At mealtimes, guests may be invited to join in the traditional mansaf of whole lamb and spiced rice. The meal is laid out on trays and people help themselves from the trays. Arabic coffee, known as ghawah, is served after the meal. Reception rooms where meals are eaten are known as majlis. Majlis is reserved for celebrating special occasions or entertaining important guests. These rooms are spacious, and decorated with carpets and cushions.
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.