Bucketlist Travels logo

Travel bucket list idea:

Dubai’s best food & drink

  • Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE)

  • Bucket List Experience

Last updated: 19 April, 2024

Emirati food is similar to other Arabic cuisines, with cardamom, saffron, turmeric, thyme and cinnamon as central flavours, but with the city home to almost 200 nationalities, you’ll find a restaurant or café serving dishes from almost anywhere in the world.

In recent years, Dubai has become a serious gastro-hub, with dozens of international celebrity chefs setting up outposts within the city’s top hotels. However, for those looking for more affordable eats, there are excellent and more authentic Indian, Pakistani, Persian and Lebanese restaurants and cafes.

What to try

Harees is a classic Emirati dish to look out for, with small pieces of meat combined with cracked wheat and spices to form a kind of thick porridge. Shawarma chicken wraps are a delicious, omnipresent snack.

For the ultimate sweet treat, Loqaimat are deep-fried dough balls, best-served piping hot with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and a generous pour of date syrup.

Who to go with: tour operators

11

Al Karama district

  • Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Al Karama district

Experience

Al Karama is home to a large proportion of Dubai’s South Asian population, and some of the city’s best food. Head here for a food safari through flavours from Kerala, Hyderabadi biryanis, Indian street foods, and much more.

Good for age: 18+

Al Labeeb Grocery

  • Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Al Labeeb Grocery

Experience

A hole-in-the-wall on Jumeirah Beach Road, this is the spot to try regag bread, a type of local crepe cooked on a hot skillet. Go for the cream cheese, Chips Oman and chilli sauce version for the real deal.

Good for age: 18+

Arabian Teahouse

  • Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Arabian Teahouse

Experience

A delightful former trader’s house in Al Fahidi where you could spend hours sitting in the atmospheric courtyard beneath the shady tree, sipping a mint lemonade or sweet karak tea.

Good for age: 18+

Balqees Honey

  • Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Balqees Honey

Experience

Balqees stocks honey from many diverse locations, but their selection of Yemeni honey, renowned as being some of the best in the world, as well as Emirati honey, is worth saving space in your suitcase for.

Good for age: 18+

Bateel

  • Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Bateel

Experience

Bateel’s dates are second to none. Choose from various gourmet varieties, or go for dates stuffed with candied ginger, caramelised macadamia, roasted cashew, and much more. Available at various spots around the city including the Mall of the Emirates and the Dubai Mall.

Good for age: 18+

Camelicious Camel Milk Farm

  • Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Akkawi Cheese from Middle Eastern cow's milk sliced on sauna bench desk wood board table

Experience

Drive out to this dairy camel farm on the outskirts of Dubai to visit the dromedaries and watch them being milked. Sample fresh camel milk, as well as flavoured milks and ice cream. Its creamy flavour belies the fact that it’s 50% lower in fat than cow’s milk.

Good for age: 8+

Mirzam Chocolate Makers Factory & Store

  • Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Mirzam Chocolate Makers Factory & Store

Experience

A chocolate factory making everything from bean to bar in Dubai, Mirzam’s creations feature regional ingredients and rich storytelling, involving everything from ancient maritime trade routes and sea monsters to Emirati traditions. Don’t miss the lovely cafe in the Al Quoz neighbourhood..

Good for age: 4+

Spice Souk

  • Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Variety of spices and herbs on the arab street market stall. Dubai Spice Souk, United Arab Emirates.

Experience

While some stores feel a little touristy, locals really do stock up on spices here too. From Iranian saffron to piles of chilis, cloves and spice mixes, the shopkeepers will be happy to tell you about their stock and how you can use the spices back home.

Good for age: 18+

  • Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Union Coop

Experience

Union Coop

While on the surface this may appear to be a less-than-glamorous supermarket, it’s one of the best places to pick up food souvenirs to take home. Spices, zaatar, dates, cheeses, Arabic coffee and more are all available at affordable prices and high quality. Venues across the city.

