Of course Dubai has a vast selection of first class dining and superb luxury cuisines in all the hotels around - but if you visit Dubai or even live there and you do not try some of the delicious street foods you are really missing out on something. Choices here are also huge and you will be surprised for how little money you get an excellent meal plus you can enjoy a real authentic atmosphere. Dubai is a melting pot of so many nationalities which all bring their own cuisines into the country so you can do a full culinary world journey without leaving the city.
Today I would like to focus on Indian food - Indians are the biggest expat community here in the country and logically the choices of Indian restaurants is sheer endless. If you are not very familiar with Indian food like I was it might be maybe a bit out of your comfort zone to just go there and try out different dishes - although I have to say here on a side note that in Dubai the municipality has a very strict food hygiene control, so you do not need to worry when you eat even from small street stalls. However still the question remains of what to order. So to get a better overview here I have opted some time ago to join the Indian Food Trail from Frying Pan Adventures (www.fryingpanadventures.com), which I already have mentioned in my Ramadan post. As a honest observer I must say that their tours are great and gives you the opportunity to get to know to all these interesting places, also listen about the historic context of the neighborhood and food and have really lovely guides with you - however from the objective side despite all that great experience I unfortunately find the tours a bit overpriced compared to the really low food cost of the various places.
But it was for me the best way to get to know to these fantastic culinary jewels and I often come back alone now when I feel for some different kind of food. All these places are located in Dubai's Little India, which is Bur Dubai (Meena Bazar Area) and which is also a nice area to explore on foot as beside the many restaurants you also have lots of shops and even a small Indian Temple in the Textile Souk.
So let's start with some real Indian Street Food snacks - Pani Puri. Small crispy balls that are filled with some savory and you can choose if you want them spicy or sweet. Remember for Indians sweet and ehm not so spicy can still set your non-Indian tongue on fire. You order the Pani Puri direct at the counter where they are served directly to you and you flip one by one (in a whole as otherwise it is a spilling mess) in your mouth. They only serve one client/party at a time so if somebody is flipping before you, you will have to wait until they are finished. Best place to try that out is the Rangoli Restaurant (www.rangolirestaurants.com).
Just around the corner you find another famous Indian street food Samosas - which the Emiratis have also adopted into their own cuisine. But originally from India and Pakistan Samosa is a small pastry triangle filled with different kind of vegetables or cheese. Has to be eaten fresh and hot. Best ones in the neighborhood you can get at Farisian Cafeteria.
Some streets further down you can find the Vegetarian Restaurant Sageetha (www.sangeethavegrestaurants.com). The friendly waiters will help you here with the best choice, but I can for sure recommend the delicious Dosas - which is a type of pancake from South India made from fermented butter and main ingredients are rice and black gram. It is served on a plate with different small dishes (as samba - a lentil dish), stuffing of potatoes, paneer cheese and chutney. Before you leave you also have to try the super sweet Kerala Filter coffee which is pure sugar and milk but soooooo good - and it is served with two cups between which the coffee is poured over to cool it down more quickly.
If veggies are not so much your thing and you belong more to the carnivore side - just walk around the corner to the Sind Punjab Restaurant where you will already pass the grill station right at the entrance door. Here you get perfectly grilled Kebabs and Tikkas accompanied with all time Indian favorites as Dal (lentils) or Paneer (cheese). Also try their freshly squeezed sugar cane juice.
Sure already with a more than full stomach a walk around the area will reveal more Indian delights as well as freshly baked bread.
And if finally no little bread crumb can go down your throat anymore, it is time for some window shopping - Sari anyone?