As far as the world goes, Dubai is a relative newcomer; despite some early mentions around 1095 CE it wasn’t formally recognised until 1833, but as the intersection between Europe, Asia, and Africa its cuisine influences are remarkable – and usually very tasty!
Middle Eastern food has become a staple of Western dining over the years, with hummus, Tabbouleh, and falafel gracing tables from London, to Paris, to New York, but there are a few dishes that may not be quite as popular further away from home!
1. Stuffed Camel
Yes, as you can imagine camel is a commonplace meat in the land of deserts, and by all accounts is pretty nice to eat, albeit a bit chewy, but stuffed camel makes the trendy ‘turducken’ (a turkey, stuffed with a duck, stuffed with a chicken) look like small fry – in fact it’s made the Guinness Book Of Records as one of the largest dishes ever!
Simply stuff a camel with layers of eggs, fish, chickens, and sheep, throw in a few herbs and spices, slow cook on a spit, and voilà, dinner for a whole nomadic tribe is served!
Because of the strong influence from the Orient, there are many delicacies that have crossed the borders to be enjoyed in the United Arab Emirates, and this one of those dishes that makes the toughest competitor on Fear Factor squirm!
In the simplest terms, this dish is a developing duck embryo that is boiled and served in its shell with a small garnish or squeeze of lemon juice.
3. 100 Year Old Egg
Similarly, this eastern treat is popular in Dubai and its surrounds – despite its fraudulent sobriquet! These eggs are preserved in ash, clay, lime, and salt, which turns the yolk green and the white to a rather unappealing brown colour, and if you can get over that, there’s a rather pungent odour to endure with these specialty snacks!
4. Lamb’s Brains
This isn’t really an unusual dish for most foodies, but in Dubai they have lamb’s brains for breakfast, lunch, and dinner – deep fried, curried, sautéed, battered, crumbed, in tomato sauce, and on toast, take your pick, you’ll be spoiled for choice.
5. Testical Stew
Likewise, testicals are eaten all around the world, but this rich stew of the main component, spices, and a thick broth will actually have you asking for more – unusual, but yummy!
6. Sea Cucumbers
These creatures from the sea are large, long, with a hard skin, which is about where the resemblance to a real cucumber ends.
Considered to have health benefits, this isn’t a dish best served cold, in fact despite being a fan of all exotic foods, this one is pretty hard to swallow – even if it leads to longevity of life!
Of course, Dubai has a fantastic tradition of local and international cuisines, so if you don’t want any of the above to appear on your smorgasbord of choice we suggest checking up on Arabic courses in your area before heading off, to make sure you get exactly what you want!