Street Food In Dubai: Explore The City’s Culinary Treasures

Dubai is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world that has an amazing street food scene. This city is famous for its luxurious shopping malls, towering skyscrapers, and vibrant nightlife. Besides, street food in Dubai will impress you because it offers a wide variety of delicious and affordable dishes.

From savory shawarmas to sweet kunafa, there are many popular street food options here. In this article, I will discuss some foods commonly found on the streets of Dubai. Also, I would like to present other related information. Let’s get started.

What Are The Common Street Food In Dubai?

Dubai has a diverse culinary scene, and street food is an important part of that scene. Some of the most popular street foods in Dubai include shawarma, falafel, manakish, grilled corn, samosas, shawarma fries, and luqaimat.

Shawarma and falafel are classic Middle Eastern dishes, while manakish is a Lebanese flatbread that is also popular street food in Dubai. Grilled corn is a simple but delicious snack, while samosas offer a savory and crispy pastry option. Shawarma fries are a twist on the classic sandwich, and luqaimat provides a sweet dessert option. These street foods are just a few examples of the many delicious and diverse options available in Dubai.

Whether you are a resident of Dubai or a visitor, trying street food is a must. You can find street vendors selling these foods in many parts of the city, from busy marketplaces to quieter side streets. With so many tasty and affordable options, street food is a great way to experience the local culture and cuisine of Dubai.

List Of The Most Popular Street Foods In Dubai

In Dubai, you will find many types of street food that are delicious. Some of these are local dishes and some are foreign dishes, which are equally popular here. I am describing some such street food here.

#1: Shawarma

Shawarma, popular street food in Dubai

This is a popular Middle Eastern street food that comprises thinly sliced meat wrapped in a piece of pita bread with vegetables and sauce. In most cases, the meats are chicken or lamb. The meat is typically marinated in a blend of spices before being cooked on a rotating spit. As a result, the consumer gets delicious food with a tender flavor.

Shawarma has become a favorite among locals and tourists in Dubai. They often serve it as a quick and convenient meal option and are especially popular as a late-night snack after a night out on the town. It is not only delicious but also affordable. Shawarma makes it a go-to option for many people looking for a filling and flavorful meal.

#2: Falafel

Falafel, popular street foodThis is a popular Middle Eastern street food that has become a staple in Dubai’s culinary scene. It is made from grinding chickpeas and other ingredients, such as herbs and spices. After grinding all the ingredients together to form a paste, they shaped it into small balls or patties. The falafel is then deep-fried until crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.

In Dubai, they often serve falafel as a sandwich. These are stuffed into a piece of pita bread with lettuce, tomato, and other toppings such as pickles, hummus, or tahini sauce. Vendors commonly serve falafel as a side dish or snack on its own.

Falafel is a favorite among vegetarians and vegans in Dubai, as it is a meat-free option that is high in protein and fiber. Falafel is also a popular street food because of its affordability and convenience. This makes it an excellent option for those on the go. Falafel is a delicious and healthy way to experience the flavors of the Middle East while in Dubai.

#3: Kunafa

Kunafa, street foodIt is a popular dessert in the Middle East, and it is also a beloved street food in Dubai. This sweet treat comprises shredded phyllo pastry that is baked into a crispy golden brown. After then layered with a creamy filling of sweetened cheese or semolina pudding. The kunafa is often drenched in fragrant sugar syrup and sprinkled with chopped pistachios or other nuts.

kunafa is widely available from street vendors and local bakeries in Dubai. People often enjoy it as a dessert after a meal or as a snack with tea or coffee. Some popular variations of kunafa in Dubai include chocolate kunafa and mango kunafa. These are made with different fillings and toppings to suit different tastes. Overall, kunafa is a delicious and indulgent treat that is beloved by locals and visitors alike.

#4: Manakish

Manakish, Dubai street foodIt is a popular street food in Dubai that people enjoy as breakfast or snack food. This is a type of flatbread, which is like pizza, with a distinct Middle Eastern flavor. The bread is typically made from a simple dough that is rolled out into circles, then topped with a variety of savory toppings.

One of the most popular toppings for manakish is za’atar. It is a mixture of herbs and spices that includes thyme, oregano, and sesame seeds. The bread is brushed with olive oil, sprinkled with the za’atar mixture, and baked until crispy. Other popular toppings for manakish include cheese, spinach, and meat.

Street vendors or local bakeries often serve manakish hot and fresh. You can have manakish as a quick snack or pair it with tea or coffee for a more substantial breakfast. It is delicious and satisfying street food and is well worth trying if you find yourself in Dubai.

