Dubai is one of the greatest places in the Gulf and Middle East to sample authentic and exotic cuisine. When you visit the area, you have the chance to try out a wide assortment of special dishes including Arabic and Lebanese entrees. Some of the most popular food items in the area are starters and salads with popular staples including matchbous, hummus, ghuzi, esh asaraya, and mehalabiya.

Here are just a few of the foods that you should try if you are new to the area or planning a special event while staying in Dubai.

Al Harees

One of the exotic dishes created by the United Arab Emirates, Al Harees is a unique food creation that takes many hours to prepare but is well worth the wait. This simple food is made by combining a pinch of salt with a pot of wheat and adding meat to it. You cook the entire mixture until it has a smooth texture. Afterwards, it is baked for a few hours and served. You can eat the dish as it is or add it to other recipes to create a variety of flavours.


This is a staple dish in the area and one that many catering companies in Dubai prepare on a regular basis. Known as ta’amia in the Middle East, falafel is one of the most popular dishes in the Arab East. It is also commonly eaten as a snack in Israel. The recipe is basically a modified version of chips and is served as a side dish along with chickpeas and various types of spices.


Hummus has gained popularity throughout the world and is now very popular in the West as well as where it originated in the East. It is made from chickpeas, olive oil, tahini paste, lemon juice, garlic, and salt. Often served with pita bread, hummus is the ideal snack or appetiser that you can enjoy before any type of meal. It makes a great dip for a variety of foods and it is available in many different flavours.


Ghuzi is a popular food that is often served in many of the top-rated restaurants in Dubai. It is made from whole roasted lamb that is served on top of rice, nuts, and vegetables. If you are planning to get the most out of your Dubai dining experience, you should give this traditional dish a try.


This is yet another recipe that is made from lamb meat and is one of the most exotic dishes in all of Dubai cuisine. Matchbous is made from lamb enhanced with spices, tomato stew, and rice. The spice that is added to the meat is loomi, made from a combination of salt water and limes. To enjoy the unique taste and culture of the East, this is one dish you must try and once you do, you are sure to order it again.


One of the most famous foods in all of Asia, Shawarma is a dish that is made from either lamb or chicken. You can include an assortment of vegetables or add chips, pickles, and a tasty garlic sauce. The flavour and preparation of shawarma will vary from one location to another and it has grown in popularity so much that it is also becoming a favoured dish in the West as well. In Dubai, shawarma is often served along with a fruity strawberry-banana flavoured drink.