The Dubai Food Festival kicks off on Thursday and, as usual, there are plenty of tasty treats to tempt food-lovers during the 17-day event.
This year features the return of the popular beach canteen, as well as a wide range of cooking classes, a focus on street food, some budget-friendly dining deals during Dubai Restaurant Week, the 10th anniversary of Taste of Dubai, and much more.
“We are delighted to bring Dubai Food Festival back this year, uniting people all over the city with a 17-day menu of incredible dining experiences, luxury food concepts and a flavour of local dishes,” says Issam Kazim, chief executive of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing.
“From desert dining to stunning waterside restaurants, Dubai Food Festival is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate Dubai’s rich melting pot of cuisine and put our city firmly on the global gastronomy map for the world to see.”
Here is our guide to getting the most out of the festival.
February 23 to March 11
This year the Beach Canteen, one of the highlights of the festival, has a new home: on the beach behind Sunset Mall, on Jumeirah Beach Road.
You will find something new there daily throughout the festival, including masterclasses and cooking demonstrations hosted by star chefs in the Al Islami Kitchen. They include Michelin-starred chefs Heinz Beck and Jason Atherton, along with American chef and television personality Geoffrey Zakarian, “Queen of the Arabian Kitchen” Manal Al Alem, and teenage star Chef Bella, who will show visitors how to make a bento lunch box.
Local chefs will also host demonstrations. They include Pierchic’s new executive chef, Paolo Bellamio, who will show guests what goes into creating the restaurant’s signature dishes, such as white bean cappuccino and manjari chocolate assiette. Catch him from 4pm on Friday, February 24.
The Beach Canteen will also showcase some of the best home-grown offerings, plenty of street food and an array of high-end beach-dining experiences.
There will also be a range of family-friendly activities, fitness classes, beach football, farmers’ markets, open-mic nights, children’s play areas and a beach cinema throughout the festival. Entry is free.
[ Top Dubai Food festival dining experiences ]
Eat The World DXB
February 23 to 25
During the first weekend of the festival, Eat the World DXB will welcome 25 international street-food traders from the United Kingdom, the United States and Singapore. They will serve up their most popular fare alongside some of Dubai’s most notable street-food vendors.
“In only its second year, Eat the World DXB is now the world’s ultimate street-food festival in terms of its international spectrum of industry-leading street-food trucks and traders,” says Philip Lowery, director of Food Market Events Middle East, which owns and operates Eat the World DXB. “There is nothing else like it on the planet, let alone in the UAE.”
Ten street-food traders from the United States will be at the event, including Harlem Seafood Soul Truck, The Peached Tortilla, Endless Summer Sweets (think deep-fried Oreos) and Sushi and Seoul, a Florida food truck that dishes up octopus skewers.
The 10 from the United Kingdom include CrabbieShack – who won the Best of London gong at the British Street Food Awards in 2015 – The Cheese Truck, The Cheeky Italian and Bell & Brisket.
Singapore, arguably the street-food capital of the world, is represented by chef Shen Tan (famous for her nasi lemak), Kerbside Gourmet and MasterChef Asia winner Woo Wai Leong, who will host cooking workshops in the Singapore pavilion kitchen.
• Eat The World DXB is at Burj Park in downtown Dubai; 4pm to 11pm on February 23, noon to 11pm on February 24 and 25. Dh40 in advance; Dh50 at the door. Food costs extra. Visit www.eattheworld.ae for more details
February 24 to 25
Fatafeat Kitchen, appearing at the festival for the third time, will take centre stage, with cooking demonstrations from some of Fatafeat’s biggest celebrity chefs, including Mohamad Orfali, Leila Fathallah, Daad Abu-Jaber, Salma Soleiman, Karim Haidar, Wafik Belaid and Arda Turkmen.
In addition, Dr Partha Nandi, the star of Dlife's show Ask Dr Nandi, will host a question-and-answer session about health and well-being. There will also be a live performance by Chatterbox from the Dkids show Hi-5.
• Darnival is at Dubai Festival City Mall, 1pm to 10pm each day. Entry is free. For more details visit www.darnival.com
Taste of Dubai
March 9 to 11
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Taste of Dubai festival. The three-day foodie extravaganza, at Dubai Media City Amphitheatre, marks the climax of the Dubai Food Festival.
Taste of Dubai will give foodies a chance to sample dishes from a wide selection of Dubai’s most notable restaurants, all in one place. There will also be masterclasses and cooking demonstrations from international star chefs, including Michelin-starred Michel Roux Jr, Gary Rhodes, Jean-Christophe Novelli, Luke Thomas, Jenny Morris and more. There will be plenty of entertainment, too, including a concert by Billy Ocean.
• Ticket prices start at Dh75, from www.tasteofdubaifestival.com