Approximately one-third of Dubai’s population is of South Asian origin—the ties between the United Arab Emirates and India and Pakistan date back to the 19th century, when the Emirates (then known as the Trucial States) were administered by the British Raj. Indian immigrants started coming to Dubai in larger numbers in the 1960s. From its historic role as a city connecting the Middle East and India, to the skyscrapers of today, South Asian immigrants have been central to Dubai’s history. One of their most popular contributions to Dubai’s culture has been the spicy curries and the variety of breads that are characteristic of South Asian cuisine. The streets of the neighborhoods Deira and Satwa, in Old Dubai, are lined with Indian and Pakistani restaurants like Ravi where diners can enjoy a delicious meal al fresco on one of Dubai’s warm evenings.
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