Home-grown food truck frenzy in Dubai and Abu Dhabi
Finally the UAE can boast its very own home-grown food truck scene – a little behind the rest of the world, but better late than never. I am not talking about international trucks flown in from the UK, or established restaurants on wheels, but independent concepts developed locally here in the emirates by young entrepreneurs – admittedly some with sound financial backing. And whilst a couple of trucks churn out (boring) burgers, there’s plenty more variety.
Nine trucks have banded together with the help of Alex Teodoresco (the founder of Street Nights), to create an all-encompassing street food event on alternating Saturdays at Dubai’s Emirates Golf Club (next event is on the 27th February). There are two options – a food truck brunch from 12 to 4pm with unlimited food and alcohol for AED 285 (AED 175 for kids) – or join in from 4pm onwards to pay on consumption. I think the organisers should also add a non-alcoholic brunch option for adults too – otherwise it makes it cost prohibitive. The set-up is fun and quirky with plenty of shaded seating.
If you’re in Abu Dhabi don’t fret, the Love Food Festival showcases local (and British food trucks) this weekend at Mushrif Central Park (18 – 20th February) – see photo below from last year’s event.
Back in Dubai later this month on the 25 – 27th February, the same company behind the above event, is running Eat The World for Dubai Food Festival, featuring street food with local and Brit food trucks at Burj Park, Downtown.
Here’s a peek into some of the home-grown trucks you can expect to see roaming around the UAE – in alphabetical order:
- Calle Tacos – pronounced ‘Caye’, a Mexican-owned truck for your fix of Tex-Mex tacos, burritos, nachos and quesadillas with all sorts of fillings.
- Gobai – a twist on Goan street food.
- Jake’s Burgers – basically a range of burgers in a bagel. This team is also behind natural, gluten-free frozen gelato bars, Hip Pops.
- Ka’ak Al Manara – a stall rather than a food truck but street food all the same. Sweet, round sesame breads, Lebanon’s popular ‘ka’ak’ street food is toasted with a choice of savoury and sweet spreads.
- Moti Roti – Tahir Shah’s Pakistani wholewheat roti wraps, brown rice and salad bowls are particularly close to my heart (and tummy) because his original pop-up is a stone’s throw from my home. Wholesome, healthy and filling, they make me a regular customer.
- Saj2Go – for traditional, baked Lebanese ‘saj’ round flatbreads with a variety of fillings. You will find this bright yellow truck at lifestyle events in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi like the upcoming Dubai jazz festival and the boat show.
- Shmokin’s – as the name suggests, this truck is all about barbequed meats, specifically 8-12 hour charcoal and hickory wood-smoked beef ribs, brisket and turkey. All coated in a secret spice rub – and served with horseradish potato salad, coleslaw and corn on the cob.
- The Shebi – the brainchild of an Indian lady and a Lebanese guy, the food here is a fusion of both cultures – a chicken shawarma wrapped in paratha, falafel pitta pockets and butter chicken shawarma on rice.
- YumTingz – char-grilled burgers, camel meat included.
- You will also stumble upon Toasted for cheese toasties, ice-cream veteran Desert Chill, frozen yoghurt Melt, and organic coffee Bio Bean.
Download the Roundup app to see where some of these food trucks are next popping up, or follow your favourites on their social media channels.
Do you have a favourite food truck in the UAE, or one from back home that you wish would pop across here?