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September 24, 2017

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Camel burger is main dish at Dubai eatery

The restaurant also offers a camel curry dish, grilled camel ribs and the camel special, which is cooked in oyster sauce. Camel sausage, bacon and pizza are in the works, Ramesh says.

"Camelicious" brand camel milk, milk chocolates and milkshakes made with camel milk are some of the other offerings.

Local House customers described their first taste of camel meat as positive.

"Excellent," says Anna, a 38-year-old Canadian who tried the camel soup after hearing about the restaurant and happened upon it during her vacation to Dubai. "I wanted something of the region, something unique," she says.

Alanen, a 60-year-old from Finland visiting Dubai with his wife, described the camel burger as "good."

He tried it because "my friends say that this place is the only place where we can eat a camel burger."

Karine, 39, a French national living in the UAE, says that she tried the camel biryani and the camel special "because I lived here for four years now, and I thought it would be interesting to know how a camel tastes."

"It was nice," she says with a laugh. "The texture is like mutton, a bit... without the strong taste of the mutton," but "it's a bit hard."

Out of all the restaurant's camel-based offerings, the camel burger is king.

"The most popular is the burger, and (then) the camel special, then comes the steak," Ramesh says.

The burger comes with onions, tomatoes, cheese, mayonnaise and ketchup, sandwiched between two pieces of khameer, a thin, round bread topped with sesame seeds.

The meat is similar in texture to beef, but a bit tougher. It has a slightly smoky flavour with a tangy aftertaste, but its taste is mostly obscured by the ketchup-mayonnaise mix. Camel meat, Ramesh says, generally has a sweet taste.

The burger costs 35 dirhams (about nine U.S. dollars), while other dishes range in price between 20 and 72 dirhams (about six and 20 U.S. dollars).

Local House, in the Bur Dubai area, is housed in a drab-brown building that would be fairly nondescript, were it not for the exterior decorations.

In addition to the "yummy camel burger" sign, a poster shows a cartoon Emirati man holding the reins of a camel that is clutching a burger in its teeth.

There is currently only one branch of the restaurant, but Ramesh says there are plans to expand to other emirates in the UAE, and also to open a branch in Dubai's Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building.

Opening branches in other Gulf countries is also a possibility, he says.

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