Although we were a little deflated by our experiences in Dubai, there was one particular aspect of our visit that allowed for a more ‘local’, down to Earth experience, away from all that glitz and glam. It came in the form of a lovely lady called Arva.
We booked a food tour with Arva prior to leaving Australia. Throughout my ‘Foodie Researching’ I noticed that Arva’s food tour was popping up all over the internet. People were raving about it.
Of course, it was too good to pass up. And it was lucky that we didn’t.
Arva was a bubbly, enthusiastic guide with a great amount of passion and love for food. Throughout our ‘edible exploration’ we sampled some of the tastiest, most delectable Middle Eastern food we had ever had.
We tried countless dishes. It’s so difficult to choose the real ‘stand outs’ as they were all as good as each other. The falafel and hummus we ate at Qwaider Al Nabulsi were crunchy and full of flavour. I devoured with much gusto the ‘Kunafa Kishna’ from the same restaurant. It was such an interesting dish. A sweet cheese pie topped with layers of crunchy, thin noodle pastry known as ‘Kataifi’. Amazing. I am salivating now just thinking about it.
At Samadi Sweets, we sampled the most luscious baklava, amongst other delectables, washed down with Arabic Coffee, known as Gahwa. We purchased several little treats to bring to London with us for sharing with my brother and his girlfriend - they didn’t last long at all!
At Egyptian restaurant, Soarikh, we had the most amazing, what I would describe as, ‘Egyptian Pizza’ (known as Feeteer). It was made right there in front of us by the friendliest Egyptian man. He handled the thinnest, most delicate dough with such swiftness. I was in awe and slightly envious of his pastry handling skills. Stuffed with cheese and vegetables and baked right there in the wood fire oven. Bliss.
There was not one thing on our very large tasting menu that evening that did not wow our taste buds. Every little hole in the wall place we went to delivered the most amazing dishes. The nicest part about it was that the chefs and cooks and waiters we met that evening could not have been more pleasant. We were greeted with big smiles by people who had an obvious pride in the traditional food they were serving.
Arva showed us what Middle Eastern food meant to her. She took us to her favourite places, little places that tourists would never have thought to visit. We were given a truly local food experience.
Food really does hold a special place in the hearts of many. It is not just a source of nourishment and life, but also representative of people, of culture, of tradition.
If you are ever in Dubai, be sure to book a tour with Arva.