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The UAE's Must-Try Traditional Desserts

February 09, 2022
Arab food is among the most flavorful cuisines in the world. Here in the UAE, their traditional delicacies can easily overwhelm anyone's palette that's not used to their food. But when it comes to sweets, however, one bite will have them craving for more. Though the Emiratis were never known for their desserts, they do have some local treats that are out of this world. If you thought the sweets from France, Italy, and the like are incredible, wait until you taste these delicious bits of heaven. After you've tasted them once, you'll want to have them again and again!

The UAE's Must-Try Traditional Desserts


Baklava

Perhaps the most popular Middle Eastern dessert out there, Baklava is a whole oasis of sweetness with every bite. Some may find it overwhelming at first, but all in all, no one can deny just how delectable this treat really is. It's no wonder it's popular in Turkey, Iran, and of course, the UAE as well. Made with filo pastry, sweet syrup, chopped pistachio nuts, and glazed with honey, one bit will electrify your palate unlike any other! And the best part? It's pretty easy to make yourself! You'll enjoy preparing it in your luxury home as much as you would indulging in its sweetness.
The UAE's Must-Try Traditional Desserts
Source: Wikimedia Commons


Basbousa

Just as scrumptious is Basbousa, a syrup-soaked semolina cake served with an almond on top. It's a pretty distinct look party—all you have to do is to spot the almond on top and you'll know that it's Basbousa. Now, what makes it such a delectable treat? Well, the cake itself has a tasty texture that allows you to truly enjoy its flavor with every bite. The combination of the soft cake with the crunch walnut makes for quite an enjoyable treat. Also, since it's typically served in small squares, it's the type of dessert that you can enjoy in moderation.
The UAE's Must-Try Traditional Desserts
Source: Wikimedia Commons


Chebab

At first glance, you can easily mistake Chebab for an ordinary pancake. After all, not only does it look like the breakfast staple, the way to make it is also the same. You fry all the mixture up on a pan until it forms into a flat yet fluffy cake. So what's so notable about Chebab that it made it onto this list? The flavor! In contrast to regular pancakes, which are only made up of flour, eggs, butter, and the like, the ingredients to make Chebab include cardamom, saffron, and dates. They produce a complex and slightly exotic flavor that adds to the overall sweetness.
The UAE's Must-Try Traditional Desserts
Source: Wikimedia Commons


Kunafa

While Chebab is the Emirati version of a pancake, Kunafa can pretty much pass off as the UAE's own traditional version of cheesecake. Of course, both desserts are actually far different from each other. It's only that Kunafa is also a cake that's famous for having a sweet cheesy taste but it's far more flavorful than the standard cheesecake. For starters, Kunafa is also made with lemon juice, rose water, vanilla essence, almonds, pistachios, raisins, and cinnamon. They all produce a delectable dessert that's heavier than an ordinary cheesecake. And the cake itself is a traditional treat commonly served during Ramadan, one of the most important holidays in the UAE.
The UAE's Must-Try Traditional Desserts
Source: Wikimedia Commons


Luqaimat

Luqaimat, translated into English, means 'bite-sized.' One look at this traditional dessert in the UAE and you'll instantly understand why it's named like that. Served in sweet batches, Luqaimat is a delicious dumpling made out of flour, sugar, starch, saffron, cardamom powder, and dried yeast. It's far from the type of sweet dumplings you'll get in East Asia. In fact, this particular Emirati dessert is more comparable to mini donuts. They certainly share the same texture and consistency, not to mention fluffiness and sweetness too. But what makes Luqaimattruly stand out is when it's doused in date syrup and sprinkled with sesame seeds. Truly delicious!
The UAE's Must-Try Traditional Desserts
Source: Wikimedia Commons


Maamoul

While the UK has shortbread cookies, the UAE has Maamoul. In a nutshell, Maamoul is a shortbread pastry made with pistachios, figs, dates, walnuts, almonds, and other dried fruits. They're easy to make and even easier to eat since they're commonly served bite-sized. The perfect treat to serve with tea and coffee, it's the type of soothing comfort food that'll be great to enjoy during a lazy afternoon. It's no wonder Maamoul is also popular in Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, and Jordan. After just one bite, you can't get enough of it!
The UAE's Must-Try Traditional Desserts
Source: Flickr.com/ Hisham Assaad


Umm Ali

Umm Ali is the type of creamy pudding that's perfect for the holidays. No matter which holidays you celebrate, if it calls for a feast, Umm Ali will be the most suitable dessert to serve after the meal. Made with puff pastry, milk, sugar, nuts, and raisins, it's easy to mistake it as a heavy dish at first glance. After such a hearty holiday feast, you'll feel as if you no longer have any room for this sort of dessert. However, once you get a spoonful of the pudding and put it in your mouth, you'll see that it's light, sweet, and just right!
The UAE's Must-Try Traditional Desserts
Source: Flickr.com/ Saaleha Bamjee

Sweets are probably the last thing you'd be thinking of when it comes to the UAE's cuisine, however, the country has a treasure trove of desserts that will blow your mind! You might even turn into a sweet tooth the moment you bite into one.




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