I’ve flown halfway around the world† and one of my first observations is this: Emiratis love Cheetos. At my first lunch in Dubai, at Parker’s, an American fast food-style burger joint in the Dubai Mall, it was Flamin’ Hots, covered in red dust, sprinkled atop bowls of mac and cheese. At SALT, touted as Dubai’s first Emirati-run food truck, the Cheetos (not Flamin’ Hot, but some other type of spicy variety that we don’t have here) came inside fried chicken burgers and atop one of three fry concoctions — dotted in creamy white labneh (virtually indistinguishable from sour cream n onion dip) over u-shaped french fries.
They’re cut that way to add dipping potential, you see. You can actually fill the U-shaped potato with labneh and fit a Cheeto on top so that you get labneh dip, Cheeto, and fried potato in the same bite. Well designed in that way, but kind of overkill, if we’re being honest (crunchy french fries don’t really need crunchy Cheetos as a garnish). The Flamin’ Hots-over-mac-and-cheese combination, on the other hand, was genius, and in all honesty, probably my new favorite bowl of mac and cheese.