In recent decades Dubai has fast become one of the world’s most cosmopolitan metropolises, and nowhere is this more evident than in its drool-inducing food scene. When it comes to bites, you’ll find the world in a city – you could be munching on Japanese sushi for lunch, Italian pizza for dinner, and Lebanese falafel for an evening snack. 

But don’t let this distract you from the fact that the traditional local cuisine is AMAZING, and you should definitely seek it out when you’re there!

Check out our top recommendations for local dishes to try in Dubai…


A classic of Emirati cuisine, machboos (also known as kabsah) is a rice dish infused with cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, black lime and other local spices, and usually served with chicken, lamb or locally-fished shrimp. Nice.


If you’re in the market for something a little heavier, consider the heavenly stew that goes by the name margoogat. With a tomato base, this dish is popping with heat (turmeric and cumin are quite a match) and depending on the version you go for, packed with either lamb, chicken or vegetables like marrow and potato.

Camel burger

We’ve taken a bit of a license with this one as it’s not strictly a traditional meat eaten by the locals, but in recent times modern Emirati chefs have been experimenting more and more with camel meat, creating juicy burgers, stews and even biryani. Look out for it and give it a go!


Now we’re moving into the sweet side of the spectrum, and there’s no better place to start than with these ping-pong-ball-sized dumplings. With the same sweetness and texture of donuts, they’re a hit with tourists and locals alike, and you’ll find them at almost every cafe.


If you’ve got room for dessert, you could do far worse than knafeh – a sugary, syrupy, doughy pastry dish, that’s usually placed in front of your goggling eyeballs immediately after being made.

Bon appetit!


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