United Arab Emirates Breakfast – For UAE Breakfast, Balalleet will be the most common local Emirati breakfast dish, and traditionally composed of vermicelli (sweetened with sugar), cardamom, rose water and saffron (for spices), and served with an egg omelette. For a fuller ballaleet version, it can be served served with sautéed onions or potatoes.
Breakfast is an essential meal in the United Arab Emirates, and it is commonly referred to as the most important meal of the day. It is a time for families to gather and enjoy each other’s company before the start of a busy day. The UAE’s breakfast culture is a rich blend of traditional Emirati and international cuisines.
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What does an Emirati breakfast consist of – United Arab Emirates Breakfast
Emirati breakfast is a traditional meal consisting of a variety of dishes. The meal typically includes sweet and savory dishes, such as balaleet, a sweet vermicelli dish, and chabab, a sweet pancake-like dish. Other popular dishes include eggs, cheese, dates, and bread. Tea is also a staple beverage served with Emirati breakfast.
Balalleet / Ballaleeth / Emirati Sweet Vermicelli and Egg Omelet
Balalleet – Yes this is the local and traditional Emirati breakfast dish – Emirati Sweet Vermicelli and Egg Omelet. This is definitely enough to give you a full breakfast ready to take on an important day, and frankly something you shouldn’t miss if you want to experience a local UAE breakfast!
As a part of Balalleet dish, vermicelli is cooked with water and mixed with saffron and cardamom for that perfect sweet taste. Balalleet is sweet and savory, so mixing this with egg is an amazing combo and introduction to Emirati cuisine.
Chebab / Chabab
Emirati chebab, also known as chabab, is a traditional Emirati breakfast dish that is similar to pancakes. It is made from a batter that includes flour, yeast, sugar, and saffron, which gives it its distinctive yellow color. The batter is then left to rise for several hours before being cooked on a hot griddle or frying pan.
Chabab is often served with a variety of toppings, including date syrup, honey, or cheese. It is a popular breakfast dish in the United Arab Emirates and can be found in many local restaurants and cafes. Chabab is a sweet and satisfying breakfast option that is loved by both locals and visitors alike.
Emirati Breakfast Cuisine Influences
Emirati breakfast cuisine has been influenced by various cultures over time. Some of the influences can be traced back to the country’s Bedouin heritage, while others come from the Persian and Indian cultures that have also played a significant role in shaping the UAE’s food scene.
The use of spices like saffron, cardamom, and cinnamon in Emirati breakfast dishes can be traced back to the Persian and Indian influences. Similarly, the Bedouin culture has influenced the use of dates, camel milk, and other locally sourced ingredients in Emirati breakfast dishes. The UAE’s coastal location has also played a role in shaping the country’s breakfast cuisine, with seafood often featuring in traditional dishes. Overall, Emirati breakfast cuisine is a reflection of the country’s diverse cultural influences and unique history.
Where can you find Emirati breakfast?
Emirati breakfast can be found in many local restaurants and cafes throughout the UAE. Some popular spots to try Emirati breakfast include the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding in Dubai, Al Fanar Restaurant and Cafe in Abu Dhabi, and Bait Al Khetyariyah in Sharjah.
International breakfast options
In addition to traditional Emirati breakfast options, there are many international breakfast options available throughout the UAE. Many hotels offer extensive breakfast buffets with a variety of international options, such as American pancakes, French toast, and continental breakfast items. Brunch is also a popular weekend tradition in the UAE, with many restaurants offering elaborate buffets and live cooking stations.
What are the best places for breakfast in the UAE?
If you’re looking for the best places for breakfast in the UAE, here are some recommendations. These restaurants offer a variety of breakfast options, from traditional Emirati dishes to international favorites:
This cafe serves up a range of breakfast options, from a classic English breakfast to avocado toast and shakshuka. They also have a selection of freshly baked pastries and artisanal coffee.
This French-Mediterranean restaurant offers a breakfast menu featuring classic French dishes such as croissants and pain au chocolat, as well as more substantial options like omelettes and steak and eggs.
This cozy cafe offers a range of breakfast options, including a full English breakfast, breakfast burritos, and avocado toast. They also have a selection of freshly squeezed juices and smoothies.
This Australian restaurant and gourmet food emporium offers a range of breakfast options, from eggs benedict to bircher muesli. They also have a selection of freshly baked pastries and artisanal coffee.
Ramadan days and How it Affects Emirati Breakfast Meals
Ramadan is an important month for Muslims all over the world, and it has a significant impact on the daily lives and eating habits of Emiratis. During this holy month, Muslims are required to fast from dawn until sunset, abstaining from food, drink, and other physical needs during the day. As a result, Emirati breakfast meals take on a unique character during Ramadan.
What is Ramadan and the UAE Breakfast During This Time
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is considered the holiest month of the year for Muslims. During this month, Muslims are required to fast from dawn until sunset as a way of showing their devotion to Allah and purifying their souls. In addition to fasting, Muslims are encouraged to engage in prayer, charity, and other acts of worship during Ramadan.
How does Ramadan affect Emirati breakfast meals?
United Arab Emirates Breakfast – During Ramadan, Emirati breakfast meals take on a unique character. Instead of the usual big breakfast spread that Emiratis are used to, the morning meal during Ramadan is more focused on providing sustenance for the day ahead. This means that the meal is typically more simple and straightforward, consisting of foods that will provide energy and hydration throughout the day.
What do Emiratis eat for suhoor during Ramadan?
