What Meat Do They Eat in Dubai

A Culinary Journey: What Meat Do They Eat in Dubai?

Did you know that in Dubai, you can find some super expensive and fancy meat, like a gold-plated steak that costs $1,200?

Nusret Gökçe, also known as “Salt Bae,” runs the steakhouse behind it called Nusr-Et. You can find it in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Istanbul, Ankara, Doha, Miami, and New York.

If you’re curious about Dubai’s meat scene, keep reading to see the various meats enjoyed in the city!

What kind of meat is popular in Dubai?

What kind of meat is popular in Dubai
Image source: Time Out Dubai

In Dubai, people usually eat chicken, beef, and lamb. Some expats and tourists crave some pork, but it’s not easy to find because of religious and cultural reasons. 

On the meat-eating scale, each person in the UAE chomped down an average of 58.4 kg in 2023—that’s more than what the rest of the world and the region put away!

So, here’s the scoop: Dubai mostly relies on other countries to stock up on meat because the local production just can’t keep up with the demand.

Continue reading to explore these common meat options and more:


Dubai loves lamb meat, and it’s among their go-to foods! People are all about that tender, flavorful goodness. And guess what they do to amp it up? They add cumin, coriander, and cardamom to spice up this flavor fest.

Now, let’s talk about a lamb superstar dish—Kabsa, a yummy Emirati rice dish. And when you’re feeling fancy, hit up those upscale joints for some grilled lamb chops. 


Chicken is the rockstar of meat in Dubai. People can’t get enough of it, and it’s prepared in all sorts of delicious ways. From the iconic street food shawarma to the fancy Biryanis, chicken takes center stage in local cuisine.

Keep your eyes peeled for grilled chicken, a crowd-pleaser seasoned with a delightful mix of garlic, lemon, and yogurt. It’s not just a casual affair. You’ll find this tasty treat everywhere, from chill hangouts to swanky joints.


People love beef in Dubai, and you have tons of options for eating it. Grilled beef kebabs are a hit as a street food choice. Then there’s Ghuzi, a festive meal with slow-cooked beef, fragrant rice, and a sprinkle of nuts for special occasions.

And let’s talk about the global flair Dubai brings to the beef game. The city’s got steakhouses that are a cut above the rest. They offer a carnivore’s dream with a variety of beef cuts that cater to every taste bud!


Camel meat is a cultural gem in Dubai, bringing in that historical vibe. It’s not your run-of-the-mill option. But when Ramadan rolls around, folks indulge in a slow-cooked porridge called Harees that features this distinctive meat.

And guess what? Camel burgers are a thing too! This adds a cool, modern twist to this unique meat—quite the culinary journey!


Dubai’s got this amazing seafood scene, thanks to its coastal charm, but meat lovers are in for a treat too! Check out local favorites like hammour fish; grilling or frying them up is practically an art form.

And let us tell you about the fish markets, like the one in Deira—they’re a seafood lover’s paradise! You get to pick your catch of the day, and voila! Plus, along the waterfront, seafood restaurants take it up a notch.

Think about it: fresh catches served in all sorts of mouthwatering ways, from spicy curries to lemon-butter grilled fillets. It’s a total feast for the senses!


Dubai’s got a soft spot for goat meat. They affectionately call it mutton, and it’s all about that rich, bold flavor. You’ll find it in traditional stews and curries, especially in the hearty salona that mixes goat meat with a bunch of veggies.

And if you’re hitting the streets, those grilled goat skewers jazzed up with local flavors are a must-try. It’s a street food favorite!

Venison (Deer Meat)

Venison meat isn’t your everyday choice in Dubai, but it’s pretty unique. Lean and tender, it often graces the menus of fancier restaurants, giving you that gourmet dining experience.

Imagine dishes like venison medallions—seared just right and served with decadent sauces! This really shows off the meat’s exquisite taste.


Turkey meat isn’t just for special occasions in Dubai; they enjoy it all year round! Whether it’s grilled, roasted, or nestled in sandwiches and wraps, turkey takes the spotlight as a lean protein option, perfect for those keeping an eye on their health.

And here’s a street food revelation: turkey shawarma is stealing the show. With its unique spice mix, it’s no wonder that it has become a sensation on the street food scene!


Dubai loves its duck meat—it’s a culinary delight known for its rich and flavorful taste. You can enjoy it in aromatic duck curries or indulge in crispy Peking duck at classy Chinese spots.

What’s cool is that duck dishes in Dubai cater to all kinds of taste preferences, reflecting the city’s diverse dining scene. 

Whether you’re exploring traditional or international cuisines, duck takes center stage, adding its delicious touch to the vibrant and eclectic food scene.


In Dubai, quail is a sought-after bird because its meat is tender. People love to have it for special events and get-togethers. The secret sauce? It’s often soaked in tasty herbs and spices, then grilled or roasted just right.

What’s neat is that quail’s petite size makes it the ideal choice for appetizers and laid-back dining. It’s like a tasty switch-up from the more substantial bird options, bringing a delightful change to the table.


Image source: Gulf News

Rabbit meat in Dubai isn’t as common as some others, but people like it for its lean and delicate flavor. Classic stews with rabbit are a hit—simmered with yummy spices and veggies, giving you a cozy and tasty meal.

And here’s a twist: fancy restaurants are getting creative with rabbit, introducing it into elegant and imaginative dishes that add a touch of sophistication to the local food scene. 


Want to try something different? In Dubai, people love indulging in pigeon meat, also known as Faraaj. They spice it up with Middle Eastern flavors, then roast or grill it right.

One classic dish is the stuffed pigeon, where the bird is filled with aromatic rice and nuts, showcasing the region’s culinary skills.


