As a result, the city has one of the most diverse restaurant scenes in the world. Arva Ahmed writes Dubai food blog I Live In A Frying Pan. She gives us her pick of Dubai’s culinary gems.
How would you describe Dubai’s food scene?
Incredibly diverse. Dubai is a place where you could pull up a chair at a Michelin-starred, internationally renowned restaurant, or wander off to taste ethnic specialities in the more historic parts of town.
What are your favourite restaurants?
My favourite places tend to be the ones that take me into the heart of Old Dubai, and give me an insight into the cultures of immigrants that moved to the city when it was still an infant trading port.
I enjoy Al Tawasol in Deira, where I can sit cross-legged in a Yemeni majlis and share a communal platter of mandi (meat cooked in a tandoor), for instance.
What food would you say is a must-try for visitors?
It would have to be the local Emirati cuisine. Notably, balaleet (shredded omelettes with sweet fragrant vermicelli) and qouzi (roasted lamb served over rice), polished off with a sip of gahwa (Arabic coffee).
What’s your top pick for a secret eat?
It’s a Palestinian restaurant in Deira, Qwaider Al Nabulsi. They serve the best Arabic cheese pie, or kunafa, in town.
Order the brownish na’ama version with ground semolina on top, and ask them to serve it extra hot, so that the sweet nabulsi cheese bubbles out onto the plate.
Where’s good to chill out?
QDs at the Park Hyatt hotel. You can cosy up at a table just steps from Dubai Creek and puff on traditional hubbly bubbly, or shisha, with views over the water.