Episode two: Dubai

After leaving the less-than-sunny shores of the UK I was hit with the heat of Dubai. I have passed through here on many an occasion but haven't ever really stopped to see the sights so I was excited about this destination.

I was amazed to discover the diversity and selection of different cuisines on offer in a place that is essentially in the middle of nowhere (meaning 90 per cent of produce is imported).

Dubai is known for its luxury and opulence but there is also a wonderful world of centuries-old recipes and food culture. I tried to experience both sides of this culinary coin.


On the luxury side, I was lucky enough to be allowed to cook in Atmosphere restaurant, the highest restaurant in the world at 411m from the ground on the 122nd floor of the Burj Khalifa (the world's tallest building). To be honest I was a little nervous cooking in this kitchen and for the locals but was pleased when told I was not using enough truffle and I could add more. This will always make a chef happy.

On the traditional side I cooked Iraqi masgouf, a beautiful fish cooked on a fire pit and served with flatbread. I also tried my hand at making knafeh, it may sound odd putting cheese and sugar together but it was delicious.

Of course a trip to Dubai wouldn't be complete without a wander around the spice souk and a day trip to the desert, both of which didn't disappoint. If I hadn't have been travelling on and had limited space in my case, I would have bought a selection of spices home. The desert was an interesting experience, again being able to cook out there and watching the sunset was beautiful.

As with London, I wish I had more time to eat more of the amazing cuisines on offer.

Watch more of me in Dubai on Around The World With Manu Feildel, 8.30pm Saturday, TVNZ 1.