anthony bourdain smiling

Following in Anthony Bourdain’s Footsteps

Why, where, and how.

“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.”

How do you even begin to describe Anthony Bourdain? Best-selling author. Celebrity chef. Culinary rockstar. TV personality. Travel documentarian. Globetrotter. Or ‘legend’ if you want to stay succinct. Now, as Focus Features gears up to release Roadrunner – an emotionally charged documentary chronicling his highs and lows – in cinemas across America tomorrow, we’re exploring how Anthony Bourdain fans in Dubai can celebrate his life until we await a worldwide release: a meal at all the restaurants he visited during his 2010 trip to Dubai.

The host of travel and food show No Reservations famously made his way around the city for the 19th episode of season 6, dining on everything from chicken tikka to blanquette of veal cheek. He wasn’t entirely wrong when he described Dubai’s food scene as “extravagant restaurants catering to the rich and super-rich”, but was objective enough to try it all – humble food shacks and celebrity chef institutions included. Here they are at a glance.

Avalanche Café

Time and time again, the carbon footprint of Ski Dubai has come into question, and Bourdain did just that while riding a chairlift before heading to Avalanche Café for a cup of hot cocoa with marshmallows. Located at the midway mark on the slope, this popular pit stop has everything you’d want in a café located amidst a winter wonderland: sweet and savoury crepes, an outdoor terrace boasting views of the slopes, and even an open (albeit artificial) fireplace.

Bait Al Mandi

In search of hearty, comforting Arabic food, Bourdain ended up at the Al Diyafah Street branch of Bait Al Mandi with two young Emiratis in tow, joyfully eating mandi – a meat and rice dish originating in Yemen – with his bare hands. Oh, and if the two men look familiar, it’s because they’re recognisable figures in their own right. Bourdain was hosted by brothers Mohamed and Peyman Parham Al Awadhi, who used to star in their own TV travel series, Peeta Planet.

Bu Qtair

Whoever says Anthony Bourdain put Bu Qtair on the map is mistaken. This beach-shack-turned-seafood-restaurant had people lining up for a table long before he and his film crew arrived. It continues to operate in a humble setting on a first-come, first-served basis despite its location in the shadow of Burj Al Arab. Bourdain, like other diners, sat on a brightly coloured plastic stool in the sand back in 2010 (Bu Qtair got a makeover in 2016), raving about the catch of the day. He dined on grouper fish and fried prawns alongside flaky paratha and a creamy coconut curry.


“You don’t come to Ravi for the décor, you come for the food,” said Bourdain of this beloved Pakistani restaurant that opened the first of its many branches back in 1978. And 11 years later, that statement still stands true. Do as the icon did, and order a portion of mutton curry, chicken tikka, and dal – at the original Satwa outpost, of course.


“What’s more Dubai than a Gordon Ramsay restaurant?” quipped Bourdain as he sampled a selection of quail and mushroom pithivier with confit and celeriac remoulade. The upscale eatery at Hilton Dubai Creek served modern European cuisine and was the first overseas restaurant to be opened by Ramsay, but closed its doors in 2011, replaced by the now-defunct Table 9. Looking to follow in Bourdain’s footsteps? Head to Bread Street Kitchen & Bar and Hell’s Kitchen for a taste of the foul-mouthed chef’s culinary empire.


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Around the World with Eid Al-Fitr

Celebrate the fast, differently

Eid al Fitr and Eid ul Fitr are different spellings of the same Arabic phrase which means “festival of breaking the fast”. “Eid” is the Arabic word for “festival” or “holiday”, and it is used to refer to both Eid ul Fitr and Eid al Adha, another important Islamic holiday that commemorates the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his son, as an act of submission to (PBUH) Allah’s command.

This is a time when Muslims come together to offer prayers, exchange gifts, and share meals with their loved ones. It is also a time to reflect on the values of Islam, such as compassion, generosity, and forgiveness, and to strengthen ties with family, friends, and the community.

Eid’s Global Significance

Eid is one of the most significant and widely celebrated festivals in the world. It is an occasion that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting, and is a time of joy, celebration, and giving thanks. The significance of Eid is not just limited to Muslims; it is also recognised and celebrated by people from different cultures and religions around the world.

The significance of Eid varies across cultures and countries. In some countries, such as Egypt, Eid is celebrated for three days, while in others, such as Turkey, it is celebrated for four days. In some countries, such as Indonesia, Eid is known as “Lebaran” and is celebrated with traditional foods, such as Ketupat and Rendang. In other countries, such as Pakistan, Eid is a time for new clothes, henna designs, and special desserts, such as sheer khurma.

One of the most important aspects of Eid is the act of giving. Muslims are encouraged to donate to charity and to give gifts to friends and family members, especially to children. This act of giving is a way of expressing gratitude for the blessings that one has received throughout the year and is an opportunity to share those blessings with others.

