Dubai's popular Sticky Rice Thai restaurant to open first Abu Dhabi branch next month

The family-run joint will open its long-awaited outpost in the capital at Yas Mall

The Sticky Rice hoardings at Yas Mall, Abu Dhabi. Photo: Instagram / Sticky Rice
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Popular Dubai Thai restaurant Sticky Rice has announced its first branch in Abu Dhabi will open in February.

The family-run restaurant first revealed plans to open a site in the capital in 2021. On Tuesday, it gave its fans an update via its Instagram account, announcing the restaurant will open at Yas Mall next month.

Sharing pictures of the branch's hoardings, the restaurant said: "Happy new year everyone! We know that it’s been a minute since we gave you all a much-needed update, so here goes! Abu Dhabi we know you have been patiently waiting and we will open our doors to you all in February @yasmallad. Much love and see you all soon!"

The popular brand, which has its original branch in Jumeirah Village Circle, said opening in Abu Dhabi was a dream of its owner Amena Rakkuson, lovingly known as “Mama” among patrons, who died of Covid-19-related complications in 2021.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates - August 17, 2019: Mother and son duo open Thai restaurant: Mohamed Abedin, Emirati, and his Thai mother, Amena Rakkuson. Saturday the 17th of August 2019. JVC, Dubai. Chris Whiteoak / The National

The Sticky Rice story

Sticky Rice was a passion project for Rakkuson and her son, Mo Abedin, whose father is Emirati. Abedin was born in Bangkok, where he lived and worked, before he returned to the UAE with his family.

Abedin's mother fed Dubai’s Thai community for 20 years.

Rakkuson began working out of the family kitchen and delivered meals across the city, sometimes driving for up to six hours a day to feed people who craved a taste of Thailand.

She established 200 regular customers, who would order everything from the spicy tom yum soup and pad Thai noodles to other traditional dishes that take up to eight hours to make, she told The National in 2019.

Rakkuson, who made meals for her family from the age of 9, said it was always her dream to have her own restaurant.

Self-taught, she read everything she could get her hands on, and would go around the street markets of Bangkok asking how things were made, often being shooed away by busy traders, but still learning about the ingredients and methodology for the craft that would become her calling.

“This has always been a big dream of hers and we are proud to be able to make that happen,” the announcement post said. “Mama we’re going to Abu Dhabi!”

This story was originally published on November 29, 2021

Updated: January 03, 2023, 12:48 PM