What to eat at Expo 2020 Dubai: celebrity chefs, concepts and home-grown brands announced

Here's everything you need to know about the culinary options at the coming exhibition

David Thompson’s Thai street-food chain Long Chim will be coming to Expo 2020. Expo 2020 Dubai
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Expo 2020 Dubai promises to have more on show than culture, technology, performances and architecture – it's also set to be a foodie haven.

Ahead of the exhibition's opening in October, new details have been released about its culinary offerings. This includes pop-ups from Michelin-starred chefs, cuisines for every budget and palate, and a plethora of international restaurants debuting in the UAE.

"One of the best ways to discover a country is by sampling its cuisine, and at Expo 2020, visitors are able to eat their way around the world without it leaving the UAE," says Marjan Faraidooni, chief visitor experience officer of Expo 2020 Dubai.

“Many of the 191 participating countries will also be serving authentic dishes and drinks at their pavilions."

Here’s a look at some of the things to expect at the global fair.

Celebrity chefs

David Myers will bring classic American fast food with an international influence to Adrift Burger Bar. Expo 2020 Dubai

Expo 2020 Dubai will feature a lauded line-up of award-winning chefs representing restaurants that have earned Michelin stars.

This includes American restaurateur David Myers, who will combine classic American fast food with an international influence at Adrift Burger Bar, and celebrated Armenian-American chef Geoffrey Zakarian, who will debut The National Bar & Dining Rooms, his vision of a grand cafe, offering modern bistro cuisine. Both restaurants are new concepts making their debut at Expo 2020.

Celebrity chef, author and entrepreneur Matthew Kenney, meanwhile, will serve renditions of American, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavours through three plant-based restaurant concepts from the US.

Michelin-starred chef Rohit Ghai will bring Kutir from London’s Chelsea to Expo 2020. Expo 2020 Dubai

Mory Sacko, a rising talent in Paris's restaurant scene whose MoSuke restaurant was awarded a Michelin star only two months after opening, will bring his signature African-Japanese fusion cuisine to the UAE.

Finally, Rohit Ghai – known for his work at various Michelin-starred restaurants – will bring an outpost of acclaimed restaurant Kutir from London’s Chelsea to Dubai. Kutir draws inspiration from the royal tradition of hunting expeditions in the Indian countryside to create an experimental menu. Some of the restaurant's most famous dishes include the truffle and mushroom khichdi and a 24-hour slow-cooked rogan josh.

New concepts

Bread Ahead specialises in doughnuts and gluten-free sourdough. Expo 2020 Dubai

UAE residents will be able to taste new flavours as internationally acclaimed restaurants are introduced at Expo 2020. These include famous Italian venue Scarpetta, which will launch its first burrata bar, and Australian chef David Thompson’s renowned Thai street-food chain Long Chim.

Other tasty arrivals include the British concept Bread Ahead, which specialises in doughnuts and gluten-free sourdough; Beirut’s neighbourhood Mediterranean joint Baron; and Kojaki, a fusion concept that melds Japanese and Korean cuisines.

Residents can also expect to find a host of new foodie experiences. Alkebulan African dining hall, curated by former opera singer-turned-restaurateur Alexander Smalls, will feature 11 chef-led concepts from across the African continent.

Taste of the Gulf will celebrate the region’s rich culinary heritage, while Talabat will host a cloud kitchen, with delivery robots and robotic baristas also touted to make an appearance.

Home-grown favourites

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – Mar 24: People enjoying food in the evening at Ravi restaurant in Al Satwa in Dubai. (Pawan Singh / The National) For Personal Finance. Story by Daniel Bardsley  *** Local Caption ***  PS07- RAVI RESTAURANT.jpg

Visitors can also sample the best the UAE has to offer at Expo 2020 Dubai, including the nation's hidden culinary gems.

Local favourites, serving everything from authentic Middle Eastern fare to Indian and Filipino cuisines, will be on display.

This includes stalwarts such as Arabian Tea House; Al Farwania, famous for its biryani and karak tea; Filipino hot spot Dampa Seafood Grill; Lebanon's Al Reef Bakery; and Hanon Feras Sweets, famous for its delicious kunafa.

The six-month spectacle also features Pakistani street food go-to Ravi Restaurant; Maraheb Yemeni Restaurant; Chicken Tikka Inn; and Sarouja Restaurant and Cafe, a popular Syrian and Mediterranean spot.

Expo 2020 Dubai, a celebration of human creativity, innovation, progress and culture, will run from Friday, October 1, 2021 to Thursday, March 31, 2022.

Details on tickets and timings are available here.

Updated: August 04, 2021, 2:05 PM