Food in United Arab Emirates
Dubai and, to a lesser extent, Abu Dhabi offer a wide range of products from most of the world’s great cuisines. By Western standards, most restaurants are quite affordable, although it is easy to find extremely expensive food. Most upscale restaurants are located in hotels.
Due to the large number of expatriates, there are many Indian and Pakistani restaurants offering affordable and succulent choices. Restaurants serving Lebanese, Syrian and Jordanian cuisine are also popular.
Grilled chicken is one of the most popular dishes found in most outdoor street cafes and can be enjoyed with other side dishes such as khubz (Arabic bread), hummus, etc. Traditional shawarma and falafel sandwiches are readily available and are quite cheap and delicious.
Few traditional Emirati dishes are served in restaurants; the closest is Mendi-style Yemeni cuisine, where fragrant rice plates are garnished with lamb, chicken or fish that have been slow-roasted in a pit.
Drinks in United Arab Emirates
Dubai has a thriving nightlife and even Abu Dhabi, which used to be in the Straits, has loosened up and is trying to catch up. Alcohol can be found in liquor shops, restaurants in 5-star hotels and bars in every emirate except Sharjah, where you can only drink at home or in a hangout for expats called Sharjah Wanderers. As a tourist, you are allowed to buy alcohol to drink in bars and restaurants. If you are a resident, you must have a liquor licence (never applied for in bars), which also allows you to buy alcohol in liquor shops (they check).
During Ramadan, no alcohol is served during the day (while fasting). In Dubai and Abu Dhabi, bars are allowed to serve alcohol at night, but groups no longer play, background music is turned off or turned down, dancing is prohibited and nightclubs are generally closed. On some holy days of the Islamic calendar, alcohol is not served in public in the UAE.
Never drive drunk in the UAE. If you happen to have an accident, it will be a ticket to go straight to jail – especially during Ramadan. Taxis are widely available if you have been drinking and are a much safer and wiser option given the crazy driving habits in the area.