If you really want to get to know a place, eat their food.
It’s safe to say that food has become much more than just a commodity we humans need to survive. Well, okay, that’s still its main purpose, but it has served many great uses in the study of people, culture, and tradition as well. We have been studying people and many cultures all over the world based on what they eat and how they ate it for years and years. However, can the same be said about an extremely multicultural place such as Dubai? Will the availability of numerous cuisines somehow subdue Dubai’s own cultural identity? Let’s see!
Food and cuisine in Dubai has somehow been shadowed over by the big infrastructures and truly exceptional tourist destinations over the past years. When one thinks of this desert metropolis they think Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall, and the likes – again, big infrastructures and tourist destinations. What about the food, though? Well, this might just have something to do with Dubai being the city of all nations.
With over 90% of its residents expat nationals, it is no surprise that Dubai indeed has a lot on its plate, quite literally! What most people fail to know is that a visit to Dubai might as well be a trip around the globe for the taste senses. With multiple hubs and centers dedicated solely for food establishments and restaurants, you can be in Japan for lunch and Italy for dinner. Not to mention the fact that most restaurants here go all out when it comes to the overall look and feel, and in this case – taste. Dubai likes it grand and this is no secret, which is why when we say all out, we mean all out! ‘Typical’ restaurants are the rarity here in Dubai. What’s more common are establishments that go well over the top with its ambiance, service, and food quality.
Indeed, the food scene in Dubai is immensely underrated. But this doesn’t stop it whatsoever from being one of the best in the world. So in terms of the cultural relevance of the food and cuisine in Dubai, we can say that it is indeed present but just not quite there yet. What we do know, though, is that Dubai is definitely on the right track, it consumes and embraces all these different cultures without allowing its own to die out. No matter which restaurant or establishment you go to, you will always find a Middle Eastern twist of some sort. And don’t assume they’ve forgotten about that Arabian goodness as well, we have shawarmas served like spring rolls and kebabs cooked in Asian sauce. There are also numerous Dhow restaurants, which basically are restaurants on a traditional Arabian boat (a Dhow) that sail through the creeks of Dubai while guests have a dining experience truly unlike any other, complete with 5-star treatment and exclusive Middle Eastern entertainment. (Try out Rustar Cruise if this tickles your taste senses!)
That being said, Dubai has done well in terms of incorporating other cultures without stepping on its own. In fact, they’ve done just the opposite and successfully mixed the magic of other nations’ culture with theirs and created a fusion which I believe will be its benchmark when it comes to it finding its own edge in the foodie world. Indeed, one can truly experience the wonder that is Dubai through its food, because much like Dubai, its food is nothing short of world class.