#5: Shawafel

Shawafel, street food in DubaiShawafel is a delicious fusion of two classic Middle Eastern dishes: shawarma and falafel. It is a perfect option for those who want to experience the flavors of both dishes in one meal.

This street food is made by filling pita bread with a mixture of crispy falafel balls and juicy, seasoned shawarma meat. The filling is topped with fresh vegetables such as lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and pickles. Then vendors drizzle it with a variety of sauces, including tahini, garlic, and spicy sauces.

Shawafel is widely available in Dubai, particularly in areas such as Al Satwa, Deira, and Bur Dubai. It is a popular street food option for locals and tourists alike. You will find it in both traditional street stalls and modern food trucks.

#6: Karak Chai

Street beverage of Dubai, Karak chaiThis is another popular street beverage in Dubai, which is a sweet, spiced tea. They use black tea leaves, condensed milk, sugar, and spices like cardamom, cinnamon, and ginger to make it. The tea is brewed in a large pot and then strained and mixed with condensed milk and sugar, giving it a rich, creamy flavor.

Karak Chai is usually served hot in small disposable cups, and it’s a favorite among locals and tourists alike. You commonly find it in small street-side cafes and stalls across the city. This is one of the perfect beverages to enjoy with some traditional Middle Eastern snacks like samosas or baklava.

The popularity of Karak Chai has led to many variations. Some vendors add unique ingredients, like saffron or rose water, to make their version stand out. This tea is also easy to make at home.

#7: Grilled Corn

Grilled corn of Dubai streetThis is a popular street food in Dubai, especially during the winter months when the weather is cooler. It’s a simple yet delicious snack made by grilling fresh corn on the cob over an open flame until it’s tender and slightly charred.

Vendors season the corn with a mix of salt, pepper, and chili powder. These give it a spicy kick that perfectly complements the sweetness of the corn. Some vendors also brush the corn with butter or mayonnaise before grilling. This adds even more flavor to the dish.

Grilled corn is sold at various street food vendors across Dubai, including small food stalls and food trucks. It’s a popular snack among locals and tourists alike. People often enjoy grilled corn as a quick and affordable bite to eat while exploring the city.

#8: Samosas

Samosas- popular street food of Middle EastIt is a popular street food not only in Dubai but across the Middle East and South Asia. Samosas are small, triangular-shaped pastries stuffed with a savory filling. The vendors fry them until they are crispy and golden brown.

Although they include spiced potatoes, onions, peas and sometimes minced meat or paneer cheese, the filling of samosas can vary. They made the pastry from a thin layer of wheat flour dough. After folding them into a triangular shape, they seal the samosas with water or egg wash.

You will find them served hot and crispy in street stalls. A variety of dipping sauces, including mint chutney and tamarind sauce, often accompany them. They are a popular snack food in Dubai and available at street food stalls and small restaurants.

#9: Luqaimat

Luqaimat- street food of DubaiIt is a traditional Emirati dessert and popular street food in Dubai. They are small, deep-fried dough balls that are crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside. You will often see these at special occasions and festivals, such as EID and Ramadan.

Food vendors make Luqaimat from a simple batter of flour, water, sugar, yeast, and saffron. They often use cardamom and rose water for flavoring it. They then roll the dough into small balls and deep-fried until they are golden brown.

Once vendors cook the Luqaimat, they use a generous amount of sweet syrup to soak it. They use sugar, water, and saffron to make the syrup. Some vendors also sprinkle chopped nuts, coconut flakes, or sesame seeds on top for added texture and flavor.

#10: Omani Chip Rolls

Omani chip rollsAlthough this dish originated in Oman, it is also a popular street food in Dubai. Vendors make it by wrapping a thin tortilla around a mixture of potato chips, vegetables, and spices. After then, they fry it deeply until the chip rolls turn crisp and golden brown.

Fillings for Omani chip rolls usually include crushed potato chips, shredded carrots, cabbage, and onions. Many mix them with a mixture of spices like cumin, coriander, and turmeric to enhance their taste. The tortilla wrap is rolled tightly around the filling and secured with a toothpick before frying in hot oil.

They often serve Omani chip rolls with a variety of dipping sauces, including chili sauce and garlic sauce. It is a popular snack food in Dubai and you will find these in street food stalls and small restaurants.

#11: Harees

Harees- Street Food In DubaiThis is a traditional Arabic dish that is popular as a street food in Dubai. Vendors make this dish from boiled, mashed wheat mixed with either chicken or lamb. Sometimes they use flavors such as cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves. After cooking this mixture for several hours, Harees becomes a smooth, porridge-like consistency.

