Sponsored: Take your tastebuds on an authentic tour of the Emirate by sampling exotic Emirati cuisine – an initiative launched by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi

While Abu Dhabi has plenty of fantastic cuisines on offer, from Pinoy and Peruvian to Moroccan and Iranian, it’s always been a little harder to find authentic Emirati fare in the city. Traditionally, these dishes have just been served in local homes or at significant celebrations – such as iftar during Ramadan – but with the help of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) that’s finally starting to change, with a new initiative determined to shine a light on this incredible cuisine.

The recently-launched Emirati Cuisine Programme is giving residents and visitors the opportunity to try some local flavours at a select number of hotels across the emirate until May. Under the programme, 32 chefs at approximately 30 hotels received training from Emirati chef Khulood Atiq to prepare and serve a range of authentic Emirati dishes. Be sure to look out for the Machboos Mondays deals, which features discounts ranging from 10 per cent to 20 per cent off Emirati dishes at a selection of hotels every Monday.

“Emirati food is a symbol of the UAE’s renowned generosity and hospitality and a celebration of our local culture and history. We are delighted to be able to share this part of our rich heritage with visitors and residents”– HE Ali Hassan Al Shaiba, Executive Director of Tourism and Marketing at DCT Abu Dhabi

Here’s a look at just some of the locations where you can try authentic Emirati cuisine this month in Abu Dhabi

Al Dar at Al Rawda Arjaan by Rotana

Chef Yamen Mouffek Albdera has added a taste of Emirati culture to the menu at Al Rawda Arjan with six new authentic dishes, including his own special take on balaleet and harees.

Ingredients at Anantara Eastern Mangroves Abu Dhabi

Inspired by Abu Dhabi, Ingredients has refreshed its menu with a wide range of authentic Emirati dishes. Chef Idin Asmitha has reworked ten Emirati classics, including ouzi, leguimat and madrooba.

C.Taste at Centro Al Manhal by Rotana

Chef Yamen Albdera has whipped up a fresh Emirati-inspired menu with six new dishes, including a machboos of fish and chicken.

Elements at Hili Rayhaan by Rotana

This stylish resort in Al Ain’s popular Hili district is the perfect place to stay for anyone interested in exploring the nearby historical sites. Take your knowledge of Emirati culture to the next level by sampling six new Emirati dishes on chef Maher Aljawabra’s menu.

Sedra Restaurant at Ayla Bawadi Hotel

You’ll find six new Emirati dishes on the menu at Sedra Restaurant. Chef Murali Palinchi and his team highly recommend the new machboos chicken and machboos fish dishes.

Corniche All Day Dining at Sofitel Abu Dhabi Corniche

Chef Rohan Patil has introduced five new Emirati dishes to the hotel’s international buffet menu, bringing local flair to this popular dining spot. Dishes include balaleet, harees and ouzi.

New Season at City Seasons Al Hamra

This plush hotel in the centre of the city has fully embraced the new Emirati Cuisine programme with an eclectic selection of dishes inspired by authentic traditional recipes.

Khayal at Marriott Hotel Al Forsan Abu Dhabi

Chef Sudhanshu Nirmal has added an exciting selection of authentic local dishes to the menu at Khayal restaurant, so you can sample real-deal Emirati food.

Nuevo at Premier Inn Abu Dhabi International Airport

Chef Nitesh Lama has added eight new dishes to the breakfast menu and international buffet, including leguimat, chebab or marguga.

Essence at Beach Rotana Abu Dhabi

Executive sous chef Abu Halab Ahmad Daiekh has created some exciting local dishes, including chicken machboos and lamb ouzi. There’s also a delicious vegetarian dish called thareed that’s worth trying. Available for take-away or room service only.

Printania at Royal Rose Hotel

Resembling a 17th century Parisian palace with intricate gold-leaf designs and ornate chandeliers, the five-star Royal Rose Hotel has now added an Emirati twist to its Printania restaurant with the addition of some local dishes prepared by Chef Pankaj Kumar.

Ayla Restaurant at Ayla Hotel

Thanks to Chef Rohan Kularatne, diners at Ayla Restaurant can now enjoy an authentic taste of Emirati culture with his take on chebab as one of the stand out dishes.

Nara Restaurant at Ayla Grand Hotel, Al Ain

The popular Al Ain resort has introduced six new Emirati-inspired dishes to its international buffet menu. Chef Sailesh has worked wonders with these authentic recipes, and the new leguimat dish comes highly recommended.

Your useful glossary to Emirati cuisine

Ouzi (also ghouzi, qoozi, qozi) – Often known as the signature iftar buffet dish, ouzi sees slowly cooked lamb topped with roasted nuts, raisins and served over aromatic rice.

Luqaimat (also leguimat) – A puffy and sweet fried dumpling often garnished with sesame seeds then served as a dessert drizzled in date syrup.

Machboos (also machbous) – Arguably the most popular Emirati dish, machboos is similar to biryani, with rice cooked in the spiced broth of meat, fish or chicken.

Chebab (also chabab) – Affectionately known as Emirati pancakes, chebab is often served for breakfast or dinner with cheese and honey.

Marguga (also margooga) – A hearty lamb, potato and carrot stew heavily spiced with cinnamon, cumin, cloves and cardamom.

Thareed (also Tharid) – Crispy flatbread called rigag is layered with roasted vegetables or meat stew made with tomatoes.

Balaleet – A popular breakfast choice which includes vermicelli sweetened with sugar, cardamom, rose water and saffron, and served with an omelette on top.

For more information about the Emirati Cuisine Programme, visit emiraticuisine.ae