Tasty food you have to try if you’re new to Abu Dhabi

Make sure you sample these local specialties

Tasty food you have to try if you’re new to Abu Dhabi

If you’re new to the city and want to taste some great food then we’ve got you covered.

Sure, global chains can be found in malls and streets throughout the UAE, but you can eat that food anywhere in the world can't you?

But if you head to local venues, street-food trucks, back alleys and beyond, you can try the most popular dishes, treats and drinks the city has to offer for less.

So here are our five top things to try if you’re new to Abu Dhabi.

You’ll find people sipping cups of karak chai or masala chai all over the UAE every single day.

It’s not local, it originates from the Indian subcontinent, but as thousands of Indian expats have come to the UAE, they’ve brought some of their culture with them and we’re thankful for that.

The sweet drink is a mixture of black tea along with spices and in many cases, condensed or sweet milk.

Every venue has their own take on the drink, extra cinnamon here, more cardamom there, but when you find a mix you like you’ll become a convert quickly.

We certainly love it and we’re sure you will too.

Do you like doughnuts?

Well forget the American-style varieties because the regional version of these sweet treats is sensational.

Luqaimat are essentially small spherical doughnuts but they’re often flavoured with spices including cardamom and saffron.

They’re super sweet and moreish, plus if they come drenched in date syrup then you’re on to a winner.

If you see them when you’re out and about then don’t resist, you won’t regret it.

Bread is popular the world over and despite the main ingredients being flour and water, each nation and region has their own take on the staple.

Here in the Middle East, manakish is one of the most popular types of bread and we can’t get enough of it.

The flatbread comes fresh from the oven and with hundreds of different toppings like labneh and honey, zaatar (more on that later) and many more.

Plus you can pick up a freshly baked manakish for only a couple of dirhams making it a pocket-friendly meal too.

Asking where to get the best shawarma in the city will always end up in a heated argument.

Every resident has their own favourite spot to pick up a shawarma, but one thing is for sure, getting a shawarma is always a good decision.

With a host of variations on offer, the most popular versions are chick on meat (usually lamb or beef).

Still don’t know what it is?

It’s a small flatbread filled with freshly cut meat, garlic sauce, French fries and pickled vegetables, all rolled up into a handy easy-to-eat snack.

Shawarmas are also available for just a few dirhams, so there's no excuse not to pick one up and try it for yourself.

It’s hard to escape zaatar in this part of the world.

The green spice is used in so many foods and you don’t have to look far and wide to find it.

Zaatar is an herb or rather a spice mixture that often contains toasted sesame seeds, dried sumac, and often salt, as well as other spices.

It’s generally green in colour and many different restaurants, cafes and venues have their own blend of zaatar, meaning you can get different tastes depending on where you go.

What’s the best way to try it?

We love it on a manakish but you can also find it in everything from croissants to pizza so take your pick.

There’s loads more great food to try in Abu Dhabi but these five will give you a good head start.


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