x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Whetting appetites for Emirati food

Emirati tourism 'ambassadors' were told about the need to get tourists to taste Emirati food.

Doris Greif (from left), Diana Haddad and Mohamed Al Dhaheri, attend presentations by members of the Abu Dhabi ambassador programme in the capital yesterday. Sammy Dallal / The National
Doris Greif (from left), Diana Haddad and Mohamed Al Dhaheri, attend presentations by members of the Abu Dhabi ambassador programme in the capital yesterday. Sammy Dallal / The National

ABU DHABI // More tourists are getting a taste of Emirati hospitality every year – yet very few get a taste of Emirati food.

“Emirati food isn’t out there in the way you’d like it to be,” Mohamed Al Dhaheri, a member of the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, told an audience of Emirati tourism “ambassadors” yesterday.

“We’d like to see Emiratis talking to you about, and cooking, Emirati food. How can you try a traditional Emirati breakfast or brunch? Even hotels without an Emirati restaurant can still offer some dishes.”

More than 100 newly trained ambassadors, many of them working in government companies and ministries, spoke on topics from the emirate’s growing sporting industry to the nature of Sir Bani Yas Island.

They have taken a 12-week course to prepare them to be the faces of the emirate in key tourist locations.

Doris Greif, general manager of Etihad Towers hotel, echoed Mr Al Dhaheri’s sentiments, pointing out that there is just one major Emirati restaurant in the capital, Mezlai in the Emirates Palace hotel.

Six weeks ago, Etihad Towers’ Rosewater restaurant launched a dedicated Emirati cuisine day on Fridays. Each week, chefs from the palace of Sheikh Suroor bin Mohammed, the owner of Etihad Towers, cook at the hotel and train its chefs to make traditional dishes, from meats to sweets.

mswan@thenational.ae