Ras Al Khaimah is a top choice for food-lovers visiting the United Arab Emirates. The local people’s seafaring past has brought influences from around the world, resulting in a tasty melange of Indian, Egyptian, Iranian and Turkish flavours. But, what are the main dishes to try during your stay?
If you want to eat like a local in Ras Al Khaimah, here’s some of our top taste-tastic suggestions:
Start your day with a local favourite. Balaleet is a delicious mix of sweet and savoury flavours, and a must-try dish. Vermicelli is first fried, then boiled before being added to a sweet mix of ghee, sugar, cardamom powder, saffron and rose water. Finally, it’s served on a plate with an omelette on top. The perfect way to fill you up for a day of adventures in Ras Al Khaimah.
Alternatively, if you’d like something a little more familiar, opt for Chbaab. These Arabic style pancakes look similar to American pancakes, but include an added dash of saffron. They’re often served with a sweet date syrup. Yum!
Emirati meals are often traditionally started with a plate of dates. A popular fruit, there’s more than 40 varieties grown across the United Arab Emirates. So, don’t be surprised if these are served on your table.
Ras Al Khaimah’s coastal positioning means fish and seafood dishes are a good option to try for lunch. Samak Mhammar is a traditional dish, consisting of whole fish that have been spiced with cumin, garlic, sumac and lemon. This is served with caramelized onions and a sweet yellow rice.Machboos. Image via Wiki Commons
Machboos is another scrumptious dish to look out for. It is a rice dish, cooked in a large pot with onions, spices, lemon and can be made with chicken or fish. The recipe may vary slightly depending on where you try it.
If a local invites you in for Gahwah and honey cake during your holiday in Ras Al Khaimah, you are in for a treat. Gahwah is an Arabic coffee that’s used as a social drink across the UAE. It’s usually made with lightly roasted coffee beans, blended with cardamom and saffron. Coffee here is served hot in a small cup and without milk.
Honey cake is a very special dish in Ras Al Khaimah, and a popular sweet amongst the locals. This refrigerated layer cake is made with lots and lots of local honey and cream, before being topped with biscuity crumbs. If you’re a true foodie, you can’t leave without giving it a try.
Many people recommend Yansoon Restaurant as a top spot for dinner in Ras Al Khaimah. Arrive just before sunset to enjoy your meal on the rooftop terrace, while the sun fades and the city lights up for the evening.
The menu here includes authentic Arabian cuisines as well as some more familiar favourites, making it a good option for families. The signature hummus is not to be missed, while a Yansoon Cooler is a refreshing way to end a hot day of new experiences.
The Bedouin Oasis offers traditional Arabic BBQs in a peaceful desert setting. It’s a good option if you’re short on time.
Exploring the cafes on the Corniche is another great way to start your search for authentic cuisine in Ras Al Khaimah. Ask in your hotel for some local recommendations and enjoy the taste-bud treats that await.