I'm just here for the Hummus...
Higher, bigger, faster, more luxurious: Dubai is the city of superlatives.
But what is Dubai also? Superficial, artificial and not sustainable in many areas.
I myself lived in the Arab emirate for a year after graduating from university and know what I'm talking about.
After years of abstinence I came back to the megacity. When preparing for the trip, I think of old acquaintances, the hot climate and the delicious hummus.
Mmm. A strange feeling rises up in me. Could it be that I almost missed Dubai a little? The hummus is definitely worth the trip...
If you want to know more about Dubai and local life, you can listen to my podcast episode about it: (coming soon!)
Classics of the local cuisine:
For me, Dubai is a city of superlatives in every respect, also when it comes to culinary delights. Many local delicacies such as shakshuka, hummus and taboulé are known from Levantine cuisine. But if you think you'll only find oriental and Arabic dishes, you're wrong. International cuisines such as Italian, Chinese, American etc. are widespread and usually easier to find than a restaurant with local dishes from the United Arab Emirates.
Here is a small selection of delicacies:
Snacks: Dates, Arabic bread, Hummus, ...
Main dish: Kabsa (Rice dish with chicken or lamb), Maleh Nashef (Salt fish in tomato sauce), Lamb Ouzi (Lamb dish with rice), Shuwaa (Lamb with nuts, rousins and rice), ... Dessert: Um Ali (Bread casserole), Basbousa (kind of semolina cake with syrup), Chebab (Pancake), Khameer (Buns served with honey or cheese), Luqaimat (deep-fried dumplings)
Drinks: Arabic coffee, Karak Chai (sweet tea with spices), Jallab (=non-alcoholic drink made from grape molasses, grenadine syrup and rose water) Note: Alcoholic beverages are only served in hotels and restaurants in Dubai. For expats and non-Muslim foreigners, it is possible to obtain a liquor licence to consume alcohol themselves.
Dubai is part of the United Arab Emirates along with six other states. A strict country that does not grant foreigners the right to citizenship. However, Dubai would never have become so big without the help of external workers. This international mix of workers is also what makes the local food so special. Since the 1970s, the UAE's population has rapidly internationalised and with it the entire cuisine.
If you are overwhelmed by this wild mix of Arabic-Oriental delicacies, you can first warm up with classics from Levantine cuisine. My all-time favourite: hummus. Mhmm. A creamy mix of chickpeas, tahini, garlic and cumin, that's why I'm here.
I still melt into the exciting taste of the spread and eat it for a long time.
Although most oriental foods still seem foreign to me, I eat heartily. The precious spices, the exotic ingredients, the way of eating and the friendly sharing: A culinary journey at its best and sooooo delicious!!!
Not surprisingly, with all these goodies, I gained around 8 kilograms during my one-year stay in Dubai!!! The wild Arabic mix did it to me again right away. The flavours and dishes are so exciting. That's why I stay...
"The precious spices, the exotic ingredients, the way of eating and the friendly sharing: A culinary journey at its best."
Michaelas Video-Message: In my TikTok video you can see a little summary of the local cuisine.
F&B offer: Top. Over 10,000 restaurants and cafés, some of which are among the best in the world.
Meal times: Breakfast (7:00 - 9:00): Typical dishes are beid wa toma (=scrambled eggs) or chebabs (=pancakes) eaten with butter, honey, sugar, jam or date syrup. Often there are also cooked chickpeas or black-eyed peas. Lunch (12:00 - 14:00): "Typical Arabic" is usually not the case and the locals often eat out in restaurants. "Afternoon-Tea (15:00 17:00 Uhr): Afternoon tea features sandwiches, canapés and delicious desserts. Dinner (from 18:00 Uhr): If we are not eating out, we usually have rice with stew or fish.
Price-performance ratio: Dubai is known for luxury. Here you pay in AED, the Emirati Dirham, and high-priced and exclusive offers are the norm. Cappuccino in Amsterdam ca. 4 Eur. Cappuccino in Dubai ca. 6 Eur. (25 AED)
Striking on site:
The special thing about Dubai is the variety of spices such as saffron, cinnamon or cardamom, which are used in the cuisine and provide the special oriental touch.
Due to the Muslim faith, pork is not eaten in Dubai. Occasionally, the meat can be found in supermarkets.
Locals usually go out to eat and help themselves to international dishes. One way to keep the tradition and local cuisine alive is the annual Dubai Food Festival.
Getting to know Arabic food?! We particularly enjoyed our visit to Ninivie. Local specialities are offered in the open air, the smell of shisha and delicious food drifts past every now and then and we experienced an evening like from 1001 Nights, only not with so much kitsch. ;) Absolutely recommendable!
Arabic cuisine, Italian dishes or prefer to feast on an international buffet? The Palazzo Versace Hotel offers all these options and is happy to welcome external guests. I guess I am a bit biased by this hotel complex, as the Palazzo Versace was my former employer in Dubai. This time we were at the Enigma and indulged in the Persian luxury cuisine. Even the Sheikh of Dubai is said to rave about the "Kabab Kubide". By the way, it is common practice in Dubai to eat in hotel restaurants - even as an external guest. This habit has not yet been established in German-speaking countries.
Those who know me know that I love more than just Arabic cuisine. My heart beats above all for good coffee and there is plenty of it to be found in the emirate. In the meantime, a cool café scene has established itself and the selection is large. My favourite remains Tom&Serg. The cappuccino with oats is great and the menu convinces with a casual, international mix of hearty breakfast creations and pretty bowls. Love it!
"If you know one, you know none." The slogan of 25hours Hotels hits the nail on the head and scores with an exciting hotel in Dubai. The hotel chain's first property outside Europe is operated by Accor. The hotel group swallowed the successful German chain and I was curious whether the 25hours charm remained despite the merger.
25hours One Central convinces - at least that is what all lifestyle hotels have in common - with storytelling at its best. We dived deep into the traditions of the Bedouins. A foreign culture suddenly becomes tangible and you feel at home right away. The highlight of our stay was the free bike and car rental.
My conclusion: I came for the hummus. I enjoyed the international cuisine and while reminiscing, I will think of my old hotel days and the impulsive Dubai skyline.