Take a stroll around one of the big malls in modern day Dubai and you’ll spot a wide range of eateries that are familiar from back home.

McDonald’s, Nando’s, KFC, Burger King, Pizza Hut and TGI Fridays are just some of the chains that you will recognise from the UK high street, whilst there are all manner of options if you want to sample cuisine from the across the globe - with countless options that include Italian, Chinese, Indian, French and Greek offerings.

You could even grab some fish and chips to sit and eat when overlooking the ocean if you so desire, which would be a slightly different view to the likes of Blackpool, Scarborough or any other coastal resort in the UK.

Part of the appeal of an overseas holiday however - be that in Dubai or anywhere else in the world - is the chance to sample some of the local delicacies so with that in mind, we’ve pulled together a list of ten dishes to sample when you’re visiting the Emirate.


One of the most famous traditional dishes to be found in Dubai, Harees is something that you’ll certainly want to sample during your trip to the Emirate - and you should be able to find it with relative ease.

The dish is made from crushed wheat which is then slow baked alongside minced meat, onion, butter and spices, and is similar to porridge in its consistency. Whilst it might sound like a savoury dish, Harees can be topped with cinnamon or sugar for those with a sweet tooth.


Luqaimat is a dish that should really come with a health warning, because you’ll find it near impossible to just have one…

Particularly popular during Ramadan, Luqaimat are small, sweet deep-fried pastries that are similar in appearance to doughnuts, and which are traditionally served with a sweet syrup poured over the top.

You can find them made fresh in various cafes across Dubai on a daily basis, and should certainly be sampled at some point during your trip.


You may well be able to guess what Indian dish these are based on, with samboosas being heavily influenced by the samosa found in India.

Whereas a traditional Indian samosa will have potatoes as part of the filling, a samboosa is more likely to be stuffed with meat, vegetables or fish alongside a range of different spices, whilst a version with three types of cheese is also popular.


Knafeh is another dish that doesn’t originate in Dubai but which has now become something of a symbol of the Emirate.

The pastry dish is made using sour cheese, sugar syrup and dough and will often be topped with chopped pistachio nuts. Best served fresh after being made, it’s a dish that is particularly popular during Ramadan when people are breaking their fast.


Margoogat is a staple of Emirati cuisine and something you can find in all manner of places, from small backstreet eateries to the very best luxury hotels. The rich tomato-based stew features a range of different spices including bezar - a local garam masala offering - that provide bags of flavour and heat.

What type of margoogat you get to sample will depend on where in Dubai you are, with chicken and lamb the main options for meat lovers but some places sticking with a vegetarian option with marrow and potato.


Manousheh is similar to a pizza and although it can be eaten at any time of the day, is typically part of the offering at breakfast in Dubai.

The dish is made up of a baked flatbread that can be topped with all manner of different cheeses, meats or spices, with Akkawi - a salty cheese - herbs and oils being one of the more common combinations you might encounter.

Originally found in Lebanon, Manousheh is now a true Dubai classic.


There’s a very good chance that you’ll be offered the chance to sample gahwa during a trip to Dubai with the drink - sometimes simply referred to as Arabic Coffee - being offered as a welcome drink.

Mixed with cardamom and cloves to give a somewhat spicy taste, gahwa is taken hot and often served with dates or chocolate to complement the bitterness of the drink itself.


If you are looking for a slightly healthier dish whilst in Dubai then Tabbouleh will be right up your street. The zesty salad features tomatoes, green onions and cucumber which is then seasoned with both fresh mint and lemon juice.

Often used to accompany other dishes, it can also be enjoyed as a light meal in its own right.


Madrouba is popular across the Emirates, including Dubai where it has plenty of fans. Rice, garlic, onion and tomatoes are combined as the base of the dish, which can also then include fish, lamb or - most commonly - chicken.

Add some yoghurt and seasoning and then mash it all together until smooth and the meal is complete.


Rather than a specific dish, we’ll also throw camel into the mix as something you might want to sample during a trip to Dubai. It’s not something that would traditionally feature on the dinner table but a number of restaurants are now introducing camel meant onto their menus in everything from burgers to stews.

Camel milk and camel ice cream are also becoming increasingly common.