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Visitors to Dubai might see a usual ingredient on menus and supermarket shelves – camel milk! From camel milk chocolates to ice creams to cappuccinos, this dairy product provides a unique flavor and authentic taste. Here is everything you need to know about camel milk.
Historically, camel milk has had the advantage over dairy milk for the people of the Gulf. Unlike cows, which rely upon fields of green grass and winds of cool air, camels are naturally adapted to the desert environment. Therefore, they are a more sustainable choice for dairy farming. It also has certain properties that make it extremely adaptable for use by those living in a hot desert climate. It is high in vitamins and minerals and it has more fat and protein than cow’s milk while having lower cholesterol and less of unhealthy saturated fat. This made it an excellent choice for the wandering Bedouins, who required nutrient dense food to survive the harsh climate.
Of course, it’s difficult to call Dubai harsh now – the city is full of comfort and luxury. Nevertheless, it is still popular for other reasons. The milk can be an alternative for people allergic to cow’s milk. This is because it has a different protein structure and does not contain A1 casein or lactoglobulin. It is also very high in potent immunoglobulins, which help to lessen problems caused by autoimmune disease, allergies, and even autism. And if you suffer from diabetes, the milk of camel is also high in insulin, improving its absorption and making it a suitable option for diabetics.
The taste of this milk can be compared to that of goat’s milk, albeit less pungent. When you first take a sip, you taste a sweetness, but the aftertaste has a slightly salty flavor. These properties of sweet and savory mean that camel milk can be used in plenty of recipes – we particularly like using it in our coffee, where it adds a special and unique richness.
If you’d like to try pure milk of camel, your best bet would be to simply pick up a bottle from a local grocery store. Anyone of the major supermarkets in the UAE is likely to carry it. Our favorite brand is Camelicious, which also allows the opportunity for online purchase. You can get a flavored milk, like chocolate or strawberry. You can also try a camel-milk Laban, which is a fermented milk drink that is popular in the region. The brand also sells camel milk ice cream, which is even creamier than traditional cow’s milk ice cream. Pair the ice cream with a salty-sweet dessert item to take advantage of camel milk’s unique flavor profile. If you’d prefer to get your camel milk in a restaurant, check out the Camel Milk café, in the Dubai Mall souk. There, you’ll coffees, ice creams and milkshakes to suit your taste.
You will find many souvenir shops selling camel milk chocolates (with a long shelf life), often in the actual shape of camels. Camel milk soap also makes a great option for souvenirs. Shops like the Camel Soap Factory take advantage of camel milk’s natural anti-bacterial properties to create luxurious, all natural soaps. Taking a camel milk souvenir back home is a great way to commemorate your trip in a way that’s special to the Gulf. Want to try some camel milk ice cream, join us on our Emirati food tour of Dubai.