At Mezlai, a restaurant at the Emirates Palace in Dubai, chef Ali Salem Edbowa keeps Emirati food alive. In her article "A Love for Bedouin Cuisine Earns Respect for Emirati Chef," Angela Shah describes how Edbowa actively attempts to preserve indigenous Bedouin cuisine. Since Bedouin food must endure the climatic extremes of the desert, much of the food is nonperishable. "Wheat is a traditional base in many dishes, including harees, in which ground wheat and goat or mutton is cooked over low heat until creamy." Dishes on Mezlai's menu focus on these characteristics of the indigenous cuisine. For example, Edbowa prepares humour machbous, fish cooked with onions, dried lime, turmeric, and cloves. Mezlai even offers a whole roasted baby camel, which Edbow says melts like butter when touched. Other highlights include jisheed, boiled shark meat that Edbowa makes into a bisque, and lamb shoulder with foie gras.
Ali Salem Edbowa is one of the most exciting chefs in the Middle East. To read more about his life and work, click here.