Suhoor is the pre-dawn meal that Muslims eat before starting their fast for the day. For Emiratis, suhoor typically includes foods that are high in fiber and protein, as well as fruits and vegetables that provide hydration. Common suhoor foods include oatmeal, whole wheat bread, eggs, cheese, yogurt, and dates. It is important to drink plenty of water during suhoor to help stay hydrated throughout the day.
What is iftar and what do Emiratis eat for iftar during Ramadan?
Iftar is the evening meal that Muslims eat to break their fast for the day. Iftar is an important meal for Emiratis, as it is an opportunity to come together with family and friends and to enjoy a feast after a long day of fasting.
Iftar typically starts with dates and water, which provide a quick source of energy and hydration. After that, Emiratis will usually have a more substantial meal consisting of a variety of dishes, including soups, salads, rice dishes, and grilled meats. Desserts and sweets are also an important part of iftar, with many Emirati households serving traditional sweets like baklava and qatayef.
Ramadan has a significant impact on Emirati breakfast meals, with suhoor and iftar taking on a unique character during this holy month. While the morning meal during Ramadan is more focused on providing sustenance for the day ahead, iftar is an opportunity for Emiratis to come together with family and friends and to enjoy a feast after a long day of fasting.
Restaurants to Eat UAE Breakfast Options for Ramadan
Yes, during Ramadan, many restaurants and supermarkets in the UAE offer extended hours and special menus for suhoor and iftar. Some popular places for suhoor and iftar include:
Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU) in Dubai
The SMCCU offers a unique cultural experience with traditional Emirati food served during iftar and suhoor.
The Ramadan Night Market in Dubai
This annual event features a wide variety of food vendors offering traditional Emirati and international cuisine.
Many Carrefour supermarkets in the UAE have extended hours during Ramadan and offer special deals on food items for iftar and suhoor.
This local bakery is known for its traditional Emirati bread and pastries, which are popular during suhoor.
The Dubai Mall is open for longer hours during Ramadan and features a variety of food options, including traditional Emirati cuisine.
It’s important to note that during Ramadan, many restaurants and cafes may have reduced operating hours during the day, but will be open later in the evening for iftar and suhoor. It’s always a good idea to check with specific establishments for their Ramadan hours and menus.
Restaurants that offer Suhoor
Some restaurants are open during pre-dawn hours to serve suhoor meals during Ramadan. However, the specific timings may vary based on the restaurant and its location. Some popular restaurants that offer suhoor meals during Ramadan in Dubai include The Daily at Rove City Centre, La Petite Maison, and Zuma. Additionally, many hotels in the UAE also offer suhoor buffets during Ramadan. It’s always a good idea to check with the specific restaurant or hotel for their suhoor timings during Ramadan.
Cash and Currency – United Arab Emirates Breakfast
Cash and currency in the UAE are widely accepted, and the currency used is the United Arab Emirates Dirham (AED). The dirham is available in notes of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1000, and coins of 1, 5, 10, 25, and 50 fils. Most businesses and tourist areas accept major credit cards, such as Visa and Mastercard, and there are plenty of ATMs available throughout the country.
It’s worth noting that while cash is widely accepted in the UAE, it’s recommended to carry a mix of cash and credit cards. Some smaller businesses may only accept cash, and having cash on hand can be useful in situations where cards are not accepted or if there are issues with card machines.
During the holy month of Ramadan, many businesses may have reduced hours, and some may close during the day while people observe the fast. It’s recommended to carry cash during this time as some restaurants and cafes may not accept credit cards during fasting hours. It’s also important to be respectful of the fasting culture during Ramadan and avoid eating, drinking, or smoking in public during fasting hours.
Best Time to Visit – United Arab Emirates Breakfast
The best time to visit the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is during the cooler months between November and March when temperatures are more pleasant. However, keep in mind that this is also the peak tourist season, so be prepared for larger crowds and higher prices. If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly trip, consider visiting during the shoulder seasons of April to May or September to October.
If you’re planning a trip to the UAE during Ramadan, keep in mind that the dates change each year as the Islamic calendar is based on the lunar cycle. During this month-long observance, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset and engage in increased spiritual activities, such as prayer and charity. As a sign of respect for the local culture and customs, tourists and expats are also expected to abide by certain rules during this time, such as refraining from eating, drinking, and smoking in public during the daytime. Restaurants and cafes will be closed during daylight hours, but will reopen in the evening for iftar, the meal that breaks the fast at sunset, and some restaurants and cafes will also offer suhoor, the pre-dawn meal.
It’s important to note that during Ramadan, the UAE is a more conservative and religiously observant society. Therefore, it’s recommended to dress modestly and avoid public displays of affection during this time out of respect for the local customs and beliefs. It’s also worth noting that some tourist activities and attractions may have reduced hours or be closed altogether during Ramadan.
The UAE is a fascinating country to visit with a rich culture and history. Whether you’re interested in exploring the bustling city of Dubai or the cultural capital of Abu Dhabi, there’s something for everyone. Just be sure to plan your visit accordingly, and be respectful of local customs and practices, particularly during Ramadan.
About the Author: Ruben, co-founder of Gamintraveler.com since 2014, is a seasoned traveler from Spain who has explored over 100 countries since 2009. Known for his extensive travel adventures across South America, Europe, the US, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, and Africa, Ruben combines his passion for adventurous yet sustainable living with his love for cycling, highlighted by his remarkable 5-month bicycle journey from Spain to Norway. He currently resides in Spain, where he continues to share his travel experiences alongside his partner, Rachel, and their son, Han.