Another important aspect of Eid is the gathering of family and friends. Muslims are encouraged to visit their relatives and loved ones during Eid and to strengthen ties with them. In some countries, such as Saudi Arabia, it is customary to visit the graves of loved ones during Eid and to pray for their souls.

Eid is also a time to forgive and seek forgiveness. Muslims are encouraged to forgive those who have wronged them and to seek forgiveness from those whom they have wronged. This act of forgiveness is a way of purifying one’s soul and starting anew.

UAE Eid Al-Fitr Celebrations

Eid al-Fitr is one of the most significant celebrations in the UAE, marking the end of Ramadan and a month-long fast from sunrise to sunset for Muslims. The festival is celebrated with much joy and enthusiasm, with families and friends coming together to share food, exchange gifts, and greetings, and participate in a range of traditions.

The day typically starts with a special Eid prayer, which is held at mosques and prayer grounds across the country. After the prayer, families often visit each other’s homes or gather in public spaces to enjoy traditional foods such as dates, sweets, and other delicacies. Children are often given money or gifts by their elders, and many families dress up in their finest clothes for the occasion.

In the UAE, there are also many events and activities that take place throughout the Eid al-Fitr period. These include traditional markets, food festivals, and cultural performances, as well as fireworks displays and other outdoor activities. Many shopping malls and other venues also hold special events and promotions during this time.

Overall, Eid al-Fitr is a time of joy and celebration in the UAE, with people of all ages and backgrounds coming together to share in the festivities and express their gratitude for the blessings of the past month.

Eid Celebrations Around the World

Eid al-Fitr is celebrated in various ways around the world, often reflecting the local cultural traditions and customs. Here are some examples:

Indonesia: In Indonesia, Eid al-Fitr is known as Lebaran. The celebrations typically last for one week, during which people visit their relatives and friends, and seek forgiveness from one another. Special food is prepared, including ketupat (a type of rice cake), rendang (spicy meat dish), and opor ayam (chicken in coconut milk).

Egypt: In Egypt, Eid al-Fitr is known as Eid el-Fitr. The celebrations last for three days, during which people wear new clothes and visit family and friends. Special dishes are prepared, including fata (a bread and rice dish), kahk (a type of biscuit), and maamoul (a sweet pastry).

Turkey: In Turkey, Eid al-Fitr is known as Şeker Bayramı (Sugar Festival). The celebrations last for three days, during which people visit their relatives and friends, and give candy or small gifts to children. Special dishes are prepared, including baklava (a sweet pastry) and güllaç (a dessert made from thin layers of pastry soaked in milk).

Malaysia: In Malaysia, Eid al-Fitr is known as Hari Raya Aidilfitri (Celebration Day). The celebrations last for one month, during which people visit their relatives and friends, and seek forgiveness from one another. Special dishes are prepared, including lemang (glutinous rice cooked in bamboo), rendang (spicy meat dish), and ketupat (a type of rice cake).

United States: In the United States, Eid al-Fitr is celebrated by Muslim communities across the country. Many communities hold special prayer services, followed by communal meals and other festivities. In some cities, there are even public celebrations, such as parades and street fairs.

Iceland: In Iceland, Eid al-Fitr celebrations are unique, in part, because the Ramadan fast is performed in a way that is not to be seen anywhere else in the world. Iceland’s midnight sun phenomenon means that during Ramadan many Muslims fast for up to 22 hours a day! Muslims in Iceland do have the choice to break their fast based on the timings of sunrise and sunset from the nearest country, or of Saudi Arabia, however many have iftar when the sun breaks above the Icelandic horizon. So when Eid al-Fitr comes around, the celebrations are magical. The capital city of Reykjavik has a few mosques where the joyous merrymaking takes place and guests come laden with food inspired by Indonesian, Egyptian, and Eritrean cuisines to celebrate this holy day.

Morocco: In Morocco, Eid al-Fitr festivities give center stage to the country’s colourful culinary dishes. Where other countries focus on gift-giving and more commercialised displays of celebrations, Moroccans, after their morning prayers, hold low-key foodie affairs with family and friends. Lamb, couscous, and prunes feature prominently in meals throughout the day, followed by traditional cookies and pastries.

These are just a few examples of how Eid al-Fitr is celebrated around the world. Regardless of the specific customs and traditions, the holiday is a time for joy, forgiveness, and a renewed commitment to one’s faith and community.

Eid is a significant festival that is celebrated around the world by Muslims and non-Muslims alike. It is a time of joy, celebration, and gratitude and is an opportunity to reflect on the values of Islam, such as compassion, generosity, and forgiveness. It is a time to strengthen ties with family, friends, and the community and to express thanks for the blessings that one has received throughout the year.


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