Thoughts

One of the UAE’s hidden gems: ‘Morattabat’

Doesn’t matter how good the food is in your country, you will always crave eating at a Morattabat (refreshments). Its not only the food, it’s the whole experience from start to end.

Refreshments shops can be found all over the UAE. Although each shop is owned and run by different people (with the exception of a few chains), you would be surprised at the level of consistency that they have when it comes to service/products. There must be thousands of these shops, and they all have almost the same (if not exact) menu.

Refreshment shops are mostly run by Indians, Bengalis or Pakistanis. Trust me, they might look like simple cooks or workers, but they usually own or have shares in these refreshment shops that they work in. They’ll talk to you in Arabic, English, Hindi or Urdu – you just name it! The cashier could be a millionaire, but he will always be wearing the same shirt he wears every day, and carry an aura of humility. You probably need the tip that you give him way more than he does.

Doesn’t matter how much of a beggar you look like, these people know how to treat you like a Sheikh. Starting with the genuine smile to the humble greeting to reading the whole menu to you from memory, you will feel like a king being served by his servants. If you’ve been treated like scum the whole day, there’s no better place to regain your pride other than a Murattabat.

If you’re a frequent Morattabat customer and a shawarma lover, you will know that no matter where in the world you travel, no country matches the Shawarma made at the Mortabbat next to your house. I am not sure what exactly their secret is, but I’ve had Lebanese, Syrian and Turkish shawarmas, but nothing beats the Morattabat Shawarma. They have definitely innovated in the Shawarma field, they even have variations, such as ‘Hassan Matar’.

Next comes there iconic juices. The juices are famous for being named after random things such as ‘Titanic’ or ‘Burj Khalifa’. No one really knows what’s inside these juices, it’s usually a surprise, but you can be rest assured, it will be very tasty.
But if there’s one thing the Morattabat is famous for, it’s the ‘Chai Karak’. Nothing like a cup of Chai Karak to help you ‘digest’ your food. Yes, you may end up in the toilet shortly after finishing that drink, because they use that strong ‘Rainbow’ concentrated milk, but it sure as hell is worth the taste. A famous variation is called ‘Horlex’, but make sure you don’t have any blood pressure or sugar levels problem before drinking that.

Just when you think that a restaurant cannot get any more iconic than that, you get introduced to ‘Parathas’. Parathas are similar to tortilla wraps and are available in many restaurants, but the Morattabat have their own secret paratha recipes. Parathas can be filled with absolutely anything. You can have an Egg paratha, Cheese paratha, Hotdog paratha, Nutella Paratha, Chicken Paratha or even a falafel paratha. The sky is the limit in the paratha world!

Not only is the Morattabat a food haven, but you can eat everything mentioned above – until you drop – for around AED 30. Their food is good and cheap and if you are having hard times, it’s the most economical option to save your money and eat well.

You may get bored of Morattabats, and ask your friends to go somewhere more “higher class”, but that’s because you don’t know what you’re missing until you lose it. Out of everything in the UAE, it’s going to be one of the most things you crave for after you leave.

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