The common questions when thinking of relocating to Dubai for a new business setup in Dubai is ‘what would I eat there?’ ‘Would they have the same kind of food we eat or are used to?’ ‘Would I need to carry raw materials from my native country?’ ‘Would we be able to manage with what we get there?’
These types of questions take hold of our psyche. Why? Because, food is at the top of our priority list; a lack of familiar food can lead to longer adjustment time in a new place. We are slaves of our habits and food is one such important and critical habit. Foodies and non-foodies, both, will attest to the fact that familiar food is the first step to making us comfortable in our new surroundings.
In this piece, let’s see the kind of food ‘we’ can expect and ‘not’ expect in UAE and Dubai.
If you want to start a business in Dubai, then don’t worry at all. It is cosmopolitan in culture and boasts of the best cuisine to sample from. You can expect to taste both Gulf and Mediterranean cuisine which covers Iranian, Lebanese and Arabic food. Lebanese is a ‘trending cuisine’ and considered to be one of the healthiest around. Think of tabbouleh, mehalabiya, matchbous, esh asaraya, hummus, ghuzi, etc.
Don’t stress if you are a vegetarian…
Though the choices will be more limited since the region is predominantly about non-vegetarian food but vegetarian food is also available. Tabbouleh is a vegetarian salad and extremely healthy as well as tasty at the same time.
Another popular food item consumed widely is Falafel. Popular world over, falafel is also a tasty street food in Israel. Falafel is a deep fried patty made from chickpeas fava beans and exotic Mediterranean spices. Again a gem, once you taste falafel, you won’t ask for anything else, ever!
Hummus is another option for you. A well-known dip which has successfully transcended borders, it is made from chickpeas, olive oil, tahini paste, lemon juice, garlic and salt. You can eat it with pita bread to make it a complete meal.
The region is also famous for deserts. Esh asaraya is a sort of a cheesecake with cream topping. One of the most popular deserts in Dubai, this melt-in-the-mouth treat is something you won’t forget once you have it.
You are in for a special treat, if you are a non-vegetarian…
It’s a non-vegetarian’s paradise. So if you are one, then enjoy the delights of the region. One of the most popular dishes is Ghuzi, which is nothing but a whole roasted lamb served on top of rice dotted with vegetables and nuts.
Another popular import is Shawarma, a popular and extremely famous import of Dubai. This has become so popular that it is eaten across the world and especially Asia and New Delhi. Made from lamb or chicken meat, it is wrapped in thin bread [something like our indigenous roti], and is most often accompanied with vegetables, fries, pickle, and occasionally a fruity drink. What makes the dish especially tasty is the way the meat is grilled often taking hours and then thinly sliced and chopped and put in as filling.
Matchbous is a spicy stew made from chicken or lamb. It is popularly made from tomato, chicken and rice. ‘Thin’ or ‘thick’ stew depends on the region, and the way it is served in restaurants depends on the taste and inclination of people who are served.
The only issue is if you ‘only’ like pork then that’s not ‘much’ of an option since UAE is an Islamic religion country and as such, pork is not ‘as’ easily available. The popular and widespread options are lamb, camel, beef and chicken. In Dubai, the major restaurants won’t stock pork though it is still possible to get it from clandestine channels.