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Top 10 Cuisines - World Food Day Special

16 Oct, 2014 / Posted By Mayuri

Food is the language of love. It knows no prejudice, and transcends all boundaries and borders, all nationalities and cultures. In an increasingly attainable world, we are becoming more exposed to the different gastronomies found across the globe and we love it!   

Fortunately for us, we live in a melting pot of culinary excellence. Despite being home to over 200 nationalities, Dubai not only promises on the authenticity of varying cuisines, but delivers too.

With the advent of World Food Day upon us, then, our team at RoundMenu thought it was fitting to honour this dietary diversity by whittling down the top 10 cuisines from around the world enjoyed most by the citizens of this city. These have been selected based upon the popularity of your choices on our social dining guide.

 

British10. British 

Kickstarting the countdown is British food. With over 250,000 Brit expats residing in this city, it is no wonder that the national food has gained so much popularity though the years.

Although this cuisine has long-suffered from a negative stigma of being somewhat bland and boring, connoisseurs would agree that there is a so much more to Brit fodder than the plain ole fish and chips. Look no further than their breakfast to understand what we are talking about: a typical English breakfast consists of a fried egg, hash browns, sausage, bacon, baked beans, toast, mushrooms, half a tomato, and white or black pudding, which is usually served with a mug of English breakfast tea. And as for sophistication, no one does afternoon tea with scones, clotted cream and jam better than the Brits.

What is more, due to its colonial conquests, the English have absorbed and incorporated several different influences into their gastronomy. Aside from Bangers and Mash, Yorkshire pudding and Shepherd’s pie, Brits also enjoy a good curry, with the Anglicized Chicken Tikka Masala and Kedgeree being some of the nation’s favourites.

Check out:

British Tandoor on Sheikh Zayed Road – for British Indian curries. 

Rivington Bar & Grill in Souk Al Bahar – go for their strawberry Eton mess.

Sahn Eddar in Burj Al Arab Hotel - try their afternoon tea. 

 

French9. French

Subtlety and excellence: these two words perfectly describe the foundations of the fine art that is French food. Fresh garden ingredients form the base of their most popular dishes, and they are not afraid to experiment with newer, locally sourced, flavours, paving way for nouvelle cuisine.

Whether it’s delicately refined pastries, or a dizzying variety of cheese, the French know how to tantalise your tastebuds without being overwhelming. It is, therefore, no wonder that we have come to love their delicious food. Popular breakfast treats include baguette breads containing cheese and cured meats, as well as croissants, Pain Perdu, and Café Au Lait. Their savoury dishes are refreshing, rich and bursting with flavor: try the signature Canard l’Orange (roasted duck in orange sauce) and Coq Au Vin (braised chicken).

The French do beautiful roasts and stews, no doubt. However, they take the cake for their infamous desserts. Head over to any of the patisserie imports across Dubai to understand the seriousness with which the French take their puddings.

Check out:  

Le Petit Maison in DIFC – for a multiple course French dinner date.

Debauve & Gallais in DIFC - try their delectable chocolate truffles.

Paul in Burjuman - indulge in their croissants and coffee.

  

Thai8. Thai

Sitting firmly on the eighth spot is food hailing from the Land of Smiles. This cuisine is fresh, fiery and fragrant – characteristics imbibed into each dish thanks to the influences from countries surrounding Thailand.

The food is an intricate marriage of different flavours: sweet (from coconut palm sugar), sour (from lime juice or tamarind), salty (from fish sauce, soy sauce or shrimp paste), bitter (from raw plant leaves), and spicy (from fresh or dried chilli peppers). Moreover, this Asian cuisine uses aromatic ingredients to intensify flavours: lemongrass, galangal leaves and kaffir lime leaves are all key components of a typical stir fry or curry, making Thai food a favourite amongst foodies.

While the national dish – Pad Thai – is well known across this city, we urge you to experiment and try some of their unique staples: Massaman curry (spicy beef curry), Som Tam (green papaya salad), and Khao Niaow Ma Muang (a pudding made from sticky coconut rice and fresh mangoes).

