For a full month every year, Dubai Food Festival celebrates all things sweet, savory and spicy, shining a spotlight on the city's tempting culinary offerings. Debra Greenwood, Dubai Food Festival Director at Dubai Festivals & Retail Establishment, explains how the Emirate city has become a foodie's dream destination.
“Dubai is the leading gastronomic hub in the Middle East, proven through the emergence of experiential dining, a thriving home-grown concept scene and access to new and innovative culinary concepts,” explains Debra. "While Dubai has always been a melting pot of cultures, each of which have brought with them a taste of home, the last few years in particular have seen this gastronomic diversity really extend from the street to the gourmet level."
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She adds, "we have seen a huge wave of interest in Emirati cuisine in recent years and there are many places to try it, from the more traditional Emirati restaurants such as Al Tawasol in Deira, to newer entrants such as Seven Sands and more modern interpretations of Emirati cuisine at restaurants such as Omnia by Silvena.” Al Tawasol, located just a short distance from our Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek, is deservedly famous for its fragrant chicken mandi.
Look out for Dubai's celebrated street food stalls. According to Debra, you'll find everything from “staples such as falafel sandwiches and shawarma rolls, which are indigenous to the Arabian Peninsula and the Levant, to street food borrowed from the majority expatriate populations, such as samosas and chaat from India...today, one can find European-style organic outdoor food markets and even Thai-style street food carts.”
The Dubai Food Festival: a multicultural event
The Dubai Food Festival takes place in February. Debra describes the festival as "a city-wide culinary celebration that showcases the Emirate’s emergence as a gastronomy destination. The Festival promotes the diversity, creativity and multicultural nature of Dubai’s culinary offering – from five-star gourmet dining to everyday restaurants and cafés for all budgets; international brands to a burgeoning scene of home-grown concepts influenced by traditional Emirati cuisine and the flavors of the 200 nationalities that live in Dubai."
"The Beach Canteen is the most popular concept within the festival," says Debra. “A pop-up dining district is created on one of Dubai’s most popular beaches, Fazza Beach. Visitors to the Beach Canteen can try the food from the latest home-grown concepts that have launched in the city while listening to local bands and DJs and enjoying the sun with their friends and family.”
"Dubai has now firmly established itself as the culinary capital of the Middle East and it’s a huge achievement to see this gain made in just a few short years," Debra concludes. “We can expect the city’s culinary star to rise... the festival will seek to show off the best of the city’s emerging and established food scene, so that Dubai’s culinary assets become a strong part of its successful tourism offering."