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Traditional Food In UAE

Updated: May 22, 2021

Emirati cuisine is the traditional Arabic cuisine of the United Arab Emirates and shares remarkable similarities with cuisines from neighboring countries, such as Omani cuisine and Saudi Arabian cuisine, Indian Cuisine as well as many Middle Eastern and Asian cuisines.

Here Are 18 Traditional Food you should try in UAE.

Enjoy Reading!

Khobz Khamer

It is one of the traditional Emirati bread.

It is usually served in breakfast meals.

The bread is a mixture of yeast, flour, milk powder and is sprinkled with sesame seeds and cooked to a toasty brown color.

Khameer bread can be stuffed with cream, date paste, and nuts for a sweet stuffing,

Or falafel, cheese, labneh, basil, or black olives as savory stuffings.



One of the most well-known bread in the UAE and the Gulf region.

Cooked on a special pan over high heat.

Usually, toppings such as cheese, eggs, honey are added while the bread is cooking.

It looks like the crepe.

The dough is made using three ingredients: whole wheat flour, water, and salt.

Sometimes Rigag bread dipped in milk or yogurt to form an entire meal.

In Ramadan iftar or suhoor meals, the bread is sometimes broken up and sprinkled into chicken or lamb stews.



Harees is one of the most popular Emirati dishes.

It is made of meat and wheat.

Wheat and meat with a pinch of salt cooked together in boiling water for hours until both components of this mixture make a smooth paste that will be further cooked in a covered clay pot with coal almost overnight.

Harees served after topping local ghee on it in flat plates.

It looks like porridge.

It is seasoned with pepper, cinnamon, and salt.

This dish is commonly served during Ramadan, weddings, and Eid festivals.



Tharid is basically a stew layered with or served on flatbread (Roti or Rokak bread).

The stew combines juicy meat with a selection of slow roasted vegetables potatoes, tomatoes, marrow and pumpkin.

The bread is generally placed at the bottom of the dish, with the stew layered on top of it.

Tharid is a popular meal especially during Ramadan to break the fast.



It is another very famous traditional dish of UAE.

This dish is usually made with rice, meat( or chicken or shrimp), vegetables, and a mixture of spices, onion and dried lemon (Loomy), raisins, nuts, and other seasonings include salt and spices turmeric, cumin, cardamom, and saffron.

All the ingredients are cooked well in boiling water till they become tender.

When the meat is tender, the pieces are removed from the pot, and rice is added and cooked in the same stock.

Once the rice is cooked, the meat is added together with some fried chopped onions, potatoes, tomatoes, green peppers, and other vegetables.

The dish is then cooked over low heat for at least two more hours to give it more flavor.

wiener schnitzel


Ouzi, or guzi, is the United Arab Emirates’ national dish

Ouzi is prepared with mutton and served with rice, nuts, onions, vegetable oil, and vegetables with a generous amount of spices cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaves, white pepper, salt, black pepper.

The sauce is prepared from flour, butter, meat broth, cinnamon, black pepper, and salt.

This dish is decorated with fried nuts such as pine, almonds, and cashew nuts.

It is served on special occasions.

Tandoori Chicken

Stuffed Camel

This dish has gained a special like and has also been mentioned in the Guinness Book of World Records due to its big size.

It is a broiled camel, stuffed with lamb which is stuffed with one or more than one chicken. rice and sometimes even with fish.

Served in Weddings festivals.

Stuffed Camel


While biryani is not an Arabic dish, You will find it on the menus of most of the restaurants in UAE.

The main ingredients of this dish are basmati rice as well as meat or fish, or Chicken.

The meat is first marinated with a variety of spices, including the famous Emirati spice mix, and then fried, while the rice is not fully cooked.

A layered combination of rice and meat is then put in one big pot and left to steam for a long time.

Served with a garnish of nuts and fried onions.

Butter Chicken


This dish consists of chicken, cooked with zucchini, carrots, wheat, and potatoes with black pepper.


This dish is for those who love seafood.

Madrooba is an Emirati dish made of Hammour fish with Egyptian rice, tomato, garlic, onion, cloves, and cinnamon.

It is also made of meat or chicken.




This is the most popular traditional Emirati dessert.

It consists of small deep-fried dumplings, that are then soaked in sweet syrup, honey, sticky date syrup known as dibs.



Balaleet is a traditional Emirati sweet and salty breakfast dish.

This dish is made from vermicelli, cardamom, saffron, sugar.

Usually served with fried eggs.

It is sometimes served with sautéed onions or potatoes.

This dish is well known in Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and the UAE.

It may be different from one country to another.

It is usually served in breakfast, and also as a dessert in Ramadan.



Khanfaroosh is a famous dessert in UAE.

It is made of flour, eggs, sugar, yeast, cardamom, saffron, and rose water syrup.

It is usually served with tea and coffee.



A sweet made with chopped fresh dates mixed with flour and butter, or clarified butter.


Al-Jabab bread

It is one of the delicious Emirati desserts.

This is similar to pancakes, yet it has the flavor of the Emirati syrup that contains rosewater, cardamom, and honey.

Jabab Bread


Arabic Coffee

A symbol of Arabian hospitality.

"Gahwa" coffee in Emirati slang is typically spiced with cardamom, cumin, cloves, and saffron.

Poured from a classic Arabian coffee pot called "Dallah" -an elegant and decorated silver or gold container-and served in small cups without handles, called "Finjan".

Usually served alongside a platter of fresh dates.

Arabic Coffee

Karak Tea

Karak tea is made with black loose tea leaves, crushed cardamom, saffron, and sugar.

The main ingredient for the color and taste of Karak Tea is actually made with evaporated milk.

Karak is derived from the word ‘kadak’ which means strong in Hindi.

Karak Tea


A classic Arabic drink is the Jallab.

It is made from carob, dates, grape molasses, and rose water, with optional toppings of pine nuts and raisins. It’s a popular drink on a hot summer night, especially during Ramadan.

Jallab is also very popular in Jordan, Syria, Palestine, and Lebanon.


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