Dining around Cop28: more than 90 food outlets to explore
Putting the ‘ate’ into climate change discussions…
Unless you have recently awoken from a suspended animation sabbatical, have been hypnotized to experience prolonged blackouts queued by the term ‘climate change’, or have only just learned to read and listen, it’s genuinely inconceivable that Cop28 heading to Dubai later this week has escaped your notice. You may not know exactly what it is (essentially a climate change summit), or where it was held last year (Cop27 was held in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt) – but given the absence of the above-exclusive circumstances, you know at the very least, that it is coming.
The central cradle for events, discussions and happenings at Cop28 will be Expo City, taking place between November 30 and December 12. Check out our Cop28 guide for a comprehensive look at what’s going down in both the Blue (dignitaries and states people) Zone and Green (open to everyone) Zone, but here – we’re just going to concentrate on what food you can cop, at the more than 90 dining Cop28 destinations.
As you might imagine, there’s been a focus on working with homegrown partners that actively pursuing sustainable practices – with ethical, local farm-to-mouth sourcing, looking at reducing food and collateral wastage and reducing impact footprints wherever possible without compromising on that *eyes roll back* flavour.
The best food at Cop28
One of the most exciting elements of the food offering is undoubtedly African food hall Alkebulan, created by James Beard Award-winning chef and author – Alexander Smalls. Alkebulan will offer a hawker-style community of rotating restaurants and chefs – creating cuisine that celebrates the immensely varied, culinary tapestry of the African continent.
Chef Athanasios Kargatzidis, the creative mind behind Baron, Lebanon’s top-ranked restaurant in the MENA’s 50 Best Restaurants is bringing Assembly Mezze & Skewers.
Expo 2020 Dubai-born farm-to-table brand, Alif Cafe will also take centre cuisine scene stage. As will another Expo 2020 legacy hero, PXB – offering an exciting range of vegan food.
As surely as the resultant rising ice-melt tides should the summit’s warnings go unheeded – you know with absolute certainty any large scale UAE event will come with food trucks. There are four separate encampments here, with participation from such local notable dining dynasties as Pickl, Fi’lia, Baofriend, Vietnamese Foodies and Spill the Bean.
Palestinian-Jordanian chef Sara Aqel (of Fi’lia) will be serving up covetous Italian carbs in the form of pasta, pizza and gnocchi at pop-up project Safar. Q Coffee was founded as part of a mission to facilitate female empowerment, as well as championing sustainable growing and fair-trade practices.
Hideaway (of London’s Hide fame) arrives at Cop28 with the snacking backing of Chef Ollie Dabbous, and will provide plates in the key of modern British and Mediterranean cuisine. Another UK-Dubai dual nationality heavyweight, Reform Social & Grill will be demonstrating how delicious gastro pub food can also be delicious eco pub food.
Emirati chef, Faisal Nasser is bringing Tos:t, a food truck concept dishing up thick seasonal soups and loaded cheese toasties. And then there’s Floozie Cookies, who will be churning out non-risky biscuits (or 100 per cent vegan stuffed cookies to give them their official description).
If you’ve got the Blue Zone pass, you can sample vegan goodness at Prunch, Roots & Rolls, Chuck Chick, Wild and the Moon, Floozie Cookie House of Pops, and Emirati dessert delicacy legaimat brought to you by local legends, Al Fanar.
Rohit Ghai is putting Indian street food on a pedestal witj Gup & Shu. Philly Jawn by Ghostburger will focus on eco-conscious Americana, think smash burgers and sandos; another Faisal Nasser concept – Ajeené will make Middle Eastern mezze and dessert moves.
You’ve got top French flavours on tap from Bistro Des Arts; wicked bakery (including doughnuts and pizzas) fare from Bread Ahead; sustainable regional wow-stuff from Al Wasl Cafe; Japanese baked stuff via Yamanote Collective; Hannoi’s finest pho and mo from Vietnamese Foodies; and the return of another Expo 2020 big hitter –Turkmenistan fusion project, Talhan.
Culinary themes and concepts
This in-restaurant option available in select restaurants across all Blue Zone and some Green Zone sit-down restaurants will provide, as billed, a meal from sit-down to “cheque please” in 30 minutes.
Expo City Dubai, Venues at Green Zone will be accepting reservations from December 3 to 12 from 11am to 10pm. cop28.com