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Updated by Joanna James on Mar 16, 2024
Headline for Dishes and Beverages to Try while in Abu Dhabi – Good bits of Arabian Cuisine for Your Food Cravings
Joanna James Joanna James
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Dishes and Beverages to Try while in Abu Dhabi – Good bits of Arabian Cuisine for Your Food Cravings

When you think of Abu Dhabi or any desert land for that matter, food and beverages may seem like a far-fetched idea. Only it's not; there are many delights in Abu Dhabi that will cater to your taste buds.



You are more likely to enjoy this at weddings, but if you wish, you can sample this at any Abu Dhabi restaurant. Harees is quite a complex dish – made of wheat and meat (chicken is preferred by most locals) – and you might have to wait for a little while before you can enjoy it, but as they say, all good things take a bit of time, so if you can while away little, you will sit down to a delicious dish of Harees.



If you don't like a lot of meat but don't mind being a little indulgent once in a while, try this meat soup. Salona is loved by locals, and it seems that a lot of tourists love it too. The magic lies in their secret blend of local vegetables – first, the meat is boiled with a few onions, the second step is to add courgettes, eggplants, okra and quite a lot of bell peppers, and as the final touch, the tomato paste goes in, which by the way makes all the difference. One look at the dish is enough to make your mouth water.



This is the simplest form of local cuisine you can find in Abu Dhabi. It is a mere combination of rice and meat – which doesn't in any way make the dish ordinary as they add many spices to enhance the flavour. You can choose any meat item except pork, the choices you have are goat, lamb, beef and you might be able to order shrimp too.



If you stay at a resort like Desert Islands Resort & Spa by Anantara, you will be treated to a delicious dainty called Luqaimat – this is referred to by many names other than Luqaimat, for ease of understanding, let's call it fried dough balls. The western substitute for this would be doughnuts, but they are some dissimilarities – for example, you won't find saffron or rose water in the making of doughnuts, but luqaimat has the eccentric taste of saffron and rose water. While this is definitely a dessert, some locals fancy this for breakfast!


Arabic Coffee

Since you are on an expedition to try out the best of Arabian cuisine, you can't forget Arabic coffee. If you think, this is the same old cup of coffee you drink back at home; you'd be quite wrong. The coffee is brewed in a pot called 'dallah' and is offered in small coffee cups. In most households in the UAE, coffee is accompanied by dates – a delicious addition to amp up your coffee drinking experience.



On a hot day in the desert land, there's nothing more refreshing than gulping down a glass of cold beverage. One of the unique cold beverages you can have in Abu Dhabi is Jallad. Every sip you take is garnished with grape molasses, rose water, dates and crushed ice – as if this isn't enough to give you a mouthful of delectable infusion, there are also bits of golden raisins and pine nuts.


Mint and Lemon Tea

Have you been gorging on all those mouth-watering Arabian dishes? Well, you might want to add something light to wash it all down. Lemon tea infused with mint is an excellent choice as an after-meal beverage. In addition to mint and lemon, there are traces of cardamom as well.