Dubai is a vibrant city renowned for its captivating culture, pleasant climate, and luxurious lifestyle that has been luring people worldwide.
This cosmopolitan destination is home to an eclectic mix of cultures and traditions reflected in its diverse culinary scene.
That said, as Dubai follows Islamic laws, visitors need to be aware of any customs relating to food consumption – particularly pork products – before they visit this remarkable city.
Can You Eat Pork in Dubai?
Dubai is a Muslim country, and that much is certain. And Muslims are forbidden to eat pork.
However, no one will be checking your adherence to Islamic law.
Whether a Muslim or non-Muslim chooses to eat something is largely their discretion.
The best supermarkets in Dubai, including Al Maya, Choithrams, Baqer Mohebi, and Philippine Supermarket, all stock pork. However, not all grocery stores carry pork.
A valid business license is required to sell pork in Dubai.
Dubai’s hotels and eateries are no different. Except at a small number of establishments, the hog will be available less frequently than chicken and beef.
Since serving pork to those who aren’t Muslims requires a special permit, this is the case. Excuse me as I break down the reasons.
Any implement that has come into contact with swine saliva, mucous, or meat is forbidden under Islamic law.
A Muslim, for instance, is forbidden from using a plate that has previously been used to consume pork, as it has become impure due to contact with pig DNA.
A Muslim is forbidden from using the plate until he has undergone some purification ritual.
If you want to eat pork in Dubai, your only options are these approved eateries or buying it at a grocery store and preparing it at home.
Due to the risk of contamination, no establishments serving or selling pork can operate.
Stores must dedicate an entire aisle to the storage and presentation of pigs, and restaurants must dedicate specific cooking and serving equipment to the meat.
Availability of Pork Products in Dubai
In Dubai, you can find pork products in limited amounts at supermarkets, specialty food stores, and online retailers.
To abide by government regulations on labeling such items, they must have clear identification to show that it contains pork.
Pork is usually stored separately from other foods, either through a designated section or stored entirely.
Pork Consumption in Non-Muslim Communities
Though pork consumption among non-Muslim communities in Dubai is not publicly stigmatized, and there are specialty stores or online retailers that offer pork products, it’s important to remember the city’s laws and customs.
Respect for those who may not accept this type of food should be considered when purchasing or consuming such items within the community.
Factors Influencing Pork Consumption in Dubai
Pork consumption in Dubai is a complex issue shaped by religious beliefs, government regulations, and cultural norms.
To understand the cultural and legal context surrounding pork in Dubai, it’s crucial to examine the key factors that influence its availability and attitudes towards it.
1. Religious Beliefs and Customs
Due to Islamic beliefs and customs, pork consumption is largely discouraged in Dubai.
As a predominantly Muslim city, the laws of Dubai are influenced by these traditions, which deem the eating of pork unacceptable.
This has created a cultural attitude that views pork consumption as something outside the norm for Muslims in this area.
2. Government Regulations and Laws
In Dubai, government regulations and laws influence people’s attitudes toward pork consumption.
The import of pork products is tightly controlled, and the labeling must meet certain standards set by the government to respect the religious beliefs of Muslims living there.
These rules are designed to ensure that eating pork does not offend or conflict with anyone’s faith.
3. Public Perception and Cultural Norms
In Dubai, public perception and cultural norms affect the consumption of pork.
Although it is accessible to non-Muslim populations, there remains a largely negative attitude towards its consumption due to religious beliefs prohibiting it and the association between pork consumption and non-Muslim communities.
Places Where You Can Find Pork Products
Although pork is forbidden in Muslim culture, foreign nationals living in the UAE are not deprived of it.
While some supermarkets, such as Carrefour, do not sell pork products, there are still plenty of other places to get them.
Pork counters marked with “Pork Section: For Non-Muslims” can be found at various supermarkets and restaurants across Dubai, from which you can buy items such as sausages, loins, ribs, bellies chops, bacon, and more. Popular outlets for purchasing these goods include:
1. Al Maya Supermarket
Al Maya is a supermarket chain located throughout the United Arab Emirates.
Customers can purchase pork products such as canned goods, frozen meats, and processed cuts in their dedicated pork section.
2. Baqer Mohebi Supermarket.
This Dubai shop is renowned for its AED 1 section and budget-friendly chocolates.
It also has a pork area that caters to non-Muslims, providing them with their desired pork items.
Established in 1974, this Indian-owned chain of supermarkets has grown to include 30 branches across the UAE, with 16 located specifically in Dubai. Each branch features a pork section for customers who wish to buy it.
If you’re looking for pork products, Spinney’s is the Supermarket to go to!
They have more than 30 branches in Dubai, and some offer pork-based items, such as those located at Al Furjan, Golden Mile, Bur Dubai, and Villa Mall. Make sure to check if there’s a branch nearby your area!
