Finally, emojis that are definitely Dubai…

Lamenting the fact that there’s not a proper shawarma emoji? Or a cool guy in a khandoura giving you a wink?

Well, fret no more: a new keyboard emoji and sticker app has just launched. Halla Walla captures the cultural tropes and distinct iconography of the Khaleeji world that we live in.

Halla Walla features signature phrases – ‘Mabrook’, ‘Habibi’, ‘Walla’ – and classic Dubai images, from a henna painted hand to a pomegranate and even Oman chips.

“We wanted to change the perception of Arabs in the Western World – especially now with all that is happening in the world,” the app’s co-founder Yasmine Rasool told us.

“We wanted to illustrate the beauty of our expressions, our emotions and our communication. When it came to representing the modern Middle Eastern voice, we felt there was a real gap in social messaging platforms. From our loud families, endless cousins, gatherings and shared meals, to signature phrases, fashion statements, football, shisha and late night shawarma runs – our lives are brimming with inside jokes and over the top emotions that needed a platform to be expressed.”

What are some of the more unique emojis on the app? “We love Waleed smoking his shisha pipe, blowing out a heart of smoke,” Yasmin told us.


“Another of our favourites is the slipper being thrown with a whack: this is something that’s very close to most kids who grew up in the Arab world, if you get in trouble, expect that a shoe would come flying at you.”


Personally, this is our favourite, it says so much with so few words…


The app is Dhs7.29 and is available for download on the iTunes store and on the Google Play store.


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