Taste of Dubai – the five best things

Spinach and mushroom dim sum from Royal Orchid. Robert Garratt / The National
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We went, we ate, we conquered. And now, after loosening our belts and no inconsequential amount of internal debate, we here offer a highly subject list of our favourites eats at Taste of Dubai.

Vegetarian black pudding from The Scene

When we tucked into this, a passerby remarked “it looks like black pudding, but a funny black pudding”. Precisely, all that dark, naughty blood-sausage taste, without an abattoir in sight – and less than half the calories, one suspects. Who knows how they do it, but this was the surprise eat of the day. Nice mustardy-mayo sauce, too.

Wild mushroom kulcha with truffle oil from Tresind

Wow, this was so good we had to order two. A wrapped pastry style starter snack, loaded with earthy seasoned mushroom and a strong stench of truffle oil. Delicious. The amitsari chana kulcha, with lentils inside instead, was also rather scrumptious.

Empanadas at Gaucho

Best known as a steakhouse, Gaucho’s quick empanada bites were a great snack/starter. Soft and puffy rather than fried and crispy on the outside, the filling of cheese and caramelised onion gave a sweet, spicy kick.

Savoury pancakes from Sobahn

Authentic Asian street food at its best, Korean restaurant Sobahn’s freshly made pajeon dish – a casual pancake-like dish loaded with spring onion and more – were delicious, served with a jerking spicy relish.

Spinach and mushroom dim sum from Royal Orchid

We tried the dim sum at a few different competing eateries, but this chain Asian eatery stood out a mile with it’s neat offering. Wrapped in a green spinach pastry, and loaded with mushrooms, it somehow felt light and airy but filling all at the same time.

• Taste of Dubai closed today (Saturday March 14) at Dubai Media City Amphitheatre