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Updated by Joanna James on May 02, 2024
Headline for 05 Emirati Cuisine's to Try While on Your Abu Dhabi Holiday – Exotic Arabic Flavours
Joanna James Joanna James
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05 Emirati Cuisine's to Try While on Your Abu Dhabi Holiday – Exotic Arabic Flavours

A holiday in Abu Dhabi is made-up of many fascinating factors and cuisine plays a major rule. That's right folks, the foodie in you is in for a fabulous treat. Curious already? Do read on and make a list of these must-try Emirati cuisines as you enjoy your holiday in Abu Dhabi.


Al Machboos

A hearty rice dish, Al Machboos is made up of rice infused with fragrant spices and herbs. Bringing out rich flavours, the dish is cooked with rice, meat, onions, saffron and dried lemon peel, which by the way is called loomi in Arabic. The rice together with all other ingredients is cooked in a pot, thus infusing and combining flavours and fragrances to create a very enjoyable dish. A must try when exploring Abu Dhabi. The best restaurants await you!


Al Harees

Al Harees is one of those dishes people are treated to at special occasions. In Abu Dhabi Al Harees is enjoyed during Ramadan, at weddings, Eid and engagements. Best of all it is a simple dish that's packed with flavour. Al Harees is made by cooking harees grain or wheat berries, with small bits of meat (preferably chicken), salt and water. The ingredients are cooked in a pot until the meat has dissolved into the wheat. The dish is served hot with clarified butter or ghee in flat plates. There are plenty of Abu Dhabi resorts like Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara, which offer one authentic Emirati cuisine and desert experiences, where you can savour dishes like Al Harees in case you are not invited to any special occasions during your holiday in Abu Dhabi.


Al Madroobas

Seafood plays a big role in Emirati cuisine and Al Madroobas is a fine example. This dish is made with salt-cured fish that's cooked in a pot together with spices and exotic sauces, a real treat for fish lovers. This is just one of the many seafood dishes available in Abu Dhabi; do check out the local Emirati eateries for more options.



Sweet lovers are in for a treat while staying at an Abu Dhabi hotel. The city is famed for its collection of sweet treats and Luqaimat is as good as it gets. This sweet delight consists of a deep-fried dough ball over which sesame seeds and rich date syrup is poured. What you can expect are sweet and soft dumpling like dough balls which by the way are pretty reasonably priced; which means you can binge and buy yourself a large batch.



Continuing on the theme of desserts in Abu Dhabi, you must try Khabeesha which is roasted bread crumbs that have been combined with sugar, saffron, rose water, cardamoms, crushed dates and ghee. A lovely treat for the sweet tooth and tipped to be a comfort food during winter, Khabeesha is one of those foreign foods you hanker for long after your holiday has ended.