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Although we’ve been to more than ninety countries, it was our first trip to Dubai, the stunning metropolis in the desert. We immediately booked two Dubai food tours to learn more about the food scene there, and I will share our experiences with you here. We also booked a highly-rated desert tour which was easily the highlight of our entire trip, so I wanted to share this as well. Don’t miss this one!
Three Dubai Food Tours
When you think of Dubai, you may not think of food but you would be so wrong. We have curated three amazing tours in Dubai – two Dubai food tours and one sublime evening of adventure, delicious food and entertainment in the desert that you won’t want to miss.
by Explore Dubai with Gomez and Sandy | Guide: Gomez | 3 hours
We met our guide Gomez – a chef by profession – at the Al Ras metro station, and as we walked, he began to tell us a little about the history of the city. The point of this tour was to get away from flashy Dubai and go back to its humble roots as a fishing village. We headed towards Deira, one of the oldest parts of the city, where we got to taste riqaq, their famous Arabic crepe. Next were a few tasty snacks. First we tried chocolate-covered dates, then gelato made with camel milk, an important ingredient to the Bedouin community. It was creamy and delicious, perfect for a hot day.
We strolled through the gold and spice souks and learned about their place in their culture. While at the spice market, he showed us many of them while describing their traditional medicinal use.
We then took a boat called an abra across Dubai Creek to Bur Dubai, where we explored the textile souks and the historical Al Fahidi neighborhood. We learned about the döner kebabs of Europe, then got to taste one of the best shawarma in Dubai. It was warm, savory and so good.
At our next stop, a local restaurant, we sampled a typical Arabic mezza platter, which included hummus, tabouleh – a parsley salad, mutabal – a spicy eggplant dip, stuffed grape leaves, samboska – a fried filled pastry similar to a samosa, and kuboos – Arabian pita bread. Our last stop was another restaurant where we tried camel meat in the form of hamburgers. In my opinion it tasted very similar to a beef burger but it was fun to try it.
by Frying Pan Food Adventures | Guide: Arva | 3-4 hours
We met our guide Arva in central Deira, then set off on foot to explore bustling Al Murraqqabat. This colorful area is home to many different restaurants serving various Middle Eastern cuisines. This tour had five stops and introduced us to restaurants and bakeries serving food from Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Syria.
Alva discussed the area’s gastronomy as we strolled around the neighborhood. We sampled at stops along the way, first a cheese pastry and tahini-drizzled falafel filled with greens, as we heard about their roots and recipes. Spicy traditional Iraqi fare was next, then an Iranian ice cream studded with pistachio nuts. Walking through spice markets, we learned where to buy Iranian saffron – regarded as the best in the world. We finished with gooey Lebanese baklava – syrup-soaked phyllo parcels. She sent us off with and tips and recommendations for finding the best foods on our own.
by OceanAir Travels | 7 hours
After being picked up from our hotel, we were transported out to the red dunes of Dubai’s Lahbab desert, which took about an hour. We started with a 4WD dune bash, which was awesome. (You can even ride ATVs for an extra charge.) Then we were dropped off at the beautiful Bedouin-inspired Al Khayma camp, where we were greeted with Arabic coffee, exotic sweets and fresh dates. I had ever had FRESH dates and they were a fantastic revelation!
We took camel rides as the sun began to dip down. The guides took a series of fun photos at sunset, then we were free to partake in some of the cultural activities set up around camp: a falcon interaction (falconry!), henna hand painting, camel feeding, smoking shisha, and a photo shoot in traditional Arabian kandara and abaya clothing. It was a really fun dip into another culture.
We were then seated for our starlit barbecue-buffet dinner and live shows. The meal exceeded our expectations – excursion buffets are often mailed in but this was pretty spectacular. Several different grilled meats, rice, pita bread with hummus and labneh, salad, fruit and other vegetable sides, some pasta, plus dessert. It was all delicious.
Then the show began. First there was a woman belly-dancing Khaliji style, which was lovely. Then we had a fire-breathing fire dancer which was simply mesmerizing. We wrapped up the night with some star-gazing in the vast, clear sky, then it was time for the journey back to the city.
This tour is five-star-rated with over 11,500 reviews so it’s pretty unanimous – it’s a no-brainer.
Other Top Things to Do in Dubai
Here is a list of the other most popular, can’t-miss things to do in Dubai:
Ultimate 2-Day and 7-Day Itineraries in Dubai
Summary: Dubai Food Tours + Top Things to Do
We have curated three amazing tours in Dubai – two Dubai food tours and one sublime evening of adventure, great food, and entertainment in the desert. Be sure to check out our other top things to do in Dubai, as well as sample itineraries to jump-start your planning so you won’t miss a thing.