First Ajman Food Festival focuses on local business and restaurants

Running until Sunday at Marsa Ajman, offerings include Arabic and Asian specialties

The Ajman Food Festival opened on Thursday evening. Antonie Robertson / The National
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The first Ajman Food Festival is on now, and the event mostly features home-grown restaurants and food businesses.

More than 35 food stalls, including some that are shaped like colourful containers are spread across Marsa Ajman, as the inaugural four-day festival kicked-off on Thursday evening.

A marching band that played Swedish rock band Europe's hit song The Final Countdown welcomed visitors— mostly families with young children. There's a small stage set up at the centre of the waterfront plaza, while the food stalls are lined up on each side.

There are also two inflatable slides for the little ones, who kept the candy floss cart busy throughout opening night. The al fresco festival runs until Sunday.

Things to try at the festival

Different types of food are on offer — from classic Arabic dishes such as luqaimat and shawarma, to Asian specialties such as sushi and takoyaki.

Most of the participating brands are new, including The Mumz Kitchen, an at-home business run by four Egyptian sisters, selling their mother's home-cooked meals.

“This is our mother's dream,” the eldest of the four, Fatima Aboegad, tells The National. One of the busier stalls of the evening, The Mumz Kitchen offers dishes such as koshary, cheesy baked macaroni and peppers stuffed with rice.

“The four of us do the business side, from logistics to marketing, while our mom, who retired three months ago from a retail job, cooks the meals,” she says. The Ajman business is only three weeks old, but the family, all present at the event, were excited to have such an event in the emirate.

Other stalls include Ash House, which sells pickled vegetables; Super Coffee, with a catchy neon-lit container; and Filipino-owned Asian restaurant Alpaca Grill House, which travelled from Sharjah to participate in the festival.

“The Ajman Food Festival comes to support national projects, investors in the food and beverage sector, and owners of small and medium enterprises, and to spread the culture of entrepreneurship in society,” said Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser Al Nuaimi, the director of business development administration at the Ajman Department of Economic Development.

More well-known restaurants were also present including Al Roof Restaurant and Cafe, a popular rooftop restaurant located at Ajman Corniche and Syrian dessert shop Bakdash, with its famed booza — a chewy frozen dessert made with milk, cream, sugar and mastic (plant resin).

Other participants at the festival include Turkish dessert shop Abbasoglu, Kuwaiti restaurant Al Mubarakiya, Fatayer Station and Mschocolla.

Ajman Food Festival is on from 5pm-10pm until Sunday at Marsa Ajman

Updated: March 10, 2023, 8:41 AM