Ella Tindal
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An Overview of Food and Drink Prices in UAE

UAE is a leading destination to enjoy the premium quality food and five-star hospitality services. Whether you’re looking for Japanese, Chinese, Italian, Arabic, Mexican and any other type of food at any restaurant, you can easily find them in the United Arab Emirates. The reason is that expats and visitors to the country prefer to their regional cuisines when they come to this international country. With growing influence of UAE residents and expats over the last two decades, UAE has also led to a rise in the consumption of food and beverage products. Here, I’m going to discuss food culture, food and drink prices in UAE, and the most popular Emirati cuisines.

food in UAE
Image credit by arndigital

Some Facts about the UAE Food and Drink Sector

An interesting survey reveals some quite amazing things about the people of UAE. For example, a lot of people often love to eat out and spend more money on hoteling. They’re always ready to pay more for the right dining experience. They give more importance to online reviews and word of mouth than the traditional advertising when they are deciding for a delicious feast. Some recent facts about the UAE food and drink sector are here:

  • The UAE Food and beverage sector is currently valuated at £4.89 billion with an annual growth rate of 8%, which is predicted between 2013 and 2016.
  • £23.5 billion was recorded as the total value of food & drink imports, exports, and re-exports in 2013.
  • 85% of food & beverages are imported in UAE because of its agriculture that accounts for 1% of GDP.
  • UK is the major importer to the UAE, as it is stated that the products of £6.4 billion were imported from the UK in 2014 out of which £417 million was food and beverages.
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Food Culture in UAE

Healthy and delicious food is always loved in every corner of the world as well as in UAE.  Due to the harsh desert conditions, Emiratis use meat, grains, dairy products, vegetables and dates abundantly as the core ingredients of the traditional food because they are easily available. Camel meat is commonly reserved for special occasions. Saffron, cardamom, turmeric, mint and thyme are the basic flavors added to the traditional dishes.

Seafood is the mainstay of Emirati food culture. Most of the population of UAE is Muslim. Being a Muslim country, there is a prohibition on the use of pork and alcohol. Ayranser, coffee, and tea are the most popular beverages in the Emirate. The addition of cardamom, saffron, and mint gives a unique flavor to the traditional Emiratis beverages. Besides of this, camel milk and juices are also liked.

For the tourists as a substitute for pork, hotels have beef sausages and veal rasher in the menu. Alcohol is strictly reserved for the hotels, restaurants, and bars. It is served only in licensed restaurants, clubs, bars and private venues. However, alcohol is not yet available in Sharjah.

With the fast growing new trends in food and beverages sector, a remarkable growth in fast food chains, restaurants, and food outlets has been noticed. According to general estimation, about 66% of the Emiratis dine out at least once a week. Fast home delivery or take away service is also an important and relative part of this section.

Image credit by ontimetravel
Image credit by ontimetravel

Food and Drink Prices in UAE

Food and drink prices in UAE are not very high. They fluctuate time to time but Government makes it possible that people can buy their household items at reasonable rates. According to a recent survey of beverages and food prices in UAE, the following facts and figures have come to light;

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Average cost of goods from the cost of living section

Food and Beverages Weight Price
Milk 1 liter 5.65 AED
White Rice 1 Kg 8.35 AED
Local Cheese 1 kg 30.29 AED
Eggs 12 10.31 AED
Loaf of fresh white bread 500 grams 4.25 AED
Chicken boneless 1 kg 25.07 AED
Beef round 1 kg 38.04 AED
Apples 1 kg 8.65 AED
Bananas 1 kg 6.78 AED
Oranges 1 kg 7.35 AED
Tomato 1 kg 6.28 AED
Potatoes 1 kg 4.47 AED
Onion 1 kg 4.02 AED
Lettuce 1 head 6.76 AED

 The World’s Popular Emirati Cuisine

UAE is the world’s best holiday destination for adventure lovers. If you are going to plan a holiday, it would be a great experience to find out the treasures of the desert dunes, riding camels, walking on red sand, enjoying the ride of sail powered vehicles, enjoying the sunset and dining on the UAE beaches clustered with palm trees with long stretches of white sand. Along with all these alluring attractions, the Emirate has a great attraction for food lovers as well. Whether you are native to the UAE or enjoying holidays here, traditional Emirati cuisine is always a temptation for your taste buds on a visit beyond your imaginations.

Here is a list of some traditional and famous dishes from Emirati Cuisine;

  1. Stuffed Camel

Stuffed camel is the most amazing and popular Emirati Cuisine and has fame across the globe. It is also mentioned in Guinness Book of World Records. It is a dish with these core ingredients: baked whole camel, 20 chickens, boiled eggs, fish and rice. This lavish dish is usually served in wedding ceremonies.

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camel meat
Image credit by insidermonkey
  1. Al Harees

A mouth watering aroma and mind blowing taste of Al Harees makes it preeminent among all Emirati Dishes. It is a very healthy and delicious dish usually cooked for hours with the combination of a few simple ingredients including wheat, meat, and a pinch of salt. Smooth paste and topping of ghee make it more mouth watering. Spices can be added according to your desire.

al harees
Image credit by rnkr-static
  1. Shawarma

Shawarma is a favorite food of Emiratis and also popular worldwide. It is prepared with the stuffed lamb, chicken or camel meat, spices, garlic sauce, tomatoes and pickles commonly wrapped in an Arabic Roti. The taste and preparation method can vary from place to place. People in UAE normally order a special strawberry and banana blended drink with Shawarma.

Image credit by wprost.pl
  1. Hummus

A delicious smooth blend of chickpeas, olive oil, tahini paste, lemon juice, garlic and salt served with pita bread is namely known as Hummus in UAE. It is a perfect appetizer or snack. It can be served along with shawarma or various foods.

image credit by netsolhost
  1. Falafel

Falafel, a well-known Emirati dish, is also known as Ta’amia in the Middle East. Arabic colorto with the combination of fried chickpeas and various spices is usually served as a side dish.  It’s unique and scrumptious taste satisfies the appetite as well as the taste buds.

Image credit by intertour
Ella Tindal is an enthusiastic European traveler who adores exploring the expat living in UAE. She dedicates herself to know the lifestyle of major cities of UAE. She shares her memories and experiences of different tours via Papaorder Blog. She offers information about anything including accommodation, transportation, and food etc. that may be helpful for you. So, if you want to read her travel stories, subscribe Papaorder Blog.

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Papaorder Blog explores the food culture of various nations while the main focus is on Arabic culinary style and culture.

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