Cultural Lunch – Dubai

As I’ve said to lots of people, when Mr B and I were planning our holiday to Dubai we both felt we really wanted to learn more about the culture, so when we found the SMCCU (Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding), we didn’t hesitate fitting a visit into our itinerary.

The centre is a non-profit organisation which helps to raise awareness of the local culture, customs and religion in Dubai and the UAE.

There are various tours you can book, but we chose the ‘Cultural Lunch’ as this ticked two of our boxes, the other being to try some authentic Emirati food!

When we walked in I was taken aback how beautifully the room was laid out . . . the rich red fabrics and glistening gold and silver crockery, it all looked so beautiful inside the stone building.

As Mr B and I were first to arrive, we took off our shoes and had the first pick of where to sit to admire our surroundings.

When everyone in our group was seated we were all welcomed with Arabic coffee and dates. Our lovely host greeted us and talked about the centre, why it was built and also about all the amazing food that was sitting in front of us!

Mr B and I couldn’t wait to tuck in as the smells were divine! There was beef biryani, vegetarian curry, chicken curry and salads just to name a few dishes.

We also had lugaimat, which are fried balls of dough, with date syrup, the syrup added a rich, treacly sweetness. Basically they were delicious (but I do think I perhaps had one too many!).

We finished our lunch with Arabic tea and then our host opened up the floor to any questions.

We talked about local customs, the Arabic food, men versus women, traditional dress and we also learned a lot about Ramadan, which when we visited wasn’t too far away. We were encouraged to ask any questions and were told several times that no question was a bad question.

The centre’s motto is ‘Open doors, Open minds’ and it really did stay true to that. We had a fantastic lunch and left feeling full of knowledge and with a new-found respect for the religion and Muslim culture.



  1. Mostlyfoodandtravel July 26, 2018 / 8:13 am

    Wow this sounds like a great experience and that feast looks delicious including the date syrup fried balls x

    • thetravelsofmrsb
      July 26, 2018 / 6:39 pm

      It was great, all the food was delicious!!!

  2. Bejal July 28, 2018 / 5:59 am

    What an excellent and informative experience. The meal looks lovely and I really like the whole idea of this style of dining and educating.

    • thetravelsofmrsb
      July 28, 2018 / 1:13 pm

      It was such a lovely experience xxx

  3. binita shah July 29, 2018 / 1:02 pm

    This is such a brilliant way to immerse yourself into the culture

    • thetravelsofmrsb
      July 29, 2018 / 2:39 pm

      We learnt so much, it was a fantastic experience

  4. Elaine birkin July 29, 2018 / 8:27 pm

    The food & surroundings look & sound amazing, nice to mix food with the culture xx

    • thetravelsofmrsb
      July 29, 2018 / 8:49 pm

      It was so beautiful inside and such a fantastic experience x

  5. Lara Olivia July 30, 2018 / 2:00 pm

    Looks like a wonderful lunch, I love that you got involved in the culture! That’s one of the best things about travel, meeting other people from different places and cultures.

    • thetravelsofmrsb
      July 31, 2018 / 8:19 am

      It really is one of the best things about travel!

  6. Lydia July 31, 2018 / 2:44 pm

    You definitely had a blast in Dubai, Laura. Seems like a great lunch and it’s great you got to explore the culture through their food and eating habits. Safe and happy travels!

    • thetravelsofmrsb
      July 31, 2018 / 6:21 pm

      It was such a fantastic experience. Thank you for reading!

  7. Hira August 1, 2018 / 7:15 am

    Wow ! Laura it looks amazing! Such an amazing experience! Would love to try it one day.

    • thetravelsofmrsb
      August 1, 2018 / 8:01 am

      Thank you Hira! It really was a fantastic experience.

  8. Em August 1, 2018 / 12:55 pm

    What an amazing experience, I’d like to do something like this, I find talking to people with different opinions and life experiences so interesting.

    • thetravelsofmrsb
      August 1, 2018 / 6:01 pm

      It was so interesting xxx

  9. Scarlett Roitman August 8, 2018 / 7:38 pm

    What a fantastic lunch. Love the motto Open Doors, Open Minda!

    • thetravelsofmrsb
      August 9, 2018 / 8:03 am

      Thank you. It was such a fantastic experience and the food was delicious!

  10. Louise September 10, 2018 / 8:07 pm

    Oh wow! That must have been such an amazing experience. I have been to Dubai a few times, but never thought about going here? (too much party and food back then, I guess!) You look very pretty and elegant as always, Laura
    Love the motto by the way!
    Louise x

    • thetravelsofmrsb
      September 11, 2018 / 7:46 am

      It really was a special experience. But party and food in Dubai sounds good to me! xxx

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