Visitors can explore Africa’s rich and diverse culture via food, music and design
