Cuisine serves as a gateway to understanding culture. It is a culinary expression that bonds people from diverse backgrounds and lifestyles through shared experiences and feelings associated with food. 

UAE has made a significant mark in the international culinary scene for its high-quality food, variety, and consistency. Emirati cuisine, a highlight of UAE’s landscape, is flavorful and aromatic. Emirates like Ras Al Khaimah boast many restaurants offering the perfect setting to enjoy a traditional middle eastern meal. If you are a foodie on the lookout for delicious eats and treats, here’s a guide to Emirati cuisine and what you must try during your stay in the UAE. 

Harees (Entrée):

A classic Emirati dish with roots in the pre-Islamic era, Harees is a comforting porridge perfect for special occasions like Ramadan, Eid, and weddings. The dish is a wholesome combination of wheat and meat like chicken or lamb. Slow cooked and seasoned with aromatic spices.


Al Machboos (Entrée):

Also known as majboos is a one-pot wonder is a flavorful representation of Emirati cuisine, combining rice, meat, and an array of spices for a truly aromatic experience. Similar to a biryani or pilaf it features tender pieces of meat like chicken, lamb or fish and is cooked with spices and saffron flavored rice. The blend of flavors and textures makes this a popular dish with locals and visitors.


Thareed (Entrée):

Thareed, an Emirati pot pie, is a hearty stew rooted in Bedouin culture, featuring slow-cooked meat, vegetables, and thin crispy flat bread called “ragag”. Thareed can be sampled at the following establishments around the UAE.


Balaleet (Breakfast/Appetizer):

Balaleet is a unique Emirati breakfast dish, balancing sweet and savory flavors with vermicelli noodles, sugar, and spices, all topped with fluffy, scrambled eggs. Both sweet and savory Balaleet is the breakfast of champions to try.


Luqaimat (Dessert):

A favorite during festive celebrations, Luqaimat are delicious doughnut-like dumplings deep-fried to perfection and are crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. Drizzled with a sweet syrup called dibs or date molasses, this dessert is often served during Ramadan and other special occasions.

  • Dubai: Milas Restaurant 
    • Address: The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai, Dubai, UAE 
    • Phone: +971 4 388 2313 
    • Website:
  • Abu Dhabi: Ayam Elezz Restaurant 
    • Address: The Mall at World Trade Center, Al Markaziyah, Abu Dhabi, UAE 
    • Phone: +971 2 626 8244 
    • Website:
  • Ras Al Khaimah: Sapore Italian Restaurant & Café 


Al Hareesah (Dessert):

Al Hareesah is a traditional Emirati dessert that highlights the region’s staple fruit, the date, cooked with butter, sugar, and spices for a warm, comforting treat. Slow-cooked to perfection, this smooth, porridge-like treat has a velvety texture. 



Madrooba (Entrée):

Often called “Emirati lasagna”, Madrooba is a rich, creamy dish layered with fish or chicken, spices, yogurt, and roux, then baked until golden. Cooked slowly until the flavors meld, this comforting dish is often enjoyed with flatbread or rice.


Different cuisines worldwide represent distinctive flavors, and Emirati Cuisine is no exception. They abundantly use cardamom, thyme, and saffron, giving their dishes a unique and aromatic profile. Additionally, meat and poultry play a significant role in Emirati cuisine, adding richness and depth to their culinary creations.

Additionally, Emirati cuisine is full of flavors and benefits. These dishes are rich in carbohydrates, proteins, and essential nutrients that help reduce the risks of chronic diseases and ensure optimal health. Emiratis use lots of meat, cereals, and dairy in their food, which waters the mouth of those who smell the aroma of it from long distances. Emirati cuisine is a fusion of different taste strands, drawing influences from Arabic, Persian, and Mediterranean culinary traditions, resulting in a truly unique and delightful dining experience.

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