Check out:

Little Bangkok in Oud Metha – choose any of their traditional Pad Thai variant.

Pai Thai in Madinat Jumeirah– go for the Som Tam salad with a view.

 

Chinese7. Chinese

Who doesn’t enjoy Chinese food? This comforting, sizzling, and regionally diverse cuisine has satiated many a bellies, and we are in awe of how well it has adapted to the tastes of so many different people.

Staying true to the concept of yin and yang, dishes hailing from China attempt to balance the taste, the colour, the flavours and the aroma - somewhat like Thai food.

Some staple items include rice (which is utilized not just in food but it is also used to make wine and vinegar), dumplings, fresh vegetable steamed or boiled in flavoured broth, and noodles accompanied by or cooked in sauces and spices. Tea also makes up an important part of this country’s gastronomy, with some places across the city purely offering an array of various infusions of green, black and oolong.

So whether you enjoy the authentic fare, or your palate prefers the assimilated globalised kind, head over to some of our favourite eateries to enjoy this deliciously moreish nosh.

Check out:  

Royal China in DIFC - try the signature chicken buns.

PF Changs in City Centre Deira - the dynamite shrimp are a must-try.

 

American6. North American

The United Stated of America has always been a vessel for multicultural meals. A nation homing an incredible variety of ethnic groups, America has elaborated its cuisine through the years to become a comforting, mouthwatering mesh of adapted flavours.

From hamburgers and frankfurters hailing from Germany, to Italian pizzas and Mexican fajitas, there is something in here for everyone. These are the adapted, Americanised version of the original dishes, thus giving them a unique edge.

What we absolutely love about a hearty American affair is that it is unpretentious, adaptable and likeable. As with other cuisines, however, this gastronomy has a lot of character and changes from region to region: while soul food can be found down South, the Tex-Mex fare is more prominent in Texas, and chowders and succotash are representative of British colonialism.

Check out:

Original Wings and Rings in DIFC - go for the hand breaded jalapeño chips and onion rings.

Chilli's in Oud Metha - order the boneless Buffallo wings and the Texas cheese poppers.

Mo's Restaurant in Citywalk - try the bang bang shrimp tacos.

 

Japanese5. Japanese

Half way through our list, we come across this visually stunning, yet elaborately conceived poetry that is Japanese cuisine. If the French are experts in subtlety, the Japanese are masters of refinement. Food here is an art, so it is no surprise that so many of us in Dubai appreciate this artform.

The numerous restaurants spread across the city are an ode to delicacies from Japan. Dubai is home to hundreds of restaurants serving sushi and sashimi, and many of them offer impeccable service, authentic flavours and much to write home about.

Whether it is a spread of various dishes in a kaiseki meal, or you prefer to dine solo before a conveyor belt, you will find that each elaborately prepared course will taste like an orchestra in your mouth.

The staples of Japanese cuisine are rise, miso and fish, often eaten raw in sushis and sashimis, as well as deep fried vegetables called tempura. Other favourites include ramen (noodles in soup), gyoza dumplings and grilled meats.

No matter where you dine, take note of the attention to detail evident in your meal and savour the exquisite freshness of each ingredient.

Check out:

Okku in the H Hotel - order the black cod miso.

Katsuya by Starck in Dubai Mall - go for the rainbow roll.

Sushi Counter in Media City - feast on the salmon lovers platter.

 

Italian4. Italian

We are all slaves to one of the oldest cuisines of the world. Italy has developed its food over many centuries, borrowing notes from ancient Greece and Rome, with Jewish, Etruscan and Byzantine influences.

The reason behind its massive popularity is down to the simple ingredients and preparation that goes into making a wonderful meal. Tomatoes, fresh herbs, basil, olive oil, garlic, cheese (Parmigiano-Reggiano and mozzarella, for example), and lots of passion… this is all that one requires in order to master the basics of Italian food.

