10 reasons to love the Dubai Food Festival

Beach canteens, food trucks, mystery dinners and more

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The city’s second annual episode of edible entertainment kicks off on Friday February 6. Here’s what’s new, bigger and better this year.

With Dubai Food Festival back for the second year and now an annual event, February has become the most important month in the emirate’s calendar for food fans. This year, the festival takes place from Friday February 6 to Saturday 28, with four key themes at its heart: Emirati cuisine, home-grown, street food, and international chefs. Expect to see celebrity chefs from around the world. Home-grown food traditions will also take pride of place throughout the month. Meet Jason Atherton, be whizzed around to secret locations in a helicopter, track down a food truck or simply get to grips with the nation’s dining culture. You name it, this year there is a feast of culture from top-end, down to grass roots to satisfy your hunger.

Celebrity chefs at Dubai Food Festival 2015

Made In Dubai
Honouring one of this year’s festival themes, ‘Made in Dubai’ will serve as a spotlight on Emirati food. It’s a new event and will involve a look at as many as 96 of the nation’s favourite (but perhaps lesser-known) dishes and will include masterclasses hosted by local chefs.
February 27-28. Zabeel Park.

Street Nights
Head to Al Quoz, Dubai’s premier art district, where this two-day festival will combine a showcase of street art with street food. Approximately 20 food outlets are expected to attend, offering you ‘street food’ versions of their menu, in a first for the festival’s schedule of events.
February 20-21. Street 4B, Al Quoz 1.

Urban Farm
Taking place at two home-grown hotspots for food and local culture, this street food market will showcase a range of UAE-born companies and concepts, first at The Archive in Safa Park, and then at Creekside in Bur Dubai towards the end of the festival.
February 7. The Archive, Safa Park. February 28. Creekside, Bur Dubai.

Dubai Food Carnival
Arguably the highlight of each year’s food festival, this year the food carnival expects as many as 20,000 visitors to enjoy a selection of 20 plus different cuisines from across the globe (cooked by 80 plus exhibitors). Aiming to appeal to everyone, entertainment at the event will range from the ‘chef dome’, hosting celebrity chefs and cooking competitions, through to live music and entertainment on the main stage (as well as in the Bubble Lounge), and a kids zone.
February 12 -14. Dubai International Marine Club, Dubai Marina.

Taste of Peru
Each year, Dubai celebrates this cuisine, which has really taken the world by storm, with chefs Rene Redzepi, Nobu Matsuhisa and Ferran Adrià all famously claiming to be fans of Peruvian cooking. Here, you can enjoy three days of signature dishes, from ceviche through to ‘quinotta’ (a modern Peruvian fusion of risotto made with quinoa).
February 12 -14. Amphitheatre, Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim.

Fatafeat Kitchen
Teaming up with Arabic food channel Fatafeat and Galeries Lafayette, this year the food festival shows off the talents of chefs (and their cooking) from across the region. Nine Arabic chefs will participate in cooking demonstrations throughout the two-day event and the line-up will include Egyptian cuisine expert chef Salma Soliman.
February 20-21. Galeries Lafayette, The Dubai Mall.

Dine On The Creek
This inaugural event will see top chefs including Sanjeev Kapoor, Manal Al Alem and Yousef Khumaye serve pop-up menus at The Creek.
Dates to be announced. Dubai Creek.

Beach Canteen
For the second year running, Kite Beach will play host to a spree of pop-up dining venues that will remain throughout the festival. With a focus on home-grown restaurant styles, you can expect nine different UAE-born concepts serving up their menus as well as a new twist to the event this year. For the 2015 edition, selected international celebrity chefs will also offer pop-up menus, including Jason Atherton (Thursday February 26 to Saturday 28), Sanjeev Kapoor (Wednesday February 21) and Yousef Khamayes (Friday February 6 to Saturday 7).
February 6-28. Kite Beach, Jumeirah.

Food truck convoy
Embracing the recent frenzy for gourmet food trucks in Dubai, a brand-new addition to the 2015 festival is the food truck convoy. This event will see trucks created by the likes of Moti Roti, Raw Coffee and Burger Fuel appearing in locations across the city throughout the month.
February 8-12; 15-19; 22-26. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard; Academic City; JLT Park; Dubai Knowledge Village; Studio City.

Street Food Photography Exhibition
If you are flying into or out of Dubai, be treated to an alternative taste of the city’s food scene, taking place throughout the festival at Dubai International Airport. Renowned and award-winning food photographer Penny De Los Santos will be exhibiting 30 photographs taken on a visit to Dubai last month. Each image is aimed at showcasing and uncovering the emirate’s street food and ethnic food scene and heritage, focusing on Old Dubai.
Throughout February. Dubai International Airport, Garhoud.
For more information about the 2015 Dubai Food Festival click here

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