5. The Philippine Supermarket
A beloved establishment among the Filipino community, this Supermarket on Al Muraqqabat Road is renowned for its pork products as well as other staples of Philippine cuisine, including tocino, longganisa, chicharron, and more. If you’re searching for a taste from home, this is your go-to spot!
6. Waitrose Supermarket
Waitrose, a British-owned chain of supermarkets with limited branches in the city, provides pork products and other delicacies for those who enjoy this type of meat.
The Dubai Mall has one branch on its lower ground floor where you can purchase these items.
7. West Zone Supermarket
The Filipino community in Dubai often visits one particular place for its selection of budget-friendly items, particularly pork products, which Filipinos are known to enjoy.
8. WeMART Asian Market
WeMART is a hypermarket that has recently opened and specializes in Asian cuisine.
It provides customers with fresh, frozen, and cooked meals containing pork products.
9. New Era Supermarket
Located on Murraqqabat Street in Deira, New Era Supermarket is a great place for Filipino shoppers to find all their favorite pork products.
They boast an extensive selection of pork items and provide customers with the convenience of having everything they need under one roof.
Best Restaurants That Serve with Pork in Dubai
1. Belgian Café
Belgian Café in Souk is popular among people who want to drink European craft beers while taking in the breathtaking scenery of Madinat Jumeirah and the Burj Al Arab.
Pork lovers in Dubai will discover various options in Madinat Jumeirah’s restaurants.
It’s the only location in the network to sell lean meat, so that’s something to keep in mind.
2. Brooklyn Bar
The Brooklyn Bar is great for you and your friends to unwind after a long day. Snooker and darts are available at this sports pub.
In Dubai, the pub serves various pork dishes, such as hog fry-ups and pork sandwiches, so that you can get your chops around a certain delicious pig.
3. Crown & Lion
Crown & Lion British bar in Barsha Heights is a must-see for every sports fan (or establishment, given how frequent it is). Screens are strategically placed around the venue, so game days are always popular, and the place is usually bustling, especially on the weekends.
Crown & Lion can also provide your breakfast needs with their traditional slap-up fry and your evening meal demands with their pig dishes.
4. Ernst Biergarten
Ernst Biergarten, a Bavarian-themed brewhouse, is a relatively new addition to Dubai’s nightlife. The combination of live sports and a huge indoor arena makes this a prime location to attract sports lovers.
Ernst Biergarten is a great place to have delicious beer and tasty food. There is a wide variety of foods on the menu, from charcuterie boards to Caesar salads and German sausage, to ensure that even the most ravenous sports fans will find something to eat.
5. Lola Taberna Espanola
Numerous pig delicacies, including paella, patatas bravas, gazpacho, and churros, can be found at the restaurants in Barsha Heights.
While feasting on cured Iberian pig loin, cured Iberian sausage with peppercorn, and plenty of jamón at the vibrant Spanish eatery Lola Taberna Espanola, patrons can take in the venue’s murals and a ceiling full of hanging plants.
Can Restaurants Serve Pork In Dubai?
Pork meals are not forbidden in Dubai. A license from the Department of Food Safety is required for any restaurant to serve pork.
They need a Pig Permit to serve pork dishes on their menu.
Don’t worry about breaking any laws by ordering a pig dish when visiting Dubai.
The Dubai Food Safety Department is very rigorous about bars and restaurants following the rules.
The Dubai Municipality Portal is the place to go for anyone considering opening a restaurant in the city selling pork. These eating establishments also need a pork license for safety reasons.
Can Someone Import Pork In Dubai?
As per Dubai’s Customs and International Trade Law, Dubai Customs will not allow the Import of live pigs.
Before importing pig products or live swine, a prior check with the appropriate authorities is required.
The United Arab Emirates, of course, but also other countries.
During a pandemic, the United Arab Emirates can ban certain imports.
The goal is to save lives and livelihoods by taking appropriate measures.
Keep in mind that there is a significant Muslim culture in this country.
Preparing thoroughly for your trip to Dubai is in your best interest.
To summarize, religious beliefs, government regulations, and cultural norms restrict pork consumption in Dubai. Non-Muslim communities and expatriates can get their hands on some pork products.
However, it is only available to a limited degree and is separate from other food items.
In the culture of Dubai, there exists an association between eating pork with non-Muslims which has created largely negative public opinion toward its consumption.
Although this may be true, we should still observe the city’s laws and respect all members of society regardless of whether they approve of consuming pig meat.
- Shops that Sell Pork in Dubai – Where to Buy Pork in UAE | Dubai OFW – https://dubaiofw.com/where-to-buy-pork-uae/
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- (2021, December 8). Can you eat bacon in Dubai? – Combadi – World Travel Site. Combadi – World Travel Site. https://combadi.com/can-you-eat-bacon-in-dubai/
- (2023, February 7). Can You Eat Pork in Dubai? Why and Why Not – Pride Dubai. Pride Dubai. https://pridedubai.com/can-you-eat-pork-in-dubai-why-and-why-not/