Much like the Japanese, chefs in Italy let the fresh and intense ingredients of their courses do the talking. However, there is much more to Italian food than our beloved pizzas and pastas; depending on the geographical location, food preferences switch from rice, to meat, to seafood and garden vegetables. What is more, the meals consist of multiple courses, starting with antipasto (appetizers), followed by a hot primo (first dish of soup or rice), a secondo (second course of fish or meat) and ending with a dolce (dessert such as tiramisu or panna cotta).

Check out:

Segreto in Madinat Jumeirah - order the Alaskan king crab risotto.

Jazz @ Pizza Express in JLT - try the Cippola Piccante pizza.

 

Arabic3. Arabic

At number three, we pay respects to our homeland fodder: Falafel, Hummus, fresh fruit juices and succulent meats (primarily lamb and chicken). Arabic food pans across many countries and many flavours, changing ever so slightly with each region.

Fortunately, Dubai encompasses a range of Arabic notes, from Levantine (read Lebanese, Turkish and Iraqi) restaurants to Emirati and Egyptian eateries. The Arabs gourmandize with unbridled passion, their food an explosion of spices and juices from grilled meats. Every nation offers their rendition of a staple dish, which makes discovering Arabic food in this city all the more exciting.

Don’t be squeamish about braving the narrow, crooked alleys when you set out to savour authentic regional food; some of the best dishes are found in the smallest, humblest joints.

Check out:

Qbara in Wafi, Oud Metha - book a brunch date.

Aroos Damascus in Deira - try the Hummus and Fatoush salad.

Al Malla in Satwa - stick to the grilled meats.

 

Latin American2. Latin American (Brazilian, Mexican, Peruvian)

We admit, this is unfair: Latin American gastronomy isn’t exactly an umbrella that contains similar flavours from across different countries, but rather is a melee of Brazilian, Argentine and Mexican fare… three very different and yet equally popular cuisines in Dubai.

Popular for its churrasco (in Brazil) or asado (Argentina,), South America garners immense respect for providing the legendary grilled steak. And it’s not just the meats we love; some of the accompainments, such as chimichurri sauce, black beans, or hand cut potato chips, will ensure you have a rave party in your mouth. Other specialities include empanadas (baked pasties), feijoada (meat and bean stew) and yerba mate (a herb and caffeine-infused drink).

On the other hand, Mexican food is well-known for its colourful mix of superfoods such as avocado, lime, garlic, chocolates and chillies. Hot, heady and incredibly healthy, some of the authentic dishes deviate greatly from the Tex-Mex nibbles that we have become so well accustomed to. Head over to some of our recommended places to know the taste of the real deal.

Check out:

Malecon in Jumeirah - go for the arepas with shredded beef.

Café Habana in Souk Al Bahar - order the Huevos Rancheros a Caballo.

IZEL in Conrad - order the Teatro, a meat masterpiece. 

 

Indian1. Indian

And the number one most popular cuisine in Dubai – voted by you – is Indian! As with Chinese food, this national food is not homogeneous but rather changes according to the region it hails from, thus making it hard to describe in a few sentences.

The UAE has taken in over two million Indians, many of whom have dedicated their livelihoods to bringing a little bit of home to Dubai. As a result, we are spoiled for choice with the extensive and authentic restaurants representative of delicacies from various states across the country.

From the intensity of the chillies that spice northern meats, to the distinct flavours of coconut and curry leaves in South Indian curries; from the roadside, vegetarian, sweet and sour chaats, to the subdued, luscious momos of the east… there is something in here for everyone.

Gastronomes will agree that it is not just about the complex blend of spices; Indians are renowned for creating some distinguished, delectable sweet treats too.  

Check out:

India Palace in Ibn Batuta Mall - go for the Chicken Biryani.

Mint Leaf of London on Sheikh Zayed Road - order the Adraki Lamb Chops.

Bikanervala in Karama - try the Namkeens (savouries) and roadside treats.

 

By Mayuri Gidwani

Content Editor for RoundMenu 

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