Karama is a residential neighborhood at the ‘Old Side’ are of Dubai. It is known for its diverse community groups mainly from South Asia and The South East. This maybe the reason why you’ll find a lot of specialty restaurants offering local cuisines from different nations.
I lived in Karama during my early years in Dubai and saw how this neighborhood evolved from a place that you’ll normally dread visiting or even to pass by and now transformed to a foodie heaven for those with a more adventurous palate.
I once asked a Scottish friend living in Karama why he chose to stay here, he answered quickly —–> “THE FOOD! Cheap and Authentic!”
As one of the many fans of this place, I thought of creating a list to share with you some ‘hidden gems’ where you can find good food at a very reasonable price in Karama.
Note: There are a lot of food translations needed in this blog (you will find them italicized and in this color) ^^.
If you are looking for an authentic Indonesian meal, Betawi surely is the place for you. This humble restaurant offers one of the best Nasi Goreng (Indonesian fried rice) that I have ever tasted. It was recognized by Time Out Dubai as a Highly Commended South East Asian Restaurant. Every dish is a taste of the South East from its generous serving sizes to its richly flavored dishes.
Aside from their Nasi Goreng, I would highly recommend trying their dessert called Dadar Gulung (pancake with sweetend coconut inside) and sweet drinks called Es Teller (fruit cocktail, coconut, milk and grass jelly mix) and Es Campur (fruit cocktail, jackfruit, avocado, coconut, grass jelly and Indonesian syrup mix).
Follow Betawi On Social Media: Facebook
RAJU OMLET (Indian)
Just directly beside Betawi, you will find a small restaurant fully decorated with eggs. With egg emojis on their shelves and several posters educating you about the goodness of eggs, you’ll then realize that you have entered inside Egg Heaven.
Famous to Indians and Emaratis, Raju Omlet boasts on their clever selections of…..you guessed it right! OMELETS! From a simple Cheese and Mushroom Omelets to a more adventurous dishes as the Cheese Masala (Indian spice mix) Omelet.
Aside from their omelets, when you’ll get to visit this cute food joint, you should also order their famous Karak Chai Tea (strong sweet tea with milk) to compliment your filling snack.
Al Atar (Mainly Filipino)
The Al Atar Building near Karama Center is also known as the ‘Filipino Mall’. Normally people (mostly Filipinos) go there to look for electronics, mobile phone accessories, perfume, bags and RTW on a budget. If you have been to the Philppines, this is Dubai’s version of Greenhills. Aside from all the accessories that you can haggle, what is great about Al Atar is its small food stalls.
You can find several restaurants selling typical Filipino street food and snacks here such as Turon (caramelized plantain rolled in spring roll wrapper), Siomai (a filipino version of a dumpling), Kwek Kwek (deep quail eggs covered in orange colored batter), Palitaw (boiled grounded sticky rice covered with sugar and grated coconut) and Taho (fresh soft/silken tofu with sugar syrup and tapioca pearls) . During winter time (Christmas Season), you can even find stalls selling Bibingka (rice cake topped with salted fermented eggs) and Puto Bungbong (steamed purple sticky rice served with grated coconut).
As a Filipino, Al Atar is truly God sent for us. Every time I feel homesick and craved for something that will remind me of home, I often visit this place. Although most of the time very crowded, it is worth every trip.
ERIC’S RESTAURANT (Indian, Oriental)
Eric’s is very famous for its Indian dishes but keep in mind that it also serves Thai and Chinese. Most of the time, whenever we visit this restaurant, our eyes are fixed with their Indian specialties.
The moment you will enter Eric’s you’ll be welcomed by its very homey and intimate interiors. I must say that it is not too big but spacious enough that you will not feel that you are eating in a very crowded space.
If you happen to visit this restaurant, I would recommend that you should try their Fantastic Wings and Buttered Chicken paired with Garlic Buttered Naan (leavened oven-baked flatbread). These are my Eric’s staple dishes.
Follow Eric’s On Social Media: Facebook
YALLA MOMOS (Nepalese)
This cute little snack bar at the corner of the street is known to be the first momos (Nepali dumpling) joint in the UAE. Whenever I am in Karama, I always pass-by this corner and I can’t help but be curious on the smiling dumpling logo. In one of the travel forums that I am subscribed to, one of the bloggers there recommended this joint and after reading, I called a friend and invited her to join me and try this seemingly famous food joint.
I had a full disclaimer when I invited her as I didn’t know what to expect. Surprisingly we both enjoyed it. Yalla Momos serves —- you guessed it right! MOMOS! Different varieties of affordable bite sized dumplings.
In all their dumplings, you have an option to have them steamed or fried. We tried both and I preferred the steamed ones (I don’t really like oily food). During our visit, we tried the Chicken 3C Momos which is a mix of chicken with 3Cs (chilli, cheese and capsicum) and also the Shrimp Momos. There are a lot of flavors to choose from, so if ever you will visit this place don’t hesitate to play around and try several kinds.
Follow Yalla Momos On Social Media: Facebook
Karama can be too much for a lot of people. I had my fair share of complaints when I was living here. Too crowded, so much traffic and noisy. But when I started to discover that Karama is a place full of hidden treasures, I always find myself back here, whether alone searching for new gems or with friends trying out our favorites among the list above.
Have you ever been to Karama? Let me know your favorite food spots in this busy and thriving neighborhood.1