Exploring Abu Dhabi's Rich Culinary Heritage: Traditional Dishes to Try at Your Event

Exploring Abu Dhabi's Rich Culinary Heritage: Traditional Dishes to Try at Your Event

Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, is a city known for its modern skyline, luxury shopping, and vibrant cultural scene. But beneath the glitz and glamour lies a rich culinary heritage that is as diverse as it is flavourful. When hosting an event in Abu Dhabi, embracing the local food culture can be a delightful way to connect with the city’s traditions and treat your guests to a unique gastronomic experience. In this blog, we’ll take you on a culinary journey through some traditional dishes that you must consider serving at your next event in Abu Dhabi.


  • Al Harees: Al Harees is a slow-cooked dish that holds a special place in Emirati culture, especially during the holy month of Ramadan. It consists of just a few ingredients: wheat, meat (typically chicken or lamb), and a pinch of salt. The magic, however, happens in the cooking process. The mixture is slow-cooked in a clay pot for hours until it transforms into a creamy, porridge-like consistency. Al Harees is often enjoyed as a communal dish, making it perfect for sharing at events.


  • Machboos: Often referred to as the national dish of the UAE, Machboos is a fragrant rice dish cooked with a medley of spices, saffron, and tender chunks of meat, usually lamb or chicken. What gives Machboos its distinctive flavour is the blend of spices, known as “baharat,” which includes cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom. The dish is garnished with fried onions and served with a side of yoghurt.


  • Luqaimat: No Emirati meal is complete without a sweet ending, and Luqaimat is the perfect treat. These small, deep-fried dumplings are drizzled with date syrup or honey, creating a delightful blend of crunchy and sweet. Luqaimat is a popular dessert at celebrations and social gatherings, symbolizing hospitality and togetherness.


  • Al Majboos: Similar to Machboos, Al Majboos is a rice dish made with a mix of spices and tender pieces of meat. What sets it apart is the addition of dried lemon (loomi), which imparts a unique citrusy tang to the dish. Al Majboos is a comforting and aromatic dish that showcases the traditional flavours of the UAE.


  • Shawarma: While Shawarma might not be exclusive to the UAE, it has become an integral part of the local food scene. Marinated strips of beef or chicken are slowly roasted on a vertical rotisserie and then shaved off and served in a flatbread wrap with tahini sauce, vegetables, and pickles. Shawarma stands can be found on almost every street corner in Abu Dhabi, and it’s a popular choice for quick, delicious bites at events.


  • Ghuzi:Ghuzi is a celebratory dish often served during weddings and other special occasions. It features a whole roasted lamb or goat placed atop a bed of aromatic rice garnished with nuts and raisins. The flavours are rich and indulgent, making it a showstopper at any event.


  • Balaleet:Balaleet is a sweet and savoury breakfast dish that’s also enjoyed as a dessert. It consists of saffron-infused vermicelli noodles cooked with cardamom, sugar, and rosewater, and is often topped with a fried egg. Balaleet offers a unique blend of flavours and textures that can add a touch of novelty to your event’s menu.

Incorporating these traditional dishes into your event in Abu Dhabi is not only a culinary experience but also a cultural one. It allows your guests to savour the authentic flavours of the UAE and creates memorable moments that they will cherish. So, whether you’re hosting a corporate gathering, a wedding, or a social event, consider adding these Emirati delicacies to your menu to make it truly special. Abu Dhabi’s culinary heritage is a treasure waiting to be explored, and there’s no better way to do it than through its traditional dishes.