Where to eat, food and drink United Arab Emirates
Today, the big cities of the Emirates are full of countless restaurants selling all the kitchens of the world, or almost. On the top of the basket, the best hotels have attracted top chefs whose preparations do not pale in front of the best Western establishments.
The others debit a middle eastern food more or less successful which brings together in the same menu the great Maghrebian, Egyptian and Lebanese classics.
In the small emirates, the variety is often limited to Indian restaurants.
The ultimate inexpensive snack is called shawarma, the Lebanese equivalent of Turkish kebab or Greek souvlaki. It is prepared with chicken or lamb. A bigger hunger? Order an assortment of half, to spread on unleavened bread. Next to the classics tabbouleh Lebanese style (drowned in parsley) and houmous (mashed chickpeas, sesame paste and lemon), we also find vine leaves (wara enab), Eggplant caviar (moutabal), fried cheese, white bean salads, etc. You will also eat without breaking the bank a curry or a biryani in the small Indian and Pakistani restaurants, present in all the cities.
What about Emirati cuisine in all of this? And first, it is rarely found in restaurants. And two, it only offers a few options. Among these throne the essential ghouzi festive meals. A lamb or a young camel on a barbecue, stuffed with rice, almonds and spices. Little chance that you will have the opportunity to taste it unless you convert to Islam and marry yourself with a young Emirati who fell under your spell ...
Instead, go hunting for machbous, common version of ghouzi, made from mutton or chicken. The rice is flavored with cardamom, nutmeg, paprika, pepper, cloves, cumin ... A real dictionary of spices! Another good option: stuffed zucchini (koussa mahshi).
Seafood lovers will taste the fish, prawns and crabs from Gulf waters. The madrooba is a dish of dried and rehydrated fish, cod-style, with melted butter.
Desserts and pastries
For dessert, go to the market and stock up on dates. The best are the Iranians, which are as soft as you want, but the Emirati women are not bad either. The opportunity to leave with a few pomegranates, oranges and other peaches from Central Asia by air.
When it comes to pastries, you can now find everything: English cupcakes, chocolate cakes in coffeeshops and, all the same, a few knafa and other baklava brimming with syrup, honey, molasses and / or nuts.
Other ingredients of choice:rose water, which we find for example in the mehalabiya, a pistachio pudding, and the khanfaroosh, a fried bread with cardamom and saffron.
We do not advise you to snub tap water for the risks it would represent, but for its bad taste ... Desalination does not work miracles on that side! Otherwise, you can find cheap bottled water everywhere.
Much more pleasant, fruit juices are available in all tones, to all tastes. Is orange a little classic? Bet on mango, strawberries, even ... avocado!
The UAE, for their part, stick mainly to the coffee. Unthinkable to meet without a good cup in front of you. With friends, family, for business, coffee is always there. Starbucks, it will hardly be surprising, has established itself well and many American-style coffeehouses have appeared (with wifi access in general).
In traditional ghahwa, the mocha is brewed in a brass coffee maker, spiced with cardamom and sweetened before being served in tiny cups. You can ask for it to be less sweet (mazbout), or even sugar-free (murra). Never forget to let the marc rest before drinking and do not lower more than three cups. Beyond that, you would pass for a goujat! Nothing prevents you, however, from ordering a shisha. Tobacco in water pipes is often flavored.
Contrary to rumors circulating, it is not forbidden to drink it in the Emirates - except in Sharjah. Its sale is, however, controlled, and only hotel restaurants and bars have the right to sell it. This situation has given rise to ubiquitous situations, where almost imaginary hotels with two or three bedrooms house huge boxes selling vodka and whiskey galore ...
Only foreign residents with a permit can buy alcoholic beverages (beer included) in specialty stores. The legal drinking age is 21.
Caution : behind the wheel is zero tolerance !