UAE’s ‘New National Dish’ exhibition offers a taste of the future

The exhibition is on show in Dubai on Jan. 24 and 25. (Supplied)
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Updated 22 January 2020

UAE’s ‘New National Dish’ exhibition offers a taste of the future

  • The show presents four imagined proposals for a new Emirati national dish, based on the environmental, economic and social impacts of climate change

DUBAI: Future food scenarios are imagined in “New National Dish: UAE,” an exhibition at AlSerkal Avenue in Dubai open January 24 and 25.

The show presents four imagined proposals for a new Emirati national dish, based on the environmental, economic and social impacts of climate change.

Zac Denfeld, director of the Center for Genomic Gastronomy — the artist-led think tank behind the show, which has previously examined the biotechnologies and biodiversity of human food systems in Ireland — spoke to Arab News about the exhibition, which follows similar shows in Poland and Norway.

“We do some research and look at the way food might change, and then propose a new national dish,” Denfeld, who is currently based in Norway, said. “The UAE has a strong desire for food security and there are many scientific projects happening here, (including) indoor growing, vertical growing using somewhat salty water.”




Visitors to the exhibition will get to try the food and discuss the future of popular dishes. (Supplied)

For the Dubai show, produced by AlSerkal, Denfeld and his colleagues concentrated on identifying Emirati food for which most of the ingredients are grown in the country.

“We are also considering the changing preferences for the eaters; what they are going to want in the future,” Denfeld explained. For example, the team imagined and created a new kind of sushi, replacing the fish meat with watermelon prepared with a seaweed machine to make the fruit taste and feel like fish.

“That’s also combined over rice, like sushi, because the UAE is now working with China to develop a rice that can grow in the salty conditions,” Denfeld said. “So, this is a way of combining a future where rice is actually grown (in the Emirates) — which has never been done — and an alternative approach to fish, where we might eat a little bit less fish or only have the (selected) parts.”

Visitors to the exhibition will get to try the food and discuss the future of popular dishes. “That’s really interesting for us,” said Denfield. “Because we are not really saying, ‘Okay, this is the future. This is what you should do.’ We are giving four very different perspectives, and people can choose what their favorite is.” 


Fast food fashion: Saudi designer Arwa Al-Banawi collaborates with KFC

The Saudi designer teamed up with fast food chain KFC. (Instagram/@holgamaniac)
Updated 27 February 2020

Fast food fashion: Saudi designer Arwa Al-Banawi collaborates with KFC

DUBAI: Fashion’s fixation with food is no secret. In recent years, we’ve seen a number of brands cook up edible-themed accessories, including McDonalds cups crafted into shoulder bags from Moschino and lait de coco clutches by Chanel. Meanwhile, other designers took it a step further by joining forces with popular eateries, such as Alber Elbaz for Ladurée.

Now the latest designer to team up with a restaurant is Saudi contemporary womenswear designer Arwa Al-Banawi, who recently collaborated with fast food fried chicken joint, KFC.

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 The Jeddah-born creative teamed up with the popular fast food chain on an exclusive streetwear capsule collection that will boast gender-neutral pieces for famous fans of the label— that includes the likes of Jayden Smith and Elisa Sednaoui— to eat up.

Although the designer has kept the collaboration under wraps for now, fans can probably expect signature tailored suits with KFC-inspired prints or hoodies emblazoned with the emblematic Colonel Sanders portrait to satiate wardrobes throughout the season.

While the capsule collection will most likely not have the drive-through price tag, it’s bound to sell like hot cakes when it hits shelves soon.

The unexpected partnership is the latest in a string of collaborations for the contemporary Dubai Design District-based label. In the past, the womenswear designer has teamed up with Pepsi, Adidas Originals and Levi’s.