Image source: Tripadvisor

Not as usual, but you can find kangaroo meat in certain fancy shops and restaurants in Dubai. It’s a hit among some for its distinctive and gamey taste, often prepared as steaks or burgers.

This just goes to show how Dubai is all about embracing diverse and global flavors. The city’s culinary scene showcases its adventurous spirit, making dining out a truly unique and international experience. 

Popular Meat Dishes in Dubai

Dubai’s a mix of cultures, so there’s a bunch of tasty meat dishes for everyone. Some all-time faves include:


Known as one of Dubai’s most popular dishes, shawarma is a roll made from thinly sliced meat, typically chicken, lamb, or beef, cooked on a rotating spit.

It comes with a combination of salad, pickles, tahini, and garlic sauce, offering a culinary experience that can transport you to the vibrant tastes of Dubai.


Mandi is a classic dish in Dubai made with rice, usually lamb or chicken, and spices. Cooked in a clay oven or a hole in the ground, it delivers tender, juicy meat and aromatic, flavorful rice.


Craving a barbecue-like experience? Kebab is a skewer of grilled meat (usually lamb, beef, or chicken) marinated in spices and herbs, served with bread, salad, and sauces. 

Dubai has many varieties of this dish, such as Shish Kebab (skewered and grilled chunks of marinated meat), Kofta Kebab (ground meat, often mixed with spices), Doner Kebab (sliced seasoned meat), and the like.


Those who love Congee might like Harees. It’s a porridge-like Emirati dish of wheat and meat (usually lamb or chicken), simmered until they are well-blended. 

It’s seasoned with salt, pepper, cinnamon, and clarified butter and served with dates or sugar.


Love Paella? Try Machboos—it’s an Emirati rice dish with meat (usually chicken, lamb, or fish), onions, tomatoes, and spices cooked in a pot with water or stock. It’s similar to kabsa but has a different spice mix and cooking method.


Image source: The National

If you’re a fan of meat stews, Thareed is a delightful dish to try in Dubai. It’s usually made with lamb or chicken, potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, and spices. This dish is cooked in a broth and served with bread soaked in it to make it soft and moist.

Stuffed Camel

Stuffed Camel
Image source: The Food Ranger

Food adventurers might want to try stuffed camels in Dubai. It’s literally a whole camel stuffed with sheep, loaded with chicken, and stuffed with eggs, rice, and spices!

This dish is roasted for hours and served on special occasions in Dubai, like weddings or festivals.


Found in various Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines, Ouzi is a roasted lamb stuffed with rice, nuts, and spices, served on a large platter with yogurt and salad. 

It’s also an Emirati festive dish that is often shared among family and friends—the more, the merrier! 

Samak Mashwi

If you like fish tacos, Samak Mashwi is an Emirati dish that’s made for you! This is grilled fish (usually hammour, kingfish, or tuna) marinated in lemon, garlic, and spices, served with rice and salad. 

It’s a simple dish, showcasing Dubai’s fresh seafood for health conscious folks and fitness buffs!


Rice lovers unite! A plate of biryani in Dubai offers a tasty combo of aromatic rice, juicy meat (chicken, lamb, or beef), and veggies and spices. These flavors are like a snapshot of the diverse food scene in the heart of the Emirates.

Tandoori Chicken

You’ll find Tandoori Chicken all over Dubai—many locals and visitors can’t get enough of it! Imagine chicken soaking up yogurt, lemon, and spices, cozy in a clay oven called a tandoor.

This dish is like a flavor party, commonly paired with naan bread and mint sauce.

Shish Tawook

Those who love yogurt might like Dubai’s Shish Tawook. It’s a fantastic Emirati dish where chicken cubes soak up yogurt, garlic, and spices before hitting the grill on skewers. 

The outcome is juicy, tender goodness that pairs perfectly with rice, salad, and a side of garlic sauce. 

Halal Meat Cooking Tips in Dubai

Halal, meaning “lawful” or “permitted” meat, is prepared following Islamic rules. It’s totally cool for Muslims to chow down on!

And when you’re cooking halal meat for yourself or for others, keep these tips in mind:

Purchase halal-labeled meat
When buying halal meat, keep an eye out for the word halal or its symbol, which might be the Arabic word or a nifty halal logo. And if things get a bit fuzzy, no worries! Just ask the butcher or the seller. 
Use vegetable oil for frying
Steer clear of pork-derived oils, like lard. Opt for vegetable oils like olive, sunflower, or canola when frying, whether you’re frying chips or spring rolls. Stick to the plant-based goodness!
Don’t serve any food with added alcohol
Say no to alcohol in Islam. Skip beer, wine, or liquor in cooking, even if it’s a little or cooks off. If a recipe needs alcohol, go for non-alcoholic sparkling wine or skip it altogether. 
Ensure salads don’t contain non-halal meat or alcohol-infused dressings
Salads are an excellent and healthy side, but ditch bacon bits, ham, and animal rennet cheese. Say no to dressings with or made from wine, and just go veggie!
Switch gloves after touching non-halal meat or alcohol
After dealing with non-halal products, it’s best to switch your gloves before touching halal meat. This keeps things separate, preventing mix-ups and keeping the halal meat pure and clean.
Dedicate a grilling surface for halal meat
Don’t mix halal with non-halal on the same grill. This ensures juices and fats stay separate, keeping your halal meat unaffected. 
Use different cutting boards and knives
Keep halal and non-halal meats apart using different cutting boards and knives. After each use, wash them thoroughly with hot, soapy water. To be extra precise, label them or use different colors so there’s no mix-up.
Prepare halal meat first
Start with the halal meat in the same pan or fryer. After that, there’s no need to wash or change the oil. You’ll be good to go with the non-halal meat without any contamination.