Dubai Expo 2020: Africa in the mouth at Alkebulan

At Expo 2020 Dubai, countries around the world showcase their national dishes, giving visitors the opportunity to sample traditional and specialty cuisines at over 200 different outlets.

African cuisine is in the spotlight in a hall specially dedicated to it. Its name: Alkebulan. Alkebulan is the oldest known name for Africa, meaning “Mother of Mankind” or “Garden of Eden”. The food hall contains 11 counters and concepts in total, from Afro Street Eatery to The Tasty Goat, showcasing some of the food and cocktails of all kinds, such as Ugandan chapatti filled with vegetable curry, Tunisian triple fried baharat chicken, Light and chewy Ethiopian flatbread injera or the spicy Cameroonian peppery fish.

Award-winning chef Alexander Smalls wants to showcase this richness and culinary diversity. Over the past three decades, this opera singer-turned-restaurateur has been on a journey, studying the culinary techniques and dishes of the African diaspora around the world. Her knowledge, as well as recipes from her childhood, can be found in her three cookbooks “Grace the Table”, “Between Harlem and Heaven” and “Meals, Music and Muses: Recipes from My African American Kitchen” – and now, its discoveries can also be tasted in Dubai, at Alkebulan.

Alkebulan is the first food hall entirely dedicated to Africa, at Expo 2020 Dubai.

African cuisine is as diverse as the countries and communities of the continent, and yet it is still under-represented globally.“says Alexander Smalls.”Bringing a piece of Africa to Expo 2020 is an opportunity to showcase the rich diversity that makes African cuisine unique from one region to another. Food and music are two essential parts of our culture, and Alkebulan is a place that marries the two, welcoming visitors from all over the world to soak up our flavors and traditions.

He presents us with one of his favorite dishes: fried oxtail rice, which illustrates the history and diversity of African cuisine. Kenyan green beans and collard greens are mixed with bean sprouts and seasoned with garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, curry spices and red chili in a mixture of black rice and braised oxtail.

For me, it’s the Afro-Asian influence, which comes from the slaves who were in China in the 1500s.“, he explains. “Oxtail fried rice is one of those foods that feels good. You just take what’s in the fridge and make something wonderful out of it.. “

The Alkebulan Food Hall is open to everyone from 10 a.m. to midnight from Saturday to Wednesday, and from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. on Thursday and Friday.

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