When you get those cravings but you’re a nine hour flight away from home, fret not! Globalisation has made it possible to enjoy authentic cuisines from around the world, anywhere you are. It just takes a little digging to discover the hidden gems across the city because high end restaurants that break the bank often aren’t authentic.
Though their Asian fusion dishes may be packed with exotic flavours, sometimes we just miss a good, old, simple pho or a fresh dish of sashimi with nothing but a dab of wasabi and soy sauce…
Kinoya – Japanese
Kinoya is probably going to be the most expensive out of this list but even then, it’s not exorbitant when you compare Kinoya to other Japanese restaurants such as Zuma, Hoseki or Gonpachi.
Kinoya is based around the concept of an izakaya which is essentially the Japanese version of a French bistro. The ambience is often relaxed and the kitchen usually serves delicious everyday meals like ramen, yakitori, sushi etc.
The price is absolutely on point, considering that what you’re getting is a truly authentic experience and dishes prepared with fresh, imported ingredients by trained Japanese chefs.
It was originally just an idea; a group of friends who wanted to satisfy a craving but noticed a lack of affordable, authentic izakayas in the city. And so Kinoya was born.
Now Kinoya has become a bustling, successful establishment, adding to the vibrant food scene in Dubai and one of my favourite restaurants!
Official Website: https://kinoya.ae/
Location: The Onyx Tower 2 – Floor P2 – Dubai
Nine Squares Hot Pot – Chinese
Be sure to go to the branch on Jumeirah Beach Road instead of the one in International City. The interior is clean, comfortable and lined with greenery! The service isn’t always smooth and efficient. Orders are sometimes late or forgotten but the food makes up for it!
You have different types of pots to choose from, including one with nine squares, thus the name but the squares are for different ingredients – not nine different soups which was my initial thought. However, there are pots where you can pick two different soups which is perfect for first timers who want to try a variety of different things.
The best soups would be the Japanese and the tomato soup but if you’ve never tried a Sichuan mala hotpot, you definitely can’t miss out. Be careful as the broth is too spicy for me and the veggies tend to soak up all the oil in the broth…
Last but not least, be sure to concoct your dipping sauce with the following ingredients: vinegar, soy sauce, garlic and fresh chilis with some sesame oil. The ratio of the vinegar to soy sauce should be 2 to 1. This is my personal favourite mix!
Location: 598 Jumeirah St – Umm Suqeim – Jumeirah 3 – Dubai
Saigon Station – Vietnamese
This street food style restaurant with it’s rickety, plastic chairs is probably one of the best kept secrets of Dubai.
Due to its distance from the main city centres, it probably doesn’t get as much traction as it should. Nonetheless, Saigon Station is always a flurry of activity as customers come and go.
- The Signature Beef Pho in a Hot Stone Bowl
- Summer Rolls (beef and prawn)
- Spring Rolls (beef and prawn)
- Coconut Jelly
Official Website: https://saigonstation.com/
Location: Silicon Gates 1 – Dubai Silicon Oasis – Dubai
Seoul Garden – Korean
We end our recommendation list with a more easily accessible Korean BBQ restaurant in Al Karama. If you’ve been watching Squid Game recently and have caught a bit of that Korean fever, Seoul Garden will quench your craving for proper kimchi.
Obviously, apart from ordering some galbi and bulgogi for your BBQ, make sure to order the seafood and kimchi pancake as well as the spicy rice cake.
Official Website: https://www.dubaiseoulgarden.com/
Location: Zabeel Road Al Karama 27th St, Zomorodah bldg, G Floor