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Last updated : Nov 2009
UAE Social Profile
UAE Culture and Social Profile - TravelPuppy.com
Food and Drink

Arab cuisine specialties include hoummus (chickpea and sesame paste), tabbouleh (bulghur wheat with mint and parsley), ghuzi (roast lamb with rice and nuts), warak enab (stuffed vine leaves) and koussa mashi (stuffed courgettes). Makbous (spicy lamb with rice) and seafood with spicy rice are also popular. Fruits and vegetables are widely available as is excellent local fish. Hotels serve European and Arab food and there many Chinese, Indian and other restaurants. Frozen foods from all over the world can be found in supermarkets.

With the exception of Sharjah emirate, the consumption of alcohol by non-Muslims is allowed. It is illegal to drink alcohol in public or buy it for a UAE citizen. Ayran, a refreshing yogurt drink or strong black coffee is served on many occasions.

Nightlife

There are many nightclubs in the major centers. Entertainment ranges from Arabic singers and dancers to international pop stars. Bars can be found in all top hotels and range from upscale cocktail lounges to English-style pubs. Some hotels have discos. Traditional dances are performed on public holidays and most large towns have cinemas showing English language films.

Shopping

Customs duties are low and luxury items are cheaper than in most other countries. The Dubai duty-free shop is one of the least expensive in the world. Souks sell traditional leather goods, gold, brass and silverware.

Shopping hours: 09:00-21:00 seven days a week. On Fridays shops close for prayers from 11:30-13:30.

Special Events

The following is a list of major festivals and other special events celebrated in the United Arab Emirates during 2005:
January Dubai Marathon
Jan 15-Feb 15 Dubai Shopping Festival
Feb. - Mar Dubai Tennis Open
March Dubai Desert Classic (golf tournament)
March Emirates World Series: Dubai Cup (horse race)
June UAE National Sailing Championships, Dubai
June-Aug Dubai Summer Surprises (shopping festival)
December National Day Festival
December Dubai Rugby Sevens
Social Conventions

Muslim laws should be observed. Men should dress formally and women are expected to dress modestly for most occasions. Smoking is the same as in Europe and in most cases it is obvious where not to smoke. During Ramadan it is illegal to eat, drink or smoke in public.

Tipping

Most hotels, restaurants and clubs add service charges to the bill and tipping is not necessary. Taxi drivers do not expect to be tipped.