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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for Top Five Local Foods of Abu Dhabi - Sensational Flavours Not to Be Missed!
Joanna James Joanna James
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Top Five Local Foods of Abu Dhabi - Sensational Flavours Not to Be Missed!

A wonderful blend of Asian and Middle Eastern influences, Abu Dhabu cuisine features a plethora of mouthwatering dishes that are seasoned with a host of exotic spices. Here are some of the best!


Harees- A Favourite at Ramadan

A traditional dish in Abu Dhabi and the UAE, Harees is quite a popular dish during festivals like Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr. It's also consumed at special occasions like weddings as well. Harees is mainly made out from the ingredients of a meat of choice (usually lamb or chicken) and wheat. To make the dish, wheat berries need to be previously soaked. Afterwards, they slow-cooked together with the pre-cooked meat and butter. The result is a delicious porridge-like dish that's infused with a range of spices like cinnamon, salt and pepper. If you want to taste Harees without waiting for a special occasion, just visit a high-end Abu Dhabi restaurant such as those at luxury hotels like Anantara Sir Bani Yas Island Resorts; where every moment is a time to celebrate!



Oene-pot dishes are not unusual in Arabic cuisine and one such dish is Machboos. Its made using meat, rice, various spices, onions, and loomi, which are dried limes. To make Machboos, first the meat is cooked together with the loomi and spices. Once its tender, the mix is taken out of the pot and rice is added to be cooked again.



Similar to a Turkish döner kebab or Greek gyros, Shawarmas are a favourite not just in Abu Dhabi, but the world over. Its served either as a side dish, on a plate with fries or vegetables; or in some form of bread with accompaniments such as a dressing. The latter version of Shawarma is very popular in the UAE as is mostly consumed for a quick bite while on the road.



Whenever someone mentions Middle Eastern food this is what comes to mind. Falafels are an extremely popular dish that considered to be Middle East's answer to French fries. Not originally an Emirati dish, Falafels are fried balls or patties of chickpeas and herbs. They can be found throughout Abu Dhabi, served with dips, in a wrap, or as a side.


Thareed, a Soupy Stew

Another popular dish during Ramadan, Thareed is a stew served on or layered with flat bread that's either Raqaq or roti. However other unleavened breads are also used. When it comes to the ingredients made to use Thareed, they include chicken, lamb, or just vegetables.


Stuffed Camel- Largest Dish in the World?

This is not for the faint hearted. How about eating a whole camel while in Abu Dhabi? Sounds crazy, but it's actually a delicacy. Not exactly a dish you'll find everywhere in Abu Dhai, stuffed camel is said to be the "largest item on any menu" in the world's by many, and is supposedly in the Guinness Book of World Records. If you do come across a stuffed camel in Abud Dhabi, do try it out for the sake of doing something extraordinary perhaps? The dish consists of a broiled camel stuffed inside with a lamb, which is stuffed with a chicken or a two, which are stuffed with eggs and rice, or even fish! A four in one meal wouldn't you say!


  • A true believer that the pen is a mighty weapon, ventures into reaching the minds of every reader with the earnest hope of leaving an indelible stream of thought.

    A travel writer who has a passion for fashion and a deep interest in admiring new and exotic attractions around the world.

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