Dubai Food Festival

Its that time of year again, the Dubai Food Festival returns for the culinary extravaganza of the year and in true Dubai fashion (of course), it is even bigger and better than last year. Themes in focus are home-grown restaurants, Emirati cuisine, celebrity chefs and street food. With cooking demos, trade shows, mystery dinners, film screenings, trade shows and blogger conferences in full swing, it can all be a little overwhelming. Here is my quick rundown of Dubai Food Festival highlights, you can find a full list of events here.

You’ll may want to invest in fat pants to wear permanently for the next couple weeks! 

The Beach Canteen: 

Dubai’s hippest beach destination just keeps getting better. When I first moved to Dubai, Kite Beach was relatively cool, quite and catered mostly to surfers and introverts. Today Kite Beach is referred to as the Venice Beach of Dubai and is home to some of Dubai’s most beautiful beachfront and exciting street food concepts including Salt and Wanna Banana.

The eclectic beach front welcomed a few newcomers from the 6-28 of February to celebrate the Dubai Food Festival. Coined the Beach Canteen, the pop-up features 11 homegrown restaurants set up in colorful shipping containers on the sandy shores of the Arabian Gulf. The foodie initiative will also host several celebrity chef pop-ups, urban yoga, open mic nights and water sports, just to name a few.

Participating restaurants are: Chez SushiPantry CaféSpill the BeanMoti RotiKRIS KROSShawermeJJ ChickenRice CreameryClawMoylo’s and Provedore.

EAT:To be fair, I have not tried all of the participating restaurants however a couple of favorite spots are on that list. Spill the Bean, an independent specialty coffee shop which focuses on organic and fair trade coffees, is one of my all-time favorite cafes in Dubai. I spend many a lazy Saturday afternoons at their bohemian cafe at Sunset Mall. Try the Mr. Clever Brewed Coffee with almond milk and the vegan/gluten-free Chocolate Avocado Pudding, its absolutely scrumptious and guilt free.

Moti Roti is another favorite, the concept which have branded themselves as Pakistani soul food, gives curry as we know it a face lift. The restaurant specializes in light curry fillings and homemade chutneys served in a roti wrap, a rice box or a salad box. Their Masala Chicken Rice Box with Mango Chutney is comfort food at its best and if you don’t catch them at the Beach Canteen look out for the Moti Roti Food Truck which will be launching soon.

Food & Film: 

Two of my favorite things in the world, food and film, collide to celebrate the Dubai Food Festival this month. This brilliant initiative will screen many iconic foodie films at various locations throughout the month and leave you drooling at best!

WATCH: A few of my favorite foodie films being screened are Ratatouille, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and an all-time favorite, Julie & Julia. Unfortunately a few of my favorites were screened last week, if you didn’t catch them be sure to rent on Apple TV or VOD ASAP. They are, Chef, a cheeky food truck flick and Hundred Foot Journey, a charming film about what happens when Indian and French cuisine and culture collide.

Seperately, Creekside Dubai will be screening the mother of foodie documentaries, Jiro Dreams of Sushi, on Thursday February 19 at 7 PM. The film follows the relentless Japanese sushi master Jiro Ono and his son, the heir to his three Michelin starred restaurant in Tokyo.

Warning: Don’t go hungry!

Schedule: 

  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Fri 13 Feb, Beach Canteen, Kite Beach, Jumeirah, 6pm
  • No Reservations, Sun 15 Feb, Jumeirah Lakes Towers Park, 7pm
  • The Trip, Wed 18 Feb, Beach Canteen, Kite Beach, Jumeirah, 7pm
  • Ratatouille, Fri 20 Feb, Beach Canteen, Kite Beach, Jumeirah, 6pm
  • Daawat-e-Ishq (Festival of Love), Fri 20 Feb, Masala! Food Fair, Zabeel Park, Za’abeel, 7pm
  • Julie & Julia, Sat 21 Feb, Beach Canteen, Kite Beach, Jumeirah, 7pm
  • Chocolat, Mon 23 Feb, Jumeirah Lakes Towers Park, 7pm
  • The Trip to Italy, Wed 25 Feb, Beach Canteen, Kite Beach, Jumeirah, 7pm
  • The President’s Chef, Sat 28 Feb, Made in Dubai, Zabeel Park, Za’abeel, 7pm

Food Truck Convoy 

Dubai’s latest trend, street food, has taken the city by storm the last few months. Food markets are popping up around the city, food kiosks are setting up shop in nooks and crannies across the Emirate and food trucks can be seen weaving their way in and out of Dubai’s hippest neighborhoods. In what feels like an official welcome to the food truck community, the Dubai Food Festival is launching its first ever Food Truck Convoy. A fleet of food trucks will roll around Dubai every Sunday-Thursday for lunch, check the schedule below to check out the convoy nearest you.

Participating Food Trucks: 

Fleet Schedule: 

  • Every Sunday: Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard
  • Every Monday: Dubai International Academic City (The Higher Colleges of Technology – Dubai Men’s College)
  • Every Tuesday: JLT Park
  • Every Wednesday: Dubai Media City
  • Every Thursday: Dubai Studio City

Event Timings: 11.30am – 4pm

HAPPY EATING!