Global Village has returned for another season of fun and excitement — and a whole lot of food. In fact, the experience is incomplete without taking a bite or two out of the park’s diverse culinary offerings.
More than 200 restaurants, cafes and street food options are on-site this season, making Global Village a must-visit for foodies.
Scroll through the gallery above to see dishes you can try at Global Village
In the vast sea of choices are a mix of Global Village favourites, including the always-busy Bosnian House, as well as new arrivals including Indian casual dining concept Khaojee by Michelin-lauded chef Rohit Ghai.
“We try and have new concepts every year, so people can try stuff they wouldn’t be able to anywhere else,” Jaki Ellenby, the park’s executive marketing director, tells The National.
She says the park, which is open during UAE's cooler months, has become an incubator of sorts for entrepreneurs — both seasoned and young ones — as they navigate how to enter the bustling food and drink community of the country. "People can come and see if a concept works," says Ellenby. "We have a lot of entrepreneurs that are trying for the first time to see if they want to get into this industry."
Culinary tourism plays a crucial role in the success of the park, which welcomed a record-breaking 7.8 million guests during its previous season. Last year, Global Village launched a guided tour called Culinary Trails, where guests were treated to a food-themed walk around the park, trying the offerings from various vendors. The tour is back this season too.
The park, which spans 1.6 million square metres, assembles the food options in groups, so that a food walk feels more intuitive. One of the most popular chow corners in the park is the Floating Market, which serves a number of cuisines from Asia, including grilled seafood, chicken skewers, Vietnamese pho and Korean dumplings, among many other dishes. The famed mango sticky rice dessert is also on offer.
The juicy chicken barbecue skewers served at one of the stalls in the market are indeed reminiscent of the South-East Asian street food scene — particularly the popular food carts peppered across Manila in the Philippines.
Other food spots serving a variety of street food-style options such as cheesy baked potato and crispy fried chicken are spread across the eclectic Happiness Street, Fiesta Street and Indian Chaat Bazaar.
There are also some interesting kiosks this time around, notably the Emirati gabgoob at Crab Kiosk. A creamy dish served in a crab shell, it is the perfect mix of cheese with a seafood flavour.
One prominent area this year is Restaurant Alley, which features four two-storey restaurants including Khaojee, as well as Belgrave, a Persian outlet by award-winning chef Amin Ebra, whose grandfather served as a head chef for the Iranian royal family.
The massive selection of food and beverage in Global Village truly speaks to its aim of bringing diverse cultures under one proverbial roof. "Global Village is all about people discovering other cultures and one of the best ways to experience any culture is through its cuisine," said Ali Al Hashimi, director of commercial and sponsorship at the park.
Although the park has many other attractions, which have significantly expanded over the years, there are still many visitors who come mainly for its culinary offerings. The restaurants are a given, but another one of Global Village's allure is what you can find to eat at the various pavilions.
"In the pavilions, there are a lot of ingredients, like beautiful spices, for cooking," Ellenby says. "If you are a foodie, it's also worth visiting the pavilions and trying the special food products from different countries."
Global Village is open from 4pm to midnight from Sunday to Wednesday and 4pm to 1am from Thursday to Saturday. More information is available at globalvillage.ae
Scroll through the gallery below to see the newly opened ice rink at Global Village