Dubai is not only a melting pot but also a frying pan with a hot, spicy and savoury mix of foods from around half of the world, from Morocco to Philippines. Immigrants bring their food traditions to Dubai, creating a diverse, exotic and highly affordable food scene.
Anywhere, including Dubai, the tourist’s strategy of getting a tasty, safe and inexpensive lunch is simple: ask and look around to find where locals eat, avoid empty places (there must be a reason).
This Iranian restaurant is extremely popular with tourists, locals and expats. Like it always happens with household names, some Iranian cuisine lovers say it is hyped up and overrated. But it is worth at least giving a try (especially kebabs cooked in yogurt).
On the eastern side of the Dubai Creek lies Deira, one of the oldest Dubai districts. Deira is densely populated, mostly by migrant workers.
In fact, less than 15% of the population of the emirate is made up of Emirati nationals. The majority are expatriates (many were born in the UAE), chiefly Indian and Pakistani.
Most of the famous Dubai souks (markets) are located in Deira: the spice souk, the gold souk, the fish market.
But the best reason to sail across the Creek to Deira are numerous spots selling shawarma, falafel and pastry. The noisy and dusty streets of Deira are awash with cheap authentic yummy food from around the world, so you can have a quick bite for just a few dirhams. Among the most promising Deira streets for gastronomic adventures are Al Muraqqabat Street and Al Mateena Street that runs parallel.
A popular network of inexpensive Indian-Pakistani restaurants with an average check about 20-30 AED. Mutton curry is especially recommended.
The restaurant has 3 locations, but the one in Deira is legendary. They have been serving Syrian and Lebanese food on the corner of Al Muraqqabat Road and Al Jazira Street for 35 years. A main course costs 20-30 AED.
A Jordanian-Palestinian eatery at Al Muraqqabat Street. Try mansaf — a Jordanian dish made of lamb or goat meat cooked with preserved yoghurt. Another local pride is kanafeh — sweet, crunchy and super cheesy pastry soaked in a syrup. Falafel is also pretty good. 30 AED is the average check.