Dubai is a melting pot of cultures, with as many as 200 nationalities living in the emirate. It is, therefore, not surprising that the region is peppered with a variety of restaurants and dining establishments, ranging from mom-and-pop eateries to exclusive five-star dining venues – all serving up an unbelievable range of cuisines from across the globe.
As a celebration of the diverse, creative, and multicultural flavor of the emirate’s culinary offerings, Dubai residents are treated to an annual month-long feast with the Dubai Food Festival (DFF), which was launched in 2014.
Currently entering its third year, this festival celebrates the emirate’s love affair with food by hosting a variety of food-related events and showcasing some of the world’s most celebrated chefs.
The DFF is organized by the Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), under the umbrella of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), as part of wider strategy to boost tourism and enhance growth of the retail sector through the development of a year-long program of citywide festivals.
Here are 9 great reasons you should not miss this annual food fiesta!
1. Great venue to sample local fare
Local Emirati cuisine has not yet found international popularity, but if you want to sample a host of local dishes from al machboos (slow-cooked rice with meat, onion, dried lemon, and spices) to the immensely popular shawarma (Arabic roti wrap with meat, pickles, fries, tomatoes, and garlic), the Dubai Food festival is the perfect venue.
Looking to promote local fare, this annual event features a host of traditional dishes, each cooked in an authentic style by well-known Arabic chefs – who show off their culinary prowess by infusing the food with delicate local flavors to give you a real taste of the food that local Emiratis love to eat and share!
2. Opportunity to hobnob with internationally renowned chefs
The Dubai Food Festival showcases the talents of internationally renowned chefs from all over the world, and presents the perfect opportunity to meet with some of these celebrity chefs.
3. Wonderful food from around the world
International cuisines cooked by local experts are the highlight of the festival. If you are a foodie and love to experiment with flavors, this annual event is a must.
Apart from local cuisine, the festival brings to Dubai the mouth-watering flavors of Asian, South American, and European cuisine, giving food enthusiasts the unique opportunity to sample these in a variety of locations brimming with fun and entertainment.
4. Plenty of live cooking demonstrations
Food experts showcase their cooking talents with many live cooking events, where audiences are invited to participate and get hands-on experience with different international dishes. This urban food fiesta provides the ideal opportunity to add some unique and exotic dishes to your cooking repertoire.
5. Fun-filled experience for the entire family
Much more than just a food festival, this event is more like a food carnival with plenty of fun activities for everyone. Entertainment ranges from cooking competitions to live music and entertainment on a big stage set up especially for the event, along with a kid’s zone to keep the little ones happily engaged.
6. Exciting activities that are unique to the food festival
Food-related events that are unique to the festival are a big draw for people looking for a different experience. Dining tours are quickly gaining popularity, and are a new concept at the food festival.
Various packages ranging from AED 9,000 to AED 28,000 offer guests a one-off opportunity to experience special events – such as the mystery dining tours, which carve out a unique experience with each tour.
7. Theme-based concept that varies every year
The Dubai Food Festival is organized around themes that range from local and international cuisines to celebrity chefs and the ever-popular street-food festival. The latter is an event that showcases many food outlets that serve up items on their menus as street food.
Food trucks also move around the city offering residents street food from across the globe. Food photography is a featured event where renowned food photographers exhibit their creative photographs on a food-central theme.
The themes for the food festival are likely to change every year in an effort to keep up with the changing food trends across the globe.
8. Something to suit every budget
Events at the food festival are held at a variety of locations, from five-star luxury hotspots to everyday dining restaurants and cafes. This gives residents the opportunity to try out new venues and explore new dining options to broaden their culinary horizons.
9. Pop-up dining venues
A new concept at the last food festival, several locations across the emirate host pop-up dining venues that only remain open for the duration of the festival. These venues serve up a variety of food fare, including local cuisine as well as specially-prepared menus designed by a host of internationally celebrated chefs.