About the food of the United Arab Emirates

A view of Buhairah Corniche from a residential tower in Sharjah, UAE-by Basil D Soufi

A view of Buhairah Corniche from a residential tower in Sharjah, UAE-by Basil D Soufi

I have a buddy, Brad, who traveled to the United Arab Emirates a few years ago. TheFederation is made up of seven states on the Persian Gulf, including Dubai (where he went). Brad told me about the overwhelming heat, the desert, the glittering skyscrapers, but what really stood out were the UAE islands.

Photo courtesy of NASA.

Photo courtesy of NASA.

The World Archipelago-NASA image created by Jesse Allen

The World Archipelago-NASA image created by Jesse Allen

They actually built islands that look like enormous palm trees. So, if you bought a house on the island, your street might be on the trunk, or one of the leaves.

They even built the world as an island, but as far as I know it’s not populated yet.

Oh, the irony.

The food of the UAE is, in many ways, typical of the Persian Gulf. There’s camel meat, stuffed grape leaves (just like the beauties we made for Qatar), plenty of kebab, hummus, and tabbouleh.

There’s also a sizable amount of Indian food in the UAE, because there are many workers from India in the federation.

Just about all the food is imported, since not much can grow in the UAE. In fact, just about the only thing that does grow here are dates. They’re prepared all manner of ways, buttered and floured (as with the recipe we made for Qatar, and are even added to a yeasted crepe batter. [Recipe]

And… how about we follow it up with a glass of orange blossom infused juice?  [Recipe]

So the question is, what sounds good to you? And would you eat it on an island shaped like a palm tree? Or a continent? 



  1. Mary B says

    I went to Dubai this year and my absolute favorite things were fattoush and the ubiquitous lemon-mint juice – even better when in slushie form 🙂 (I also enjoyed cheese fries at Shake Shack in Mall of the Emirates… we all have weak moments.)

    • Sasha Martin says

      Oh! I made a mint lemonade for Lebanon I think – super yum! Fattoush is another favorite of mine. Sounds awesome.

  2. This appears unbelievably upper-class and unreal as in virtual reality. Are there any children? Does poverty exist? homelessness?

    • Katie says

      I actually work on that palm shaped island, but regarding the above – there are many children, largely the population here is indian and filipino labour and service workers – google dubai labour camp to get an idea how the majority live. while i have never seen homeless people, some sleep many people to an apartment and i have seen advertisements for “shares” in a bed (i buy the day, you buy the night). most true locals and european/north american expats live in the nicer area that you usually see. the class divide here is very, very evident. hope this gives you a bit more insight 🙂 if you ever visit i don’t recommend the summer – it is very hot and humid too!

      • Katie says

        that being said – i do enjoy living here and have met so many wonderful people of various nationalities 🙂 .. plus i love dates!

  3. Actually, looks like there could be an existential crisis looming on the horizon…

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