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Updated by Joanna James on May 02, 2024
Headline for Traditional food you must try in Abu Dhabi - Mouth-watering and magnificent Emirati cuisine
Joanna James Joanna James
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Traditional food you must try in Abu Dhabi - Mouth-watering and magnificent Emirati cuisine

When in Abu Dhabi, there will be a range of food from east to west. Yet, it will be a one-of-a-kind experience to try out some of the traditional dishes here to get an idea of the distinct flavours of Emirati cuisine. Here are some of the traditional food you must try in Abu Dhabi.



A breakfast dish with a wonderful combination of salty and sweet elements made with cinnamon, cardamom, orange blossom or rose water, omelette, vermicelli, sugar and saffron. The whole preparation is topped with the omelette. If you wish, you can use this dish as a dessert as well. It depends on your choice. Visit a local during Eid celebrations and Iftars and you will find this dish. Some of the top restaurants in Abu Dhabi and dining venues at Anantara Eastern Mangroves Abu Dhabi Hotel provide Emirati delights such as Baleelat to spice up your holiday.


Beidh Wa Tomat

Also known as 'Shakshuka' is a simple dish of scrambled eggs, pepper and tomato. There are no fancy ingredients added to this dish. Different restaurants and dining venues have another version of the same dish with poached eggs. Coriander and thyme are added to the top tomato to make it look fancier. Beidh Wa Tomat is a simple yet nutritious breakfast dish that can be prepared with a single skillet and everyday ingredients in the kitchen.


Chabab Bread

How about starting your day with a delicious Emirati pancake? This crisp and thin pancake will look a lot like a typical American pancake. Melted butter, flour, yeast and eggs are the main ingredients of this bead. The name 'Chebab' implies the fact that the bread is baked until it is golden yellow or light brown on both sides. Often Chabab bread is served with Kraft cream cheese or Chami cheese. To make the bread more delicious, it is served with honey and date syrup poured on the top of the bread.



This is a very ancient dish often offered during Emirati gatherings and ceremonies. The preparation method is unique to Abu Dhabi as it is time-consuming (three hours with continuous boiling). The time will exceed if meat is added. You should certainly try out this mouthwatering wheat porridge with ghee and meat. The dish is usually served hot with some ghee added to the top. It is so moreish and easy to digest!


Samak Mashwi

Here is the traditional Gulf way to grill fish! You should not miss this on a barbecue night with your friends when in Abu Dhabi. Many years back, Samak has been prepared in a barbecue made out of clay. This mouthwatering baked fish dish is lavishly garnished with lemon slices, pickles, parsley, mayonnaise and sliced olives while it is seasoned with olive oil and salt.



Centuries back, rice was not a part of traditional Emirati food, therefore, their main cereal was wheat. This is a very popular rice dish in traditional Abu Dhabi cuisine. The dish is prepared with lamb, fish or chicken with main flavourings such as cinnamon, cloves, saffron, lemon and cardamom. You would also call it an Emirati adoption of Indian Biriyani.