Harees is usually served hot and people often have it during the holy month of Ramadan. It is a hearty and filling dish that can provide sustenance for the day’s fast. It is also a popular dish for special occasions, such as weddings and celebrations.

In Dubai, you will find Harees at various street food vendors and small restaurants throughout the city. They often serve it with ghee (clarified butter) and sometimes with additional toppings such as fried onions or raisins.

#12: Shish Taouk

Shish Taouk- Street FoodIt is a popular Middle Eastern dish that people widely enjoy in countries like Lebanon, Turkey, Syria, and Jordan. It is also a popular street food in Dubai. Vendors typically use marinated chicken skewers to make this item that is grilled to perfection. As a result, you can enjoy juicy and flavorful meat.

Vendors typically marinate the chicken in a blend of yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, paprika, and other spices. This help to tenderize the meat and infuse it with delicious flavors. They then grilled the skewers until they cook through the chicken which has a beautiful charred exterior.

They often served shish Taouk with a variety of accompaniments such as rice, tabbouleh, hummus, or a fresh salad. You can also enjoy it as a sandwich or wrap, with the chicken pieces wrapped in pita bread and topped with vegetables and a creamy sauce.

Is There A Food Street In Dubai?

Yes, there are several food streets in Dubai where you can find a wide variety of street food vendors and restaurants. Here are some of the most popular food streets in Dubai:

  • Al Dhiyafah Road: This street in the Jumeirah area is known for its diverse food offerings, including Arabic, Indian, Pakistani, and Filipino cuisine.
  • Al Rigga Street: Located in the Deira neighborhood, this street is famous for its Indian and Pakistani restaurants.
  • Al Muraqqabat Street: This is another popular food street in Deira. This area offers a mix of Arabic and international cuisine, including Lebanese, Iranian, and Chinese.
  • The Walk at JBR: This outdoor shopping and dining promenade in the Jumeirah Beach Residence area features a variety of cafes, restaurants, and food trucks. You will find everything from seafood to street food here.
  • Global Village: This seasonal attraction, which is open from October to April, features pavilions representing different countries and cultures. People can enjoy food, drinks, and snacks unique to their region.

These food streets, including other areas, offer a fantastic opportunity to explore the local food scene. A visitor can try a variety of delicious street foods in Dubai.

What Is The Most Ordered Street Food In Dubai?

It’s difficult to say which street food is the most ordered in Dubai. However, shawarma is one of the most popular and ubiquitous street foods in Dubai and throughout the Middle East. You will find shawarma on almost every street corner in Dubai, from small food stands to restaurants and cafes.

Falafel is another popular street food that is similar to shawarma in popularity and availability. Other popular street foods in Dubai include manakish, grilled corn, samosas, and luqaimat. These offer a variety of flavors and textures to suit different tastes.

Is Street Food Cheaper In Dubai?

Street food in Dubai can be cheaper compared to dining in restaurants or cafes. It is important to note that the prices of street food can vary depending on the type of food, the location, and the vendor. Some street food vendors offer small portions at lower prices. This makes a great option for a quick and affordable snack or meal.

For example, a shawarma sandwich can cost around AED 10-15 (approximately USD 2.5-4), while a falafel sandwich can be around AED 5-10 (approximately USD 1.5-2.5). Some street food vendors may charge higher prices if they are located in popular tourist areas. Overall, street food in Dubai can offer great value for money. This is a popular and tasty way to experience the local food culture.

Is There Street Food Festival In Dubai?

We know Dubai for its diverse and vibrant food scene. There are several street food festivals and events held in the city throughout the year. These events offer a unique opportunity to sample a wide variety of street food from different cultures and cuisines, all in one place.

From food trucks and pop-up restaurants to local vendors and chefs, street food festivals in Dubai have something for everyone. One of the most popular street food festivals is the annual Dubai Food Festival, which features a range of outdoor dining and street food options.

Last Words Regarding Street Food In Dubai

Street food in Dubai is a significant part of the city’s culinary culture. It offers a wide variety of flavors and options to suit different tastes. From shawarmas and falafels to manakish and grilled corn, Dubai’s street food scene has something for everyone. While street food can be cheaper compared to dining in restaurants or cafes, the prices can vary depending on the type of food and location.

Street food vendors offer great value for money and a chance to experience the authentic flavors of Dubai. Additionally, street food festivals and events in Dubai are a great way to sample a variety of street food from different cultures and cuisines all in one place. With so many options available, street food in Dubai is a must-try for anyone visiting or living in the city.


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