Eat a camel in Abu Dhabi

Camel meat is hard to find in Abu Dhabi, but we know where to look Comments

olivas
© ITP Images

We have heard such wonderful tales about camel meat. We have heard that it is coarse like beef, but flavoursome and gamey. We have heard that it is the least fatty among all edible meats and quite chewy. We’ve heard that the camel’s hump is a juicy, fatty delicacy that can be turned into butter – and also that it can’t because it’s quite globular. And we’ve heard that a camel eating man, compared to a goat and cow eating man, is a full man, according to a Somali proverb.

Unfortunately, we can only relay what we’ve heard about camel meat, because we’ve never actually eaten the stuff ourselves, except on a pizza.

A long and arduous search throughout the capital left us with dead leads and a disappointing, camel-meat shaped absence in our tummy. In spite of camel featuring on the menus of quite a few Arabic food joints around town, the meat itself just does not materialise. We’re not sure why. Additionally, camel has recently been taken off the menu at restaurants like Mezlai at Emirates Palace.

It appears, however, that camel meat is sporadically available at Al Bathna – usually when the Armed Forces Officers Club & Hotel has hosted a wedding or function – and as a pizza topping at Olivia’s. This, we’ve found to be strong and overpoweringly salty, but still quite delicious. It didn’t, however, satisfy our craving to get our choppers into a real, traditional camel dish. We hung our heads in despair – frustrated that in Abu Dhabi you can find exotic cuisines from the farthest corners of the earth, readily available, while a regional delicacy like camel is so hard to come by. We put it down to a lack of popularity, and have emerged like a phoenix from the flames of failure with two solutions.

The first is a call out: Dear Abu Dhabi food joints and high end hotel restaurants, please bring back the camel. Not only do we want to eat it, we feel it is far too significant an aspect of the cultural cuisine of this region to be neglected thus. The second solution is a means by which you can source and prepare camel yourself. There are plenty of butchers and markets in the city that sell camel meat. Madinat Zayed Market (opposite the Gold Souk) has a butcher on the right which specialises in this Arabic speciality, and is rather popular with the locals. Additionally, the Ridley brothers’ Wagonwheel Butchery at Zayed Port Market sells everything from Boerwors sausages to camel biltong.

Once you’ve returned home with your purchase, you may find yourself in the dark about how to cook it. To shed some light on your predicament, we’d like to share the generous contribution of executive chef Rick Ney from the Park Rotana, who pitied our failed efforts at eating camel and offered us a most excellent recipe.

By Elest Ali
Time Out Abu Dhabi,

User reviews:

Posted by: Olivia Ferreira on 17 Apr ' 12 at 10:42

I hope that eat camel meat is forbidden in this country!

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