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The annual Dubai Food Festival is back in town for its eighth edition to satisfy your food cravings and give you a taste of the globe

By Nisthula Nagarajan

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Published: Wed 31 Mar 2021, 7:36 PM

Last updated: Sun 25 Apr 2021, 9:42 PM

Dubai's food scene is as diverse, exotic, and dazzling as the city and its people. As a melting pot of culture, it is only natural that the extent of cuisine available is seemingly endless. Whether you're craving a tender, juicy steak or midnight shawarma, Dubai has it all. Once a year, the city celebrates the vibrancy of the food with a show-stopping gastronomic extravaganza - the Dubai Food Festival or as it's commonly known, DFF.

The food fiesta is back for 2021! Launched in 2014, the signature of this festival is that wherever you go, get ready to smell a mouth-watering meld of flavours from the east to the west, north to the south, a true celebration of food. DFF 2021 promises to plate up something that'll suit every palate. It is part of a larger strategy to develop a year-round programme of citywide festivals that contributes to the boosting of tourism and retail sectors in Dubai.

So, what should you look out for during this delicious time? DFF hosts a buffet of activities and experiences for you to explore the culinary world. There's a spotlight on the dining scene, from avant-garde gourmet experiences to industry roundtables featuring world-famous chefs, as well as regulars such as the Dubai Restaurant Week, Etisalat Beach Canteen and Foodie Experiences. Take part in masterclasses hosted by experienced and talented chefs. Explore homegrown concepts, hidden gems, and local haunts in this city with over 200 nationalities to boot. All dining experiences, events and activations during the Dubai Food Festival follow prevailing safety and social distancing guidelines to ensure a safe experience for all.

Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE) began the fiesta on Thursday, March 25 and will tingle the taste buds until, Saturday, April 17. So, mark your calendars for to revel in the food extravaganza!

Last year's edition had big and bold flavours sprinkled across its calendar, with exciting launches, promotions and the return of local staples. Popular crowd-pullers included seaside treats at Etisalat Beach Canteen and one-of-a-kind dining tours to a limited-edition coffee series, there was food at every corner. Resident and tourist foodies also had the chance to savour exclusive set menus at the city's world-class restaurants for a week after the festival had ended. Hungry for more? Read on to find out what to watch out for at the latest edition of the Dubai Food Festival. It's more than just dining out!

Etisalat Beach Canteen

Dubai's beachside dining is back for another unmissable season! The immensely popular Etisalat Beach Canteen returns to Jumeirah Beach hosting 'eatertainment' activations, kids' zones for extra family fun, and, for the first time ever, a pet-friendly zone, all while prioritising health and safety measures! It has become an instant hit. Witness special celebrity chef appearances, participate in fitness classes, open mics, farmers classes, live cooking demos, and more, with a gorgeous seaside view.

Prizes up for grabs

Is it even a Dubai festival if gourmands aren't given the chance at winning fantastic prizes? Dine for a minimum of Dh50 at one of the more than 1,000 participating eateries and get scratch cards and raffle coupons that could lead to a five-star staycation. In them, you'll find bumper deals and if you're lucky, you could win up to Dh5,000 from the raffles.

Dubai Restaurant Week

To celebrate the variety of top-class restaurants in the city, several exclusive restaurants come together for 'Dubai Restaurant Week' (DRW). They offer their specialised cuisines with menus curated by the likes of Gordon Ramsay, Greg Malouf, and Vikas Khanna. Indulge in two-course lunches and three-course dinners and take a virtual food tour around the world by hopping from one restaurant to another. We go a little deeper into DRW in this issue.

Discover hidden gems

The focus of DFF is to guide residents and tourists down the lesser-known path of hidden gems around the city including the lesser-known backstreets and hidden downtown gullies. The haunts of Bur Dubai and Umm Suqeim are a few among Dubai's culinary treasure troves! The 'unsung heroes' of Dubai cuisine participate and try to garner votes and emerge victorious as the best restaurant.

Foodie experiences

Time to take a peek in the kitchens of creative innovations! DFF isn't just about eating and filling your stomach. Enthusiasts can enjoy curated experiences, like masterclasses with top chefs, themed experiential tours, culinary workshops, exclusive tasting menus from the finest restaurants in Dubai and so much more. Gain an enlightening insight into the ever-so-awe-inspiring diverse food culture in the metropolis.

Carnival of delights

It's not only restaurants that go all out in celebration of DFF. Spots across the city tee up with exciting, themed celebrations. From fast-paced cook-offs between chefs to delicious tastings where families and friends can enjoy bites from food trucks and kiosks, along with thrilling activities, there is an unending carnival of delights featuring acrobatics, comedy and, of course, delicious cuisine. Every destination brought something exceptional to the table.

A festival amidst a global pandemic isn't the easiest of feats to organise but considering the city's Covid-19 response so far, you can expect the Dubai Food Festival to be celebrated with the utmost caution and splendour. Besides cafe´s, food kiosks, and restaurants, the city is also lit up ostentatiously, in celebration. This annual food festival brings colour to your life and your plate yet again. Prepare yourself for a journey that will fill your nose with myriad flavours from around the world and leave your taste buds constantly craving delectable treats!


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