Does your family get all worked up, worried what they would get to eat when travelling abroad for a vacation ? Add the name Dubai or Middle East specifically to that and you would imagine starving there without veg food. Well, revelation revelation . Not only would you find tons of veg food but some of the best things to eat. Read on in our Dubai vegetarian special. Here’s our list of favourite veg dishes to try when in Dubai :
- PappaRoti : This is, according to us to one of the best things you can put in your mouth along with coffee. Trust me when I say this, I eat almost everything and I have eaten a lot of things thus far. A soft warm bun filled with a filling of your choice – from plain butter cream to raspberry jam, served with a steaming cup of coffee of choice. Pure bliss and heaven. A yummy Dubai vegetarian special. Good news is you’ve started to get them in India now but not everywhere, just in a few malls in the metros. So, do try it while you are visiting Dubai.
- Where to find : Lookout on Google Maps for multiple outlets throughout Dubai. You’re always sure to find them in the malls.
- Cost : Combos of PappaRoti + Coffee served inside the malls will cost you around AED 20 ( roughly 350 rupees )
- Dates : Are you crazy, you’d be thinking ? Why would I have dates ( read: khajoor ) in Dubai ? Trust us on this, this is not your plain plastic bag date we’re talking about. The choices leave you looking for dates to have dates – from almond and pistachio filled ones to ones with chocolate coating to few which drip in honey. Yum, yum, yum. Dates are an integral part of Emirati culture, they are served to guests when them come home or to share as gifts during festivals. No wonder there is an amazing variety of dates to try out from, made more delicious in the date processing factories of Dubai. Add to it an amazing variety of dates from Saudi, Yemen and all over the Middle East which are available in the markets of Dubai.
- Where to find : If you’re eating at an Emirati restaurant, they will serve it complimentary. You will also find a lot of candy store like stalls in the malls selling dates. We however recommend you head out to Bur Dubai ( take the metro to Al Fahidi station ) which has a huge Indian population settled there and buy some great varieties from the many shops there. Do ask to try before you buy.
- Cost : You can get pre-packed boxes starting AED 5 ( roughly 85 rupees ). Good ones with chocolate coatings or nice almond fillings will start from AED 20 ( roughly 350 rupees ) and go all the way upto AED 120 ( roughly 2000 rupees )
- Luqaimat ( Emirati dessert ) : This is another gem we discovered by chance during our travels and absolutely recommend you to try. Hot and fried donuts with cardamon & saffron syrup dripping from them – just melt in your mouth goodness. I bet you can’t just try one. This should be the sheikh cousin to our humble gulab jamun. And since you would rarely find them in India, unless someone makes them at home, do try it in Dubai.
- Where to find : Most Emirati restaurants will have them on their menu or buffet spreads. We also found them being sold in small roadside shacks on our way to the dessert safari. Try before you buy.
- Cost : A bunch of them would cost you no more than AED 10 ( roughly 170 rupees ) depending on the place.
- Babaganush: A favourite vegetarian dish across the middle-east including Dubai all the way till Turkey, this is an elevated version of the humble “baigan bharta”. We tried it in at least 4 different restaurants across Dubai and it all tasted different, some with big smoky flavours and some with fruity tones of pomegranate seeds on top. Whatever it was, it just tasted yum, specially mopping it up with warm Emirati bread. I specially preferred the chunky eggplant ( read : brinjal or baigan ) ones, which have a bite to them and ooze with flavour. Another Dubai vegetarian special you cannot miss.
- Where to find : Most Emirati restaurants will have them on their menu or buffet spreads. You would also get it in the food courts of the malls alongside fluffy breads.
- Cost : If you order a combo with bread and fresh salad and a drink, you might find a deal of AED 25 ( roughly 425 rupees )
- Baklava : My heart was tempted to put it first on the list but given it’s not purely Emirati, it still makes it to the top 5 in our best things to eat in Dubai vegetarian special. Imagine a warm layered pasty with fillings of aromatic pistachios, almonds and nuts dripping in sugary goodness. Tempted enough ? Wait till you have it. I could not stop myself from eating at-least 3 at every go. This is a dish of love, sensuality and pleasure. It has to be tried to be believed. You can also choose from a platter of varieties that are available across the year.
- Where to find : All across Dubai but we do recommend you try it in a Turkish restaurant or Turkish delights shop. Here are a few on the map.
- Cost : Roughly AED 10 – AED 15 ( roughly 170 – 250 rupees ) for a platter of 3
We promise you to keep adding on to this list as we discover more and bring it for you here on DesiPassport. For more Dubai food tips you can also read up our Dubai Global Village must do list.