The Best Local Dishes to Eat in Abu Dhabi

  • Machboos Abu Dhabi Food

Abu Dhabi is the only city in the Middle East that can give Dubai a run for its money. Abu Dhabi has stunning desert along with beautiful coastline which gives a massive boost to the fishing industry. When it comes to food, Abu Dhabi is right there giving a competition to Dubai. There are plenty of cuisine one can try here from French, Chinese, American, Indian and many more. Needless to say, this city has all kinds of cuisine from all over the world. However, it’s the local food which makes it even more unique in Abu Dhabi. Here’s a list of few local cuisines which must be tried if Abu Dhabi is your next destination for a vacation.

  1. Harees – Harees is a traditional dish made especially during Ramadan and weddings. Cooking Harees usually requires effort and time, but the end result is worth the wait. Harees is made of wheat, chicken meat, and just salt for seasoning. To understand the process, it’s divided in to 2 steps.                                                                                      a.  First Step – With the help of a huge pot, the ground wheat is cooked with chicken and salt for a few hours on a gentle heat. The chicken meat has to mix well with the wheat.                                                                                     b. Last step – It is then transferred on to a clay pot which is kept outside in a hole in the ground, and covered with hot charcoal. Leave it for a few hours and let all the flavours emulsify. At the end, the mixture is stirred with the help of a special wooden spoon and then served.


  1. Salona – If you prefer soup with the addition of meat then Salona is something you’ll love. Salona is easy to make. The meat is first boiled in water along with onions. After a while, fresh, local vegetables such as courgettes, eggplant, okra and bell peppers are added to give flavour. In the end, tomato paste is added to lift the intensity of the soup making it mouth-watering.


  1. Madrooba – U.A.E.’s main cuisine is seafood. All the fish come in a variety of colour, size and shapes. Depending on how you would want to eat, the seafood is grilled, boiled, fried, poached or slow-cooked. And the most popular of the lot is Madrooba, which highly preferred by the locals. This dish is prepared by the use of any salt-cured fish. It may a little different but that’s not the case with this dish. The fish is rinsed thoroughly and then cooked in a pot of water by adding a few spices slowly. Also, there’s the addition of flour which gives the broth texture and thickness. Ghee is added on top when served which makes it melt on your tongue like butter. Try it once and you’ll always want to have it.


  1. Machboos – Rice and meat is what makes Machboos simple yet a delicious meal. At first, it may sound boring when you hear about the dish because it mainly consists of a few things. But what most people don’t know is that, the cooked meat is made richer with the addition of a secret blend of spices. Meat can be of any type except pork obviously, but it is fairly simple to make. The preferred meat is first boiled in water along with the secret spices. Then fried, chopped onions, along with different vegetables like potato, green peppers and tomatoes are added. Later, saffron is added to deepen the flavour of the dish along with layering of the rice. Machboos is then transferred to an oven for 10 minutes. Serve it hot!


  1. Luqaimat – Save some room for dessert. Luqaimat is a traditional dessert consisting of syrupy dough balls made to be enjoyed at the end of a lavish meal. It is light and fluffy making it an absolute favourite with everyone. When you bite in to it, it will take you to another dimension. It is the perfect end to traditional and delicious Emirati meal.


Local dishes in Abu Dhabi are simply not to be missed, because they stand out in a league of their own. Dubai has many fancy restaurants, but Abu Dhabi preserves and propagates U.A.E.’s traditional dishes and cooking styles, making it unique and different. The Middle Eastern classics found in Abu Dhabi are quite different, compared to other cities in UAE. So, on your trip to Abu Dhabi, forget fast foods, and junk food, gorge on these traditional; dishes to truly appreciate the beauty of Abu Dhabi.


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