838 meter-tall Burj Khalifa is the best place to absorb the magnitude of Dubai’s skyline.
Hotel Atmosphere is on its 122nd floor, a height of 1045 feet from the ground. A meal at the hotel’s At.mosphere restaurant will definitely set you back quite a bit, but it’s worth it just for the views. The restaurant offers a fine dining European menu with its spectacular views.
There are also many fantastic restaurants near the Dubai Mall. Many of the restaurants have balconies that open out to panoramic views over Dubai and some of the best spots, many would say, for lovely photos of Burj Khalifa.
At Lebanese restaurant Abd El Wahab you can feast on the spectacularly choreographed shows at The Dubai Fountain.
If you are in the mood for Thai visit Thiptara, the waterfront restaurant of The Palace Downtown Dubai hotel where you will find similar views of the fountain.
The Sofitel Dubai, also offers perfect views of the Dubai’s skyline, including the Burj Khalifa. Many rooms at this hotel offer the perfect view of the Burj Khalifa, transforming your stay into a romantic journey.
Enjoy drinks and tasty bar snacks from the international menu at the Above rooftop bar during the evening and enjoy picture-perfect views of Dubai.
Dubai is for foodies
Dubai has a foodie adventure waiting for you, no matter what your tastes are. If you love fabulous ambience and fine dining restaurants, Dubai has that in abundance.
If you’re all about history and old-world charm, you will find that in Dubai too.
Trawl the streets of Old Dubai and see how this magnificently modern city preserves and showcases its culinary traditions from the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent and North Africa.
If you truly want to experience an eye-opening flavorful experience when you visit Dubai, leave the fancy skyscrapers behind, and visit the city’s old districts for authentic Middle Eastern flavours and tastes.
Have you visited Dubai? What was your favourite foodie experience there?
Guest blogger: Neha Singh
A postgraduate in Mass Communications, Neha loves everything about life. Travelling is extremely close to her heart and writing came to her naturally.
An avid trekker & explorer, who often takes off some time from her busy life for mountaineering, she loves meeting new people & gets attached to their culture very easily. Her ambition is to explore as many places as she can in her life. She strongly believes in Gandhian principle – “simple living high thinking”.
Neha’s blog: Dubai Wikia
Note – all images in this post are taken from stock image banks with Creative Commons 0 licence
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