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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for Must Try Traditional Food of UAE - A burst of succulent spices
Joanna James Joanna James
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Must Try Traditional Food of UAE - A burst of succulent spices

Whatever part of UAE you might be in, there is one thing you will find common in its cuisine: spices. Not necessarily hot, the spices of Middle East create culinary masterpieces that you must try.


Stuffed Camel

Recorded in the Guiness Book of World Records, stuffed camel is a massive dish that comprises of a whole stuffed camel. Due to its sheer size and cost, stuffed camel is usually served by the wealthy UAE at large gatherings like weddings. However, many restaurants in Eastern Mangroves of UAE serve stuffed camel to their visitors and guests almost every day. A large camel is stuffed with a lamb, boiled eggs, about 20 chickens, fish, and of course, rice. The camel is then roasted to perfection, and served as one gigantic centre piece on the dinner table.


Al Harees

If you make your way to the Mediterannean restaurant in Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa by Anantara on Eid, you are sure to see a glistening plate of Al Harees. Although the dish requires very few ingridients – meat, wheat, and spices – it takes over 24 hours to cook, making it another dish that symbolises special occasssions. The wheat and meat is seasoned with spices and boiled together in a pot for an extended period of time until it simmers down to a smooth texture. This is then cooked further in a clay pot with coal to give it a unique taste. The serving of the dish includes a generous layer of ghee on the plate, which gives Al Harees a smooth, shiny appearance.



This is a dish that has made its way around the world, and is quite famous in other Aisian countries. However, shawarma of UAE has a distinct taste to it, which makes it unique. Made with chicken or lamb, the meat is combined with other condiments such as pickles, tomamtoes, and garlic, and wrapped in a roti. It is common to include tomatoes and some green leaves to the micture. Although the exact ingridients of the mixture varies from restauarant to restaurant, there is always one thing that accompanies the UAE shawarma: a blended strawberry-banana juice.


Al Machboos

A dish that is essentially an all-in-one, Al Machboos comprises of meat, dried lemon, onion, and rice. In addition to that, there is, of course, the unique blend of spices that goes into all UAE dishes. The spices, lemon, onion and meat is boiled together in a large pot, and cooked until all the taste is absorbed by the meat. Then the meat is removed, and the rice is cooked in the same broth. Once the rice has achieved the necessary texture, the meat is added in again, and the whole concoction is cooked for two more hours. The end result is a beautiful dish of mixed rice that bursts with flavour in every mouthful.



Veering off the whole dishes, hummus is essentially a dip that accompanies major bread-based food groups in UAE. The dip is made with garlic, tahini paste, lemon juice, olive oil, and chickpeas. The texture of the hummus is quite smooth, and is a favourite dip for pita bread and shawarmas.

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