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Book detailing local heritage launched at world hospitality contest
By Jamil Khan November 03, 2014
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DUBAI: The three-day Dubai World Hospitality Championship (DWHC) 2014 saw a number of traditional and national cuisines from the UAE and all over the Arab world. The response from the participants and general visitors or professionals was enormous. As part of the event of Dubai World Hospitality Championship, Zaabeel Palace Hospitality launched a book documenting the local heritage under the title “Emirati Hospitality: Customs and Traditions”.

The book demonstrates principles of Emirati Hospitality, from a Bedouin-style welcome, desert themed drinks, cooking instruments, wedding clothes, and other genuine Emirati customs. The book highlights the different eras of Emirati heritage. The first edition of the book was signed by Sheikh Mansoor Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Commenting on the launch of the unique book, Ahmed Bin Hareb, President of DWHC, stated that the traditions of UAE’s unique hospitality are passed on from one generation to the next for centuries. Deeply engraved customs and families food recipes have been passed down through oral tradition, and thus the “Emirati Hospitality: Customs and Traditions” book has managed to document these crucial aspects to demonstrate the essence of original Emirati hospitality and shared it with the rest of the world.

“The Dubai World Hospitality Championship, which was launched under the patronage of Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, has been established to celebrate and preserve our traditions, and at the same time, improve innovation in the hospitality sector,” added Bin Hareb.

“We hope that the book would achieve its goal in documenting the elements of Emirati hospitality through its texts, photographs, and illustrative and informative drawings.”

The collaborative efforts in the hospitality sector in the UAE have made great strides, as the number of chefs and restaurants is increasing and hotels are competing on how best to provide Emirati hospitality. Food enthusiasts have a chance to taste the unique flavours of Emirati cuisine and enjoy the warmth and generosity of Emirati hospitality.

Alia’ Rashed Al Shankiti, Events Manager at DWHC, noted that the book can be a reference on the customs of our ancestors which can keep them alive, particularly because of the rapid changes in the hospitality sector.

Al Shankiti reviewed the contents of the book’s three chapters: Emirati hospitality, Emirati cuisine, and chefs and kitchens.

The modern Emirati family reflects the balance between tradition and modernism, where many local houses now consist of a “mabrez” (Majlis), a reception room equipped with traditional Emirati furniture, where guests can relax and lean on “tickee” (pillows), with chairs and matareh (mattresses).

The book asserts that some customs and traditions exist as before, such as drinking coffee and eating fresh Fuala and desserts at the beginning of each visit. Such customs are considered an essential element for local manners and a permanent symbol of Emirati hospitality. Neighbours, families and friends still exchange dishes and drinks as presents, and rich families still donate food generously to mosques and charities, especially in Ramadan.

Public water coolers are a common sight outside UAE nationals’ homes to slake the thirst of passersby and workers on the street. These practices and others give evidence of the generosity of Emirati hospitality realised in modern everyday life.

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