I had myself a little weekend indulgence at the first Dubai Food Carnival, which is held together with other food festivals in Dubai under the umbrella of the new Dubai Food Festival.
I was mainly looking for independent restaurants from which to sample, but most of the places were still very hotel/chain-ish. We seriously need a "Taste of Karama" food festival or something. Anyway, I found a couple of such places, including the seemingly all-female burger place called She Burger. Theirs is a seriously good burger; the bun has a soft and non-crumbly texture, the patty is generous and succulent, and the cheese they use rounds it off really well.
I also liked the chicken mashwi from Barjeel, an Emirati food place. The chicken was just falling off the bone, and the rice was cooked with hearty lentils and a rich spice mixture.
Holland House's fluffy and moist mini-pancakes, drizzled with chocolate sauce and honey, made for a sweet finale. Apart from these, I also dipped into some of the samples that many food manufacturers and startups had lain out.
The carnival, located next to the Dubai Festival City mall, and run over two days, naturally included a lot of entertainment; a massive 360-degree stage for variety show performances dominated its center, while live music was performed in the licensed section at the back. There were also a few live chef demos and cooking contests to attend, although I was disappointed when the Beat the Heat pepper-eating contest was moved ahead by half an hour, causing me to miss it. I would have also liked there to be cooking contests open to more demographic segments than just dads or kids i.e. to me.