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Updated by Joanna James on Mar 16, 2024
Headline for 06 Most Popular UAE Foods – Mouth-Watering Emirati dishes to sample
Joanna James Joanna James
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06 Most Popular UAE Foods – Mouth-Watering Emirati dishes to sample

The UAE is a true paradise for foodies! When it comes to the rich local Emirati cuisine, the food is richly flavoured and simply finger-licking good. Each dish of this region reflects its culture, geography and climate! Here are some of the most popular dishes to dine on during your time in the UAE.



Nothing compares to the fresh yet rich flavours of authentic shawarma found in the streets of UAE. A non-vegetarian snack of sorts, shawarmas include sliced beef, lamb or chicken depending on what you ask for, which is accompanied by fresh helpings of vegetables, crunchy onions usually a selection of sauces and rolled in a soft flatbread. The price per shawarma is ranged from anywhere from AED 6 to 10. The best shawarmas are rumoured to be found at Al Mallah, Dubai!



A perennial local favourite, Manakish is a rather popular Lebanese snack. Preparation includes a flatbread stuffed with generous helpings of cheese and being cooked in an oven. Traditionally an assortment of vegetables, oils, spices and meats are added. Manakish is usually priced at AED 15-30.


Al Harees

A beloved traditional dish of the UAE, Al Harees is a special dish served during religious festivals and special occasions such as weddings, usually during the holy month of Ramada. A porridge-like dish, Al Harees requires a couple of hours of preparation time despite featuring simple ingredients. While every household has its own recipe they follow, a common method of preparation includes making Al Harees by mixing what and meat in a clay pot, along with salt and water, and then cooking it for a couple of hours in low heat.



A wholesome and filling dish, Khuzi also spelt Ghuzi, is considered the national dish of the UAE followed closely along by the famous Al Machboo. A rack of roasted lamb or leg of mutton is served on a fragrant and piping hot mound of rice along with a generous helping of nuts and vegetables and can usually be found on the menus of some of the best Abu Dhabi restaurant options.



There is no doubt that Middle-eastern dishes are rather rich and heavily spiced. So, if you are looking to take a break from the usual filling and carb-rich selections, and are looking for a healthier option, why not try Fattoush? Made with fresh cucumbers diced tomatoes, onions, lettuce, and mint leaves and flavoured with a dash of olive oil garlic and lemon, fattoush is served with a side of Levantine bread. Simple as this dish sounds, this UAE salad is jam-packed with flavours and is best enjoyed during lunch at a hotel such as Anantara Sir Bani Yas Island Al Yamm Villa Resort.



A slow-cooked and flavourful stew of sorts, Thereed is a quintessential comfort food consisting of roasted vegetables and your choice of meat, whether it be mutton, chicken or lamb. This delicious stew is served with Rigag – a traditional thin Emirati bread.