Vegan Guide to The United Arab Emirates

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Veganism in The UAE

The UAE hosts a large expat community, as is reflected in the great variety of foreign restaurants in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Foreign restaurants mean easy availability of cuisines that are vegan friendly such as Thai and Indian. The large numbers of expats means different food habits and diets, therefore more requests for vegan items. Add that to the traditional vegan Middle-Eastern fare of legume-based dishes and mezze salads. English is spoken widely so veganizing dishes is just a request away. When you put it all together, the UAE is a pretty good place for vegans.

In the UAE, people are well aware of trends in health and environmental issues, so healthy eating and in particular veganism are making head ways quickly, even though the young generation complains of their parents’ resistance to their new lifestyles and adhering to a diet “with so little protein”. Supermarkets follow the demand and carry milk alternatives, vegan burgers and tofu on a regular basis (see LOCAL BRANDS page).

The UAE grows few of its own vegetables and so a majority of produce and fruits (except for dates, tomatoes, cabbage, eggplants and some varieties of squash) are imported, meaning relatively high prices. Moreover, fruits and veggies have traveled by plane or come by land from as far as Turkey. This is not the country to hope for farmers’ markets, but in general, the quality is good in spite of its high carbon footprint.

Availability of local vegan dishes

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Local Vegan
Brands

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Raw
Produce

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Vegan
Awareness

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Vegan
Tolerance

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Vegan food
in Restaurants

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Vegan
Activities

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Vegan Tolerant
Hotels and Resorts

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Treatment
of animals

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