Syria shares much of its cuisine with its Levantine neighbours: hummus, flatbreads, grilled meats, falafel. However, there’s one dish that sets the country apart, and that’s “booza”, stretchy, chewy ice-cream that’s pounded flat, layered with pistachios, and then rolled and sliced. It’s absolutely delicious, and you’ll find it at Aroos Damascus, a casual Syrian restaurant in the Deira neighbourhood, 25 minutes by car from Fraser Suites Dubai.
Aroos Damascus: Ground Floor, Green Palace Hotel - Al Muraqqabat Rd - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
As with many countries in the Middle East, Egypt is a nation passionate about region-wide staples such as falafel and hummus, but it boasts a few signature dishes you won’t find anywhere else. The likes of ful medames, a fava-bean soup, and koshari, a carb-heavy mix of rice, chickpeas, pasta and tomatoes are Egypt’s own twist on the region’s most used ingredients.
Both of those dishes are served at Hadoota Masreya, an upmarket eatery about 15 minutes north of Fraser Suites Dubai. Don’t go too hard on the koshari though – the traditional desserts here, such as zalabya, or fried dough balls, and baqlawa, sweet pastries, are also excellent.
Hadoota Masreya: Sheikh Zayed Rd - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
Ask any member of Dubai’s Pakistani diaspora where to sample the cuisine of their homeland and there’s a fair chance they’ll answer with one word: Ravi. Ravi Restaurant is nothing fancy, with plastic tables and chairs set out on a busy street in the Al Satwa neighbourhood, but the food here is top-notch, the sort of authentic cuisine that expats crave.
Come here for fiery curries, fresh-baked breads, shish-kebabs, seafood and much more. And expect that plenty of other people will have had the same idea. It’s a 20-minute drive from Fraser Suites Dubai.
Ravi Restaurant: 7HQQ67MH+CJ - Al Satwa - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
Somewhat oddly, one of the most difficult Middle Eastern cuisines to access in the United Arab Emirates is that of the United Arab Emirates.
This is food Emiratis tend to eat at home, rather than at restaurants. However, there are a few eateries serving traditional local food, the likes of classics such as “fattesh”, a dish of bread, chickpeas, eggplant and yoghurt, and “machboos”, slow-cooked rice and meat with cardamom and saffron.