Today the UAE’s first astronaut Hazza Al Mansoori stepped into the International Space Station (ISS) – making him the first Emirati to reach orbit.
To make the moment more historic, Al Mansoori will stage an Emirati food night while clad in traditional attire.
Al Mansoori will be serving local dishes – madrooba, saloona and balaleet – to his fellow astronauts in space.
This certainly is a great leap not just for the UAE’s space ambitions but for local cuisine as well.
If you’ve never tried Emirati cuisine before, which in a way is under-represented here (or we simply don’t know where to look), then here are a few restaurants worth visiting any time of the day…
Serving genuine local cuisine is this Emirati restaurant located across the country. Al Fanar summons the UAE’s 1960s spirit with interiors inspired by Bedouin lifestyle.
The menu is as authentic as you get, with dishes that include mohalla, chebab (Emirate pancake) and balalit ma khoboz wagafi (sweetened thin noodle with cardamom, saffron and plain omelete).
Other options to try are koftat samak (deep fried crumbled fish with onion and coriander leaves), machboos samak and deyay, naghar nashef (squid cooked in rich tomato sauce) and aysh mohammar ma samak magli (rice cooked in dates syrup with pan fried fish) and thereed deyay (thin Arabic bread in chicken stew with potato and vegetables).
We’ve barely scratched the surface and there are many food options to choose from. This restaurant is the perfect way to get re-acquainted with Emirati cuisine.
Yas Mall, Yas Island. Sun-Wed 8.30am-10pm, Thu-Sat 8.30am-11pm.
Bringing Emirati home cooking closer to the public is Yadoo’s House, which means Grandmother’s House.
This cosy eatery blends traditional Emirati cuisine with touch of contemporary flavours. Just some of the items to try are al taybeen pasta (macaroni mixed with tender chicken breasts and Arabic sauces), fish kofta, beef salona served with rice, grilled hamour and kabab, and sweet treats like loqaymat and dates aseeda.
We’re also vouching for the snacks such as khameer, mohala and chebab (traditional Emirati bread served with side cheese and honey).
Al Nast Tower 2, behind Holiday Inn, Muroor Street, Embassies District.
Daily 8am-11pm. Visit: yadooshouse.com
Rekindling traditional Emirati cuisine is this restaurant founded by Shaikha Al Kaabi. Meylas takes pride in its menu inspired by traditional style of cooking as prepared Emirati mums and grandmothers. The ingredients are all locally sourced too.
The menu selection are plentiful including Emirati meat wrap, arsiya or savoury rice pudding with chicken and local ghee, and salatat maleh or salt cured fish served with spiced onion and lime – yum!
Al Muneera, Al Raha Beach opposite Etihad Complex, Al Raha.
Daily 9am-10.30pm. Visit: meylas.com