Dubai is only malls, expensive restaurants, hotels and fancy clubs, right? Nope! On our last visit, local friends showed us a different side of the city. They led us to hidden seafood stalls somewhere in the suburbs and to lush walking grounds in parts of the old town that still feels like mystical Arabian Nights rather than a night in Vegas. However, our favourite evening was the Saturday at the Dubai Food Truck Jam.
The concept is straightforward: the best food truckers of the country joined forces to stage regular food truck jams in some of the most scenic venues in the region. Whereas many events of that kind offer nothing but pulled pork burgers and beef from the smoker, this Jam boasts a huge variety of dishes. Arab, Indian, Asian, Mexican, Latin American – you’ve got it. Even roaming the diverse food trucks is fun.
It is not only about the food though. The guys really make an effort to create a memorable atmosphere. The extraordinary location is obviously the first thing that meets the eye. Our edition of the Food Truck Jam took place on the grounds of the Emirates Golf Course (don’t worry: apart from the green it has nothing to do with Golf etiquettes or square pants). The venue is surrounded by a stockade that provokes this easy backyard feeling. Behind the stockade, the stunning skyline of Dubai’s Marina rises into the night sky. You can hate on the weirdness of building a shiny city into the desert as much as you want. The view is really something to behold.
In the middle of the venue, folk bands are playing to the munching and drinking crowd. Yes: drinking. They serve beer and wine at the event. We weren’t expecting to find any outside of the big hotels. If you feel like sitting down, there are simple picnic tables, hay bales and a couple of hammocks hung up around the premise. The crowd is a mix of young families, locals in western clothing or headscarves and thoubs and obviously, the expat community.
When to go:
The Food Truck Jam takes place every Saturday from 3 pm – 11 pm. In summer, it is too hot to be outside for long. That’s why the Food Truck Jam season is from fall to late spring.
What to bring:
Entry is free. But make sure you carry enough cash for food and drinks. Depending on the venue, the next ATM can be quite far away.