Traveler's Test

How to feel (and taste) the essence of Dubai

How to feel (and taste) the essence of Dubai

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We challenge you: Discover the secrets of the Dubai cuisine

Have you tried Gahuwa Arabia (Arabic coffee) while in Dubai? This drink of hospitality is a blend of lightly roasted Arabic beans, cardamon and saffron, which are ground and boiled. The coffee is strained and served hot in small cups. And did you know that more than 40 varieties of dates are grown in Dubai?

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Dubai is known as a technological and cosmopolitan city. While gazing at the skyscrapers, however, you might miss the essence. If you want to culturally immerse in Dubai and the Emirate life, visit the Sheikh Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU).

The idea

The center was founded in 1998 and since then have been acting as a bridge between the many different nationalities living, working and visiting the UAE. The center’s philosophy is “Open Doors. Open Minds.” Located in a traditional Wind Tower House in the heart of the historic Al Fahidi District in Bur Dubai, the center offers a range of enrichment activities.

Heritage tours

Step back in time and enjoy the atmosphere of Al Fahidi Historic District, one of the oldest traditional Emirate neighborhoods in Dubai. Get the best guides for a walk through the unique narrow sikkas and beautiful wind towers that adorn the original residences along the Dubai Creek. Or learn about Emirate culture and religion in a relaxed, casual and open atmosphere at only mosque dedicated to receiving non-Muslim guests in Dubai – the Jumeirah Mosque.

Cultural meals

Skip the hotel breakfast and join a traditional Emirate breakfast or lunch at the Sheikh Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding. The authentic Emirate cuisine that you are going to try is homemade using the founder’s mother recipes. The local diet and dishes are made mostly of fish, meat and rice with sweeter dishes served at breakfast. It’s not only about the food – your meal will be accompanied by a chat with an Emirate host about UAE culture, customs and religion.

Contacts and opening hours: The center is open to the public Sunday through Thursday 8 am to 6 pm and Saturday from 9 am to 1 pm. Get more information here.