Feeling hungry? The Abu Dhabi Food Festival starts today
The annual celebration of grub in the capital is back and bigger than ever. It runs from December 7 to 23 at various locations throughout the emirate, including the city of Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and the Western Region. Here’s your guide to all the key events, including food trucks, beach festivals, secret dining experiences and more. A festival pass costs Dhs350 and gives you access to almost all of the events. Click here to buy one
When: December 7 to 23
The Truckers’ Carnival will feature a selection of food trucks (there’ll be different trucks every week of the festival) and lots of family friendly entertainment, including old-school funfair games. If you buy grub from the food trucks, you get tickets for the games. You’ll also be able to explore the Luminarium, a giant inflatable maze full of lights and colours.
Marina Mall, Breakwater, Abu Dhabi, Sun to Thur 4pm to 11pm, Fri and Sat 2pm to midnight, free (Luminarium Dhs20). platinumlist.net
When: December 8 to 9, 14 to 17, 21 to 23
As well as 40 food trucks, trailers and pop-ups serving dishes from all over the world, there’ll also be a breakdance workshop for kids, music performances from local and international hip hop talents, plus a souk selling local arts and crafts. It’s on at Al Ain Zoo December 8 and 9 and the Corniche later in the month.
Various locations including Corniche, Abu Dhabi, Thur to Sat 4pm to midnight, Dhs30 (Dhs40 in Al Ain). abudhabievents.ae
When: December 8 to 9
A Caribbean-themed beach party featuring food vendors serving dishes such as jerk chicken and banana plantin from Jamaica, coucou (cornflour and okra) and flying fish from Barbados and more. There’ll be local bands and beach games.
Yas Beach, Abu Dhabi, Fri to Sat noon to midnight, Dhs30 (2pm to 5pm), Dhs100 (6pm onwards). Taxi: Yas. platinumlist.net
Ripe Night Market
When: December 9
There’ll be a special night edition of Ripe during the Abu Dhabi Food Festival that will include its usual mix of stands selling organic fruit and veg and superfoods. There’ll be live cooking stations, arts and crafts stalls, fitness workshops, live entertainment, kids’ activities and yoga.
Umm Al Emarat Park, Al Mushrif, Abu Dhabi, Sat 3pm to 10pm, Dhs5. Tel: (04) 3157000. Taxi: Mushrif Park. ripeme.com
When: December 10 to 13, 17 to 20
Ghantoot, on the border with Dubai, will host a variety of food trucks and provide info on the festival. You’ll be able to try hotdogs, burgers and healthy snacks.
Sheikh Zayed Road, Ghantoot, Abu Dhabi, daily 1pm to 11pm, free. Taxi: Ghantoot junction of Sheikh Zayed Road. abudhabievents.ae
Festember By 40Mule
When: December 13 to 16
It was popular when it was in the capital at Warehouse 421 for Ramadan this year, and now Festember, the food and retail festival, is back. It’ll take place in Umm Al Emarat Park from December 13 to 16.
Street Food Market
When: December 14 and 15
This Truckers’ event is strictly for adults and will take place in an area designed to look like an industrial junkyard. As well as food trucks, there’ll be live DJs and even a mechanical bull to ride. You’ll be expected to dance the night away at this event.
Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, Thur and Fri 7pm to 3am, Dhs50. Taxi: Mad nightclub’s car park. platinumlist.net
When: December 15 and 16
Pretty much every part of the emirate is getting involved with the Abu Dhabi Food Festival, including the Western Region. Truckers’ Park will be set up in Madinat Zayed Public Park and feature food trucks, local bands, a souk, DJs and children’s activities.
Madinat Zayed Public Park, Western Region, Abu Dhabi, Fri and Sat 3pm to midnight, Dhs20. Taxi: Madinat Zayed, Western Region. abudhabievents.ae
Top Secret Long Table
When: December 21
Originally booked in for December 8, this secret dinner for 1,000 guests was postponed because of high winds. Confused? The dinner is to be held at a secret location, which diners will only find out about on the day. The Food Truck Company, Foodsters and 1762 will be presenting the menu selection, drawing inspiration from cuisines of the world and there’ll be eight food stations serving dishes from all over the globe. Emirati singer/songwriter Hamdan Abri, who has performed with former Police frontman Sting, will sing on the night.
Location TBC, Abu Dhabi. abudhabievents.ae
When: December 22 and 23
Abu Dhabi’s biggest-ever picnic will take place this food festival, but we’re not just talking about big portions – the Big Piknik, making its debut at the event, will feature giant items of food such as a two-metre high ice cream and a metre-high doughnut. The picnic isn’t just about giant treats, though – it’ll also promote healthy eating through an organic farmers’ market.
Umm Al Emarat Park, Al Mushrif, Abu Dhabi, Fri and Sat 10am to 5pm, Dhs20 per family. abudhabievents.ae
When: December 22 and 23
There’s more to food and film than chomping some popcorn at the cinema – many movies feature dishes in classics scenes, and at Delicious Cinema, you’ll get to watch a film or two that features food in it, and then try the same dish as the movie’s characters. The films will be chosen nearer to the date, but keep an eye on whatson.ae/abudhabi, we’ll have all the info there as soon as it’s released.
Manarat Al Saadiyat, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi, Fri and Sat 7pm to 11pm, Dhs190. Taxi: Manarat Al Saadiyat. platinumlist.net.ae
Save with Zomato
The foodie website has joined forces with the festival to offer money-off deals and also treats (such as free desserts with your orders). There’ll also be running competitions through their site (prizes includes brunch for four at top Abu Dhabi restaurants) and for each week of the festival, will crown one of the city’s outlets Restaurant Of The Week. Foodies will be able to order from a special menu during the week they’re crowned top dog.