As a long time resident of Dubai, I’ve grown accustomed to dining at some pretty great restaurants. With new eateries popping up all over the city, there certainly isn’t a shortage of places to discover when you want to satisfy your hunger.
When I found out that Tastecapade – a company specializing in culinary adventures – was giving a food tour of Dubai by bike, I knew it was something that would be right up my alley. Eating AND cycling my way through the city, what could be more balanced that that?
Eager to find the hidden gems that reflect the flavours of the region, we met our tour guide, May, by the bicycle (Byky) rental stands on Beach road. After a quick rundown on some of the tours’ highlights, we set off for our first stop.
Arriving at a local juice bar, we were greeted with a traditional date and almond shake – perfect for wetting our appetites and giving us some energy to get to our next stop.
We rode around the beachside before stopping beside the Al Manara Mosque, where we were given a quick rundown on Arabian culture, art and architecture.
After grabbing a burger at Salt, Dubai’s first food truck, we headed to a nearby fishing port where we were treated to some great, freshly caught local fish. We cycled through the harbour a little longer before making another quick stop for an Emirati twist on shawarma. I have to say that I was feeling more than a little full at this point. Lucky for me, cycling between courses helped digest all of that great food!
It was when we got to “Turath Al-Mandi” restaurant at sunset that I felt immersed in local culture. Specializing in local and regional cuisines, we sat in Majlis-style seating (traditional carpet and pillows on the floor). We were served a spiced rice dish with slow cooked and deliciously tender goat’s meat. As the dish is traditionally eaten with your hands, no forks or knives were needed to enjoy this hearty and comforting meal. You could taste the amazing burst of aromatics and spices in every bite.
We ended our tour at a local Emirati café with cardamom scented Arabic coffee and “luqqum,” small donut-like balls covered in sesame seeds and drenched in a date syrup molasses. It was the perfect end to a great day.
I loved how we were able to combine great food, wonderful company, and hidden treasures – all with a bit of exercise. Whether you’re a seasoned UAE resident or an awe-struck tourist, I highly recommend this tour to anyone who wants to discover another side of Dubai that’s off the beaten path.
An overall brilliant experience, charming and well done. I’m getting ready to conquer the walking tour in Old Dubai.
I’m working on my interpretation of the Arabic spiced grilled fish dish we sampled at the fishing harbour. Stay tuned, a great recipe is on its way.
For more information on the Tastecapade culinary tours, visit www.tastecapade.com.
Copyright © 2015 Lidija’s Kitchen, including personal images taken by the author.