From local farms and agriculture, to artisan makers and specialist markets, Dubai has a bourgeoning food scene ready to be discovered
As a unique city located at the crossroads of the East and the West, the diversity of offerings is what makes Dubai a must-visit destination. From heritage to entertainment, outdoor adventures to beach activities, and family attractions to shopping, visitors to the city have so much to look forward to. Making the Dubai experience even more exciting is the wide array of cuisines and diverse offerings reflecting the flavours of over 200 nationalities that live in the city, further enhancing its position as the culinary capital of the region.
The gastronomy experience goes beyond Dubai’s towering metropolis, where one can find a bourgeoning produce scene that reflects the city’s diverse ecosystem and sustainable food resources. From artisan makers to specialist markets, tourists can delight in a multitude of culinary and artisanal experiences whilst learning about local innovation. What’s more, with a large focus on food security and regenerative farming practices, the agricultural sector continues to grow with a record number of ecological farms for tourists and locals to visit, as well as take home the fresh produce.
Through efforts to boost local food production and sustainable agriculture, Dubai offers a multitude of opportunities for residents and visitors to support enterprise as well as providing a new lens through which to experience the city.
Enjoy enriching agricultural experiences
My Farm Dubai is leading the agricultural movement with the launch of a self-sustaining eco farm. A passion project from local Mohammed Aissaoui, the farm takes visitors on an informative agricultural journey where they will learn and taste all types of fruits, vegetables and honeys, as well as the medicinal attributes of an abundance of herbs and spices. There is also a wide variety of different soaps produced at My Farm Dubai, offering delightful gifts for family and friends. Aissaoui, a former engineer who was born and raised in the south of France within a farming family, came to Dubai with the goal of creating a self-sustaining farm in the middle of the desert by combining nature with advanced technology.
Mohammed also educates visitors on the UAE’s unique and thriving farming heritage, making it a must-attend attraction for those looking to do something different.
Another experience that champions organic produce is Desert Organic, an Emirati-owned and run family business producing delicious organic fruit and vegetables. Amongst the 50 types of crops at this four-hectare farm, visitors can purchase kale, celery, capsicums, aubergines, pumpkins and a wide variety of herbs and dates.
For those looking for a unique agricultural experience, located off the Al Ain road lies the much loved Camelicious, an ideal activity for the whole family to enjoy. Visitors can experience close encounters with Arabia’s native animal on the sustainable camel farm and enjoy activities such as feeding the camels, taking picture, watch camel races and more. Guests can also enjoy or purchase an array of camel dairy products including milk and ice cream.
Located in the heart of Umm Suqeim is the Jumeirah Fish Market, offering the best fresh and affordable seafood in Dubai. This quaint little fish market is the perfect place for seafood lovers who can purchase more than 50 different types of seafood including lobster, crab, tiger prawns, shrimps, fish and more. The best part is that visitors can also get it cleaned before taking it to one of the nearby local restaurants to cook it to your liking.
The Hatta Honey Bee Garden which is a one of its kind Bee Garden in the region creates 100% raw locally produced honey and blends education with experience by highlighting the importance of bees to our environment. This unique farm promotes the sustainability of the Honeybee for environmental impact, food security, and economic growth.
Must-try artisanal products
For unique chocolate flavours synonymous with Dubai such as date and cardamom, visitors must head to Mirzam Chocolate in Al Quoz 3. Designed for the production process to be transparent, visitors can experience every aspect of chocolate making at this beautiful workshop, from roasting cocoa beans to hand wrapping each bar. Since launching the workshop in 2016, Mirzam has achieved five awards from the Academy of Chocolate, cementing its position as a delicious destination for all to enjoy.
There is only one place to find finest artisanal products every week and that is The Ripe Market, running across multiple locations across the city including the Dubai Police Academy, Springs Souk, Nakheel Mall and Times Square Centre. Supporting hundreds of makers to sell their goods, The Ripe Market not only nourishes local businesses but provides a platform for young, talented artisans in the UAE to grow and develop.
Dubai’s Spice Souk is a colourful, aromatic and sensory experience, and a great way to discover the region’s authentic flavours. Visitors can discover the foundations of traditional Arabic and South Asian cuisine as they explore the old-world spice market in Dubai’s heritage area. Those visiting the souks can soak in the atmosphere of the past amongst mounds of herbs and spices, all spilling from large baskets at every turn. A wide variety of fragrant teas from all over the world is also on offer, providing the perfect pit stop for therapeutic refreshment after a tiring day of exploring.
Finally, no trip to Dubai would be complete without savouring its signature delicacy; the humble date. With more than nine indigenous date varieties including the Khalas date and the Barhi date, date palms are as synonymous with the Middle East as oil and sand. Visitors can purchase these sweet gems on every corner of the city, with luxurious boutiques such as Bateel offering tasting sessions and farm to table experiences, as well as a brief history on the date’s importance in the region. For those wanting to get an in depth look at the date production process, Dubai is soon to house the world’s largest privately owned date factory, Al Barakah Dates, set to run on 6,500 solar panels to offset 3,000 tonnes of emissions per year.
All visitors to Dubai can confidently tour the city with peace of mind knowing that stringent measures have been put in place to ensure their health and safety, underpinned by the DUBAI ASSURED stamp, a compliance protocol that recognises and certifies all establishments within the tourism ecosystem that are adhering to the health and safety guidelines. Dubai was also awarded the ‘Safe Travels’ stamp by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) in 2020, giving travellers more confidence to visit the destination in 2021.