Expo 2020, set to open its doors in less than two months in Dubai, is a ticket to the future – and the food is no exception. Brimming with new technology and an oasis of business and scientific opportunities, the exhibition is set to pay special attention to its eateries, with potential for revolutionary dining experiences. With everything from climate change and food waste challenges to artificial intelligence and the global population influencing how each ingredient is sourced, prepared, cooked, and served, Expo 2020 will bring more to food than sustenance and nutrition.
Here are some creative, pioneering aspects of dining that you can expect Expo 2020 Dubai to introduce to its 191 pavilions.
Futuristic culinary experiences
If there is one place where you would find glow-in-the-dark food, it would be the Expo 2020 Dubai. The Future of Food: Epochal Banquet, a concept cooked up by UK-based multi-sensory experience design studio Bompas & Parr in collaboration with the Expo, will feature numerous world firsts. Expect edible creations that glow in the dark, flavor-changing desserts, and rare ingredients including new-to-the-plate plants. The immersive culinary experience borrows from space, microbiology, and hyper-intelligence, exploring how humans and artificial intelligence sustainably feed a growing global population and tackle food waste, as well as the implications for future nutrition. What’s more, robots, actors, and theatrical performers will provide entertainment, while Talabat will have a cloud kitchen at the exhibition, accompanied by a fleet of riders, delivery robots, and robotic baristas.
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Aiming to take your taste buds on a culinary journey, Expo 2020 is bringing together dishes from every corner of the world. From gourmet dining and haute cuisine by celebrity chefs to family-friendly meals and street food, there will be more than 200 food and beverage outlets to choose from. This includes Alkebulan, one of the first African American fine-dining concepts founded by chef Alexander Smalls and bringing together African chefs from across the world, the Chinese Culture & Cuisine Palace at the Opportunity Pavilion serving Sichuan cuisine with its fiery spiciness and Cantonese cuisine featuring lightly cooked dishes like dim sum. Marjan Faraidooni, Chief Visitor Experience Officer of Expo 2020 said, “It’s universally agreed that one of the best ways to discover a country is by sampling its cuisine, and at Expo 2020, visitors are able to eat their way around the world without leaving the UAE.”
Internationally acclaimed chefs and restaurants
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Speaking of global cuisines, a host of celebrated chefs from across the globe will make an appearance in Dubai for the first time. A burrata bar, brought by internationally-acclaimed Italian restaurant Scarpetta, will be joined by American Gypsy Chef David Myers’s American fast food joint Adrift Burger Bar. Meanwhile, one of the culinary world’s most in-demand chefs, Rohit Ghai, will bring his acclaimed restaurant Kutir from London’s Chelsea, and British concept Bread Ahead, which specializes in doughnuts and gluten-free bread, will bring its Bakery School. Further afield, Kojaki, a fusion concept that melds Japanese and Korean cuisines, will offer signature dishes such as Korean barbecue and Japanese robata.
Household names loved by UAE residents are set to serve up the dishes they are most known for. Think local restaurants such as Arabian Tea House and Al Farwania, Lebanese stalwart Al Reef Bakery, and Hanon Feras Sweets, renowned for its traditional Middle Eastern dessert, kunafa. The six-month spectacle will also feature Pakistani street food go-to Ravi Restaurant, biryani specialist Al Farwania Restaurant, and Sarouja Restaurant & Café, a popular Syrian and Mediterranean spot.
Homegrown and sustainable
As part of Expo 2020’s commitment to food ethics, organic, locally sourced produce and packaging will remain a priority, with sustainable diner options such as Grains & Greens at the Sustainability Pavilion offering salads, wraps, fresh juices, and Kosher food.