Dubai’s booming expat population (an estimated 83% of its residents are foreign born) makes it one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world. And there’s one particular benefit to being a global melting pot of cultures: really, really good food. From cute cafes to stellar street food, there’s no doubt you’ll eat well during your visit to the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates. Here’s the lowdown on some of the hottest casual-eating food spots in Dubai right now.
Burgers aren’t usually the first thing that spring to mind when you think of Indian cuisine, but they’re one of the stars on the menu at GObai, which purveys dishes inspired by the southern state of Goa. Go for the vindaloo pulled-lamb sliders or the beef chorizo and Goan slaw wrapped in lightly buttered paratha.
Find the truck: GObai
For a healthy treat, keep an eye out for the easy-to-spot, white and peppermint design of the Melt van. This guilt-free food truck serves healthy frozen treats, including non-fat frozen yogurt, 100% real-fruit popsicles and a range of dairy- and gluten-free drinks. Try the flavoured coconut milks — chocolate and banana are the clear favourites among locals.
Tom & Serg
Representing the Australian contingent in Dubai, Melbourne-inspired eatery Tom & Serg in Al Quoz not only offers up some of the best coffee in town, but also Aussie staples like avocado toast and toasted sourdough with Vegemite (the salted caramel French toast is also a sure winner). And it’s more than just the food that has people flocking to its airy space—the fresh, minimalist decor (and free WiFi) makes it a hotspot for Instagrammers.
Nachos, burritos, tacos, quesadillas—the gang’s all here at Mexican food truck, Calle Taco. Though the menu is fairly simple, it has locals lining up for its Southern California take on Mexican cuisine. Be sure to try the homemade salsas—which are made using secret family recipes that came from the owners’ hometowns in Mexico—as well as the refreshing horchata and sangria.
Find the truck: Calle Tacos
Another thing that comes with having a diverse population is a complicated array of dietary requirements. For those who prefer a vegan or gluten-free lifestyle, Comptoir 102 is a beloved dining spot. Serving up healthy dishes and smoothies crafted from local organic ingredients, this adorable beachside locale is also a fashion and furniture boutique. Even better? You can stock up on provisions at its Organic Grocery and Market every Saturday from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm.
Changing the face of curry as we know it, Moti Roti is dedicated to bringing Dubai the tempting flavors of rotis — traditional Pakistani flatbreads inspired by regional north Punjabi food — but without the excessive oils and spices often used to make them. The truck has been so successful that a permanent location has recently opened in Dubai’s Jumeirah Lakes Towers, though the truck still makes appearances at events. Their home-style curries are cooked on the spot and topped with a variety of chutneys. The Spicy Chick roti is just under 400 calories and will still fill you up, but for an extra indulgence, try the onion bhaji rings.
Find the truck: Moti Roti
There’s so much to pack into your itinerary during your stay in Dubai that you’ll easily work up an appetite.