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Top 5 Must-try Traditional Foods in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi is the luxurious capital of the UAE and is a stylish blend of modern megastructures and amazing ancient architecture. The metropolis has everything from parks, beautiful unique mosques, endless deserts, and louver museums.

Hospitality and generosity are two key ingredients when it comes to food in Abu Dhabi. For generations, dining has been seen as a communal celebration, with food being shared with a great deal of warmth over the dinner table or, in the early days, beneath the cover of Bedouin tents under a blanket of stars.  You can still experience old-world generosity, connection, and authentic food in your executive suites by staying in our hotel.

We've also considered everything you need to know to fully experience this culture. It is as important as eating shisha in Abu Dhabi. In our hotel, you can enjoy your shisha with a view of the city.

Our hotel has a host of every type of cuisine from Korean to Indian to Russian delights. While you can try any cuisine you want, one thing you cannot miss is the local cuisine. For those who prefer local cuisines, take a look at 5 traditional Abu Dhabi foods that you should definitely experience.


Khuzi, or ghuzi, is the United Arab Emirates’ national food. Khuzi features prominently on special occasions such as wedding parties and festive celebrations. Khuzi with meat also has a special presence at the Emirati meal table during Ramadan, when family and friends gather together to break their fast. It is a complete, filling, and delicious meal since this dish consists of roasted lamb or mutton served on top of a bed of rice and topped with vegetables and nuts.


It is one of the traditional foods of the emirates and is specially cooked during Eid al-Fitr, at weddings, and during other special occasions. The food is also referred to as Jareesh or Harissa. The main ingredients are wheat and the meat of choice, generally chicken or lamb.

This one-pot dish is made by soaking the wheat berries overnight and then boiling them in water with butter until a thick, porridge-like consistency is reached. Chunks of meat, cinnamon, salt, pepper, and other spices and vegetables are added once the wheat is fully cooked. Although this dish may take hours to cook, it is definitely worth the wait.


As one of the most common and delicious meals you can eat, it also comes with quite a process. Machboos can be prepared with chicken, lamb, or fish. The main flavorings are cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, lemon, and saffron. You can look at this food as kind of a one-dish wonder, with the rice and vegetables being cooked in the same stock as the meat was boiled in.  Among all kinds of Machboos, lamb Machboos are the crowd favorite.


There is nothing more satisfying or more popular than local shawarma. Inside this flatbread, you can find thinly sliced pieces of meat, with additions like tahini, pickles, vegetables, and even french fries. Although you will literally find a stall selling these on any street-side, at local food outlets, or even inside supermarkets, we assure you that you can find the most delicious one in our hotel cafe in Abu Dhabi. Whether you need a quick bite or a full-blown meal, you will be so satisfied with this authentic Abu Dhabi favorite.

Stuffed Camel

Besides being named by the Guinness World Book of Records as one of the largest foods you can eat in the entire world, stuffed camel is considered one of the most luxurious and celebratory foods in Abu Dhabi.

The camel is stuffed with a lamb, which in turn is stuffed with one or more chickens, which is further stuffed with rice and eggs or at times fish. Now you know why it is considered the largest food!

A Dessert After Feast: Luqaimat

Luqaimat is a well-known aspect of Dubai’s traditional cuisine and they’re prepared for various cultural events held across the Emirates. It is considered to be a ‘must-have’ dessert in the home or restaurant, especially on special occasions.

This sweet pastry is shaped into delicate golden balls that melt in the mouth. This is made from flour, sesame seeds, turmeric, milk, sugar, salt, and a little yeast. The batter is kneaded and then left to rest for a while, before being fried in oil and drizzled with syrup. Some believe that luqaimat originated in the Arab world, where it’s known as halwa al-luqaimat or ’awama, although the Turkish too have a version that they call lokma. The honey-like syrup (sharbat) used to finish luqaimat originally comes from Turkey.

After-meal Culture in Abu Dhabi

The traditional Abu Dhabi meal concludes with shisha, Arabian-style tobacco smoked in one of the distinctive waterpipes (hookah, narghil, or 'hubblybubbly'), which can be found across the Middle East. Shisha cafés are enormously popular in Abu Dhabi, although surprisingly rare in Oman. Most shisha cafes in Abu Dhabi have at least 15 types of shisha to choose from, including unflavoured blends alongside various fruit-scented concoctions such as apple, lemon, and grape much gentler on the throat and infinitely more aromatic than Western cigarettes.

The Shisha Culture in UAE

Shisha or water pipe is a centuries-old part of Middle Eastern culture. In middles eastern culture, SHISHA is believed to be effective in relaxing in the hot arid climate of the region and it has become a way to unwind and relax after a hectic day at work. The shisha culture adds allure to the mesmerizing culture of the UAE and is a factor behind attracting large crowds of visitors to the UAE. Most visitors that come to tour Dubai want to try shisha or Hookah at least once in their lives, it’s a piece of equipment with a long pipe attached to it. The major equipment has a place to burn tobacco, a piece of coal separated by foil, and some water to draw smoke. Like all luxury cafes in Abu Dhabi, our hotel, the traditional shisha is offered to visitors in an enchanting ambiance along with delicious food.