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In the melting pot of culture that is Dubai, the food scene is equally vibrant, exotic, and overwhelming. An extra plate of the piquant flavors of Machboos here, a little too many of the oh-so-sweet Luqaimat there, Dubai has it all. And if those are not reasons enough to visit the city, we present to you a whole festival dedicated to all things gastronomic – the annual Dubai Food Festival!
The Dubai Food Festival (DFF) is back for its yearly fiesta in 2022. Get ready for a journey that will fill your nostrils with a myriad of flavors from around the world, and your taste buds raving about the lip-smacking treat!
When will the Dubai Food Festival start?
A statement by Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE) mentioned May 2 – 25 to be the dates for the Dubai Food Festival 2022. So, mark your calendar!
Eat your heart out in 2022 at Dubai Food Festival and no, you wouldn’t have to wait for one fateful day to wolf down all your favorites – the city-wide festival gives you over three weeks time to revel in the food extravaganza!
Where will the festival be held?
It is that time of the year when the whole city of Dubai smells and tastes of finger-licking-good-food. From local Emirati cuisine in and around the bustling souks to your favorite contemporary flavors from far away lands brought to the multi-stored malls and restaurants in the city, there’s food in every nook and cranny.
Popular crowd-pullers include seaside treats of Jumeirah Beach, high-end restaurants scarred across the city like those at Burj Al Arab, and hidden culinary gems like downtown Bur Dubai.
Events and highlights of Dubai Food Festival
Special lunch and dinner menus, culinary masterclasses, exciting launches of limited editions, numerous retail promotions, and so much more is up for grabs! Here are some of the highlights from the past years since the festival was started in 2014:
Dubai Restaurant Week
Several sought-after restaurant outlets in Dubai such as Bread Street Kitchen, Bella, Toro Toro, Al Nafoorah come together to organize the ‘Dubai Restaurant Week’. They offer their bespoke cuisines with menus curated by the likes of Gordon Ramsay, Alessandro Miceli and Richard Sandoval.
You can savor two-course lunches and three-course dinners at starting prices of AED 95 and AED 150 respectively in the participating outlets and might as well take a virtual food tour round the world by hopping from one restaurant to another.
#protip: Make a reservation in advance.
Uncovering the hidden gems
One of the prime focuses of the festival is letting the visitors discover and rediscover the foodie side of Dubai, including the lesser-known backstreets and hidden downtown gulleys. The neighborhoods of Dubai Marina and Umm Sequin are to name a few among Dubai’s culinary treasure troves! The ‘unsung’ food places participate and try to win over the visitors to garner votes and emerge as the winners. Whether you’re looking for some excellent fine dining options or a budget-friendly hotspot that serves up affordable treats, you’ll find delicious surprises at every turn.
Participate in the ‘My Hidden Gems’ social media competition by posting a video or reel on your Instagram featuring 3 dishes from 3 different eateries that cost no more than AED100 in total. Tag @DubaiEats for your chance to win AED50,000.
Dubai Food Festival isn’t just about eating and filling your stomach – it is about ALL THINGS FOOD! And that includes the opportunity to enjoy once-in-a-lifetime-kinda experiences that gives every visitor an enlightening insight into the ever-so-awe-inspiring diverse food culture in the metropolis.
Under foodie experiences of the festival, you can take culinary workshops, go on themed food tours, grab exclusive tasting menus, and even attend masterclasses with the world-renowned chefs in Dubai. Time to take a [peek in the kitchens of creative innovations!
Outside of cafes, food kiosks, and restaurants, the city is lit up in the glitzy colors of a celebration. You’ll find numerous thrilling activities or if you want to take it light, laugh your heart out at the entertainment and comedy shows.
Best homegrown hotspots
The restaurant industry in Dubai is thriving with homegrown restaurants, cafés and distinctive dining concepts. You can expect appearances by celebrity chefs and meet the entrepreneurs who have carefully crafted some of the city’s most innovative dining concepts and indulge in the specially curated menus by ‘Made in Dubai’ restaurants.
What to look out for during Dubai Food Festival in 2021?
Considering Dubai’s relaxed COVID-19 restrictions and the increase in local events, exhibitions, and cultural and social activities this year, you can expect Dubai Food Festival to be celebrated like the pre-pandemic times.
The city will be offering exclusive dining deals and several offers for all visitors. Diners will be able to enjoy, dine, and win promotions and witness live bands and entertainment at The Beach, La Mer and City Walk. They can also participate in the ‘spend and win’ promotion, breakfast deals, exclusive photo opportunities and cooking classes for kids.
Enjoy a street food block party at the Dubai Design District (d3) from May 13 – 14, curated by Break the Block. Expect street food concepts such as Birria Tacos, Café Isan, Chiki, Fifth Flavor, High Joint etc., to be the main culinary highlights. Moreover, do not miss the Chocolate Show at Galeries Lafayette between 12 and 14 May, where you can revel in chocolate stalls, cooking workshops, classes and more.