Before meals a mezze, or appetizer, is served. The most famous mezze dish is hummus, a puree of spices and chickpeas. Another popular dish is tabbouleh, a salad of cracked wheat and parsley with tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and olive oil. Vine leaves stuffed with rice are also widely enjoyed.
Every imaginable spice can be found in the spice streets known as atarinehs of UAE's markets. Spices are sold in paper cones called dukkahs. One of the most popular mixtures is made up of cinnamon, cayenne pepper and paprika. Other popular ingredients in Emirati cuisine include sesame oil, pine nuts, walnuts, almonds and parsley.