Dubai Cuisine – The best Emirati food in Old Dubai

ethnic dishes in old dubai

No matter how much fun you had at a tourist place, it is incomplete if you don’t get to taste dishes that could propel your gastronomic juices to overflow. Luckily, you don’t have to worry about food if you are traveling to Dubai. You can try foods that are typically from Western and South Asian, European, Middle Eastern, and other countries in Old Dubai. Just name any style of food, be it regional or ethnic, and you will get it instantly in the best places to eat in Dubai. Here are a few ethnic eats of Old Dubai that are a real delight.

EthnicEats of Old Dubai (2)

1.Iranian Chelo Kebab

Iranian Chelo KebabWhen Iranian traders migrated to Dubai at the beginning of 1900, they brought in with them a special style of cooking that was destined to become a staple diet of most Emiratis. This national dish of Iran is made of saffroned basmati rice and is served with grilled tomatoes, rice, and butter spread on the rice. A special powder called Somagh is sprinkled on the rice. This dish is followed by the lamb kababs and a yogurt drink with salt and mint for flavor.

2.Iraqi Maskouf

Iraqi MaskoufYou will not just love eating this dish, but also the preparation if you get to see it. First, you have to select a fish that you wish to eat, which is then weighed to ensure it is enough to satisfy your hunger. The selected fish is opened from the belly into two halves without disturbing the back. Its inside is then marinated with a mixture of olive oil, ground turmeric, tamarind for a bit of sour taste, and rock salt. The fish is then skewered and erected over the pit made of burning charcoals and wood. After a few minutes of cooking, the heat turns the fish into golden-brown, and is ready to serve with condiments.

3.Yemeni Mandi

You may have tasted chicken cooked with different style, but Old Dubai will allow you to taste it in a traditional style of Yemen.  A whole chicken is cooked slowly and for a long time in a clay oven that is dug into the ground. The oven is then covered by a lid with hot coal placed on it. When cooked, the chicken is served by placing it on a bed of rice along with salad, yogurt, nuts and raisins.

4.Lebanese Manousheh

While the Italian pizza has taken the world by storm, Old Dubai is gripped by a different kind of look-alike dish that is a bakery product for breakfast and is made in Lebanese bakeries. The Manousheh, however, not comes flat like a pizza. The middle portion of the dish is made hollow to accommodate a combination of toppings that contain cheese, herbs, sweet jams, eggs, minced lamb, and olive oil.

5.Nepali Momo

Momo is a dumpling famous in Kathmandu, Nepal. It is made of flour, which is kneaded for a good 8 to 10 minutes, depending upon the quantity, and mixed with oil, salt, and water to form the outer covering of momo. It is then fried with filling of different types of meat, vegetables, paneer, cheese, and mashed potato. When ready to eat, it is served with tomato sauce.


Another breakfast dish you must try is Knafeh. It is a favorite breakfast dish of people in Syria, Palestine, and Lebanon. Actually, it is a pastry made of semolina dough with melted soft cheese. Many also savor this tasty pastry as a dessert.

7.South Indian Appam

With lots of south Indians in Dubai for jobs, this famous sweet dish is fancied by tourists and locals. Raw rice along with lentils and fenugreek seeks are soaked for six to eight hours and battered in a grinder to make it smooth. The battered mixture is cooked in an oven to form a round soft and spongy bread. It is best served by sprinkling coconut milk and cardamom powder for taste and aroma.

8.Taboon bread

This flat bread is so named because it is made in a clay oven called as Taboon.  It is a street food served with different fillings. To enjoy it best, have it with olive oil and thyme.

9.Japanese Tsukune

Tsukune or chicken meatball is a Japanese dish seasoned, skewered, and grilled. It is served with sweet and salty soy. Fresh garlic, ginger, and sesame oil are used for seasoning. Egg and breadcrumbs keep the meatballs hold the skewer as well as give shape. It is grilled till it turns brown and ready to serve.

10.Gong Bao Chicken

If you love chicken, then you must try this Chinese dish that is extremely delicious. This style of cooking chicken is a specialty of Sichuan, a city in southwest China. To cook the dish, chicken is diced, and fried with dried chili and peanuts. Cornstarch is used to cover the diced chicken and cooked with mashed garlic, and sweet and sour sauce.

There are many restaurants and bakeries in Old Dubai that serve these ethnic foods. Satisfy your taste buds by visiting any eateries .Here are  a list of restaurant in Dubai which will help you further. Since you are planning a trip here, it’s wise to know how to travel safely during pandemic.