One of the major benefits of living and teaching in Abu Dhabi is that with its significant expat population an extraordinary choice of cuisine is available. Today’s UAE diet is one of many international delights, featuring dishes from all over the world including traditional Indian, Lebanese, Chinese and Indonesian fare. You’ll even manage to find fried chicken if you’re really craving some Southern comfort food!
Traditionally, Emirati recipes include a lot of meat, grain and dairy. Vegetables, due to the incredibly warm climate, are easy to grow in certain parts of the UAE and are a major component of the Emirati diet; eggplants are particularly popular and are used in a number of authentic recipes and bases. Traditional dishes include Maqlouba which is a chicken, rice and vegetable concoction typically cooked upside down, Harees; a staple consumed during Ramadan, comprised of wheat berries (think Quinoa) accompanied by lamb or chicken and Mishwy, the Emirati version of a shish kebab. Most traditional Emirati dishes are stew like and, often times, all of the ingredients are placed in a single pot to reduce, resulting in dishes with sophisticated depths of flavor. Popular seasonings used in authentic recipes include Saffron (a staple in the Middle East), thyme and turmeric. Seafood is also a popular component in Emirati cooking and has been so for centuries due to the region’s proximity to the sea. The UAE provides palatable plates combining traditional Arabian flavors with worldly influence, creating a plethora of unique fusion dishes.
As the UAE is Islamic, consuming pork is prohibited so you will not find bacon on any Arab menu. Again, meat, rice and fish are the staples of Emirati cuisine, while lamb and goat are considered more favored meats. You’ll even find camel on the menu from time to time, but this is usually reserved for special occasions only. Popular beverages include coffee and tea, which are often given extra flavor by adding cardamom or mint. Abu Dhabi has a significant number of well-reviewed eateries which are popular among both locals and expats alike. Lebanese restaurants have a significant presence in the region and some highly ranked ones include Al Mayass on Corniche Road and the Lebanese Flower located at Al Muroor Street in Abu Dhabi City. You’re already taking your career on a field trip, so why not take your palate on one as well?