Good for age: 18+

Logistics

Price: Free
Minimum age: 0
Age suitable: 18+
When: All year around
Duration: -

Getting there & doing it

There are a number of good food tours operating around the city, some with themes (see our Viator recommendations). Local operator Nara offer a 4-hour upscale version, including a stop at the Arabaian Teahouse and the Mizrim Chocolate Factory.

Who to go with: organised tours

5

Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity

  • Dubai

Join me on one of the most beautiful areas in Dubai and create memories you cannot forget during this Fun tour which is mix of Street Food, Museums, shopping, culture and history. Let me show you this unique side of Dubai like no other can! Enjoy stress-free visit to the local markets (souks) and Explore Grand Souk, spice Souk and Gold Souk and get the best deals with Aladdin. Visit the main highlights of old Dubai and the museums in Fahidi historical neighborhood and learn a lot about Culture, history, beliefs and lifestyle of Dubai and Arabs explained with fun. All this while getting stuffed with several tastings including arabic coffee, Tea, dates, chocodates and street food. Cruise Dubai Creek with the traditional boat (Abra) and enjoy the best views .

Price $32

Min age 0

Rating 4.89 / 5 [2390 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

Viator Logo
Website >
  • Dubai

Join a friendly resident food-lover and certified guide who will take you through our favorite Middle Eastern restaurants and shops in the bustling district of Murraggabat in Deira. We walk from one restaurant to another, sampling Palestinian, Lebanese, Syrian and Iraqi treats while sharing stories of Dubai and of food along the way. Our food tour route covers a spectrum of flavours from across the Middle East – herb green falafels and creamy hummus from the Levant, delicious Syrian fare (both vegetarian and non vegetarian options!), cardamom-scented Arabic coffee from the Gulf and traditional Iraqi food that will either be a giant smoked fish with tangy mango pickle or juicy lamb kebabs (depends on group size). In addition, we experience the time-tested customs of Arabic coffee and sample fresh sweet cheese pastry right off the stove. **The Syrian stop is omitted during summer months of May - September.

Price AED 508

Min age 14

Rating 4.91 / 5 [170 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

Viator Logo
Website >
  • Dubai

Eat your way through Dubai's culinary scene on a private food tour. Go on a delicious journey as you try 10 of the best food items beloved by the locals: from savory to sweet and local drinks; this tour will leave every foodie satisfied! Enjoy tastings typical of the local cuisine and hand-picked by a local guide passionate about food like Camel milk date and Falafel. But that's not it! This tour is more than just food; it's a cultural experience! In between food stops, you'll also find city highlights making this experience a well-rounded tour that will satisfy every foodie. Withlocals The 10 Tastings Private Food Tour™ is one of Withlocals' signature tours available in major cities worldwide. We work with passionate local guides who earn a fair fee. We support local economies by only offering local produce and prevent over-tourism with only small non-intrusive groups. Our tours are carbon-neutral and away from the standard tourist routes.

Price €169

Min age 5

Rating 4.53 / 5 [122 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

Viator Logo
Website >
  • Dubai

Dive into the heart of Old Dubai on a captivating 4-hour journey that showcases the city's soul beyond the usual tourist paths. Begin with a nostalgic treat hidden in the souk's alleys, igniting your adventure. Engage in our own exhilarating spice game, SPINGO, where you'll explore and learn, crowned by an icy delight to refresh your senses. Experience the charm of Dubai Creek on a traditional abra, leading you to the vibrant textile souk of Bur Dubai. Wind down the evening by savoring a beloved Indian street snack before indulging in an authentic Emirati feast in a historic home from the early 1900s. Our spread will feature a sumptuous rice and lamb pilaf, a hearty vegetable stew, and dumplings sweetened with decadent date molasses. Join us to experience Old Dubai's must-dos, from spice souks to dinner in Fahidi, in a way that feels like exploring with friends. Note: One eating stop is skipped from May - September.

Price AED 508

Min age 8

Rating 4.98 / 5 [108 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

Viator Logo
Website >