ALL ABOUT THE EMIRATI CUISINE
A food lover’s paradise lies right here!
The huge influx of expats that have been flocking to this Arab nation makes it one of the diverse countries of the world. You’ll find everything from the globe – Indian spices, Lebanese breads, American burgers, Italian pastas or the authentic Chinese chopsticks.
However, the traditional Emirati cuisine that is the local cuisine of the country is also very much alive. It is said to pay strong tribute to the location, climate, and culture of UAE. Since its forefathers stepped in the country, with their base in Dubai’s coastal area, fishing and pearl diving became their main source of income turning seafood as the base of the cuisine.
As the growth of farming grew in the region, meat was added and rice was adapted from the nearby countries. Many travelers brought in different spices and the inspiration along with the cuisine kept growing. Pork and alcohol were always kept away and were never used in the cuisine, following the strict rules and regulations of the Islamic tradition and culture.
Due to the harsh weather conditions of the country, lots of meat, cereal and dairy products are used. Growing vegetables seemed to be quite a difficult task, resulting in low featuring in the diet. As camels are the national animal of the country, their meat and milk is served only on special occasion and are pricey.
An Emirati meal is said to begin with a variety of fresh leafy vegetables and juices, after which the main course is served. Mandi, as it is famously known as is one of the traditional rice dishes that is seasoned with mixed spices, dry fruits, and nuts and is usually covered with fish, chicken or meat and is a famous delicacy of the country of UAE.
There are also a couple of authentic restaurants that still serve this dish in an authentic and traditional way. It formerly has guests sitting on the ground in an area known as a majlis with cushions all around. The seating area is made for the guests to enjoy their meals at ease and comfort. It depicts the warmth and the hospitality of the Emiratis.
The Emirati culture is well reflected in the food and cuisine. In the traditional Emirati culture that is still lively followed till date, ensures that any visitor or guest is served with the traditional tea, coffee, fresh fruits and juices and homemade meal, whether it’s a restaurant or an invitation at home. Not to forget the desserts, they’re all based on natural flavors and organic ingredients mainly having dates, wheat pastries, served with red tea infused with mint leaves that is said to aid digestion.
Today, UAE is known to be the traveler’s hub that is connecting the East to the West with a growing expatriates population that bring in their culture and cuisine to the UAE’s making it even more better. This has led to many creative fusions and we’re still expecting more of such, but with all due respect keeping the traditional Emirati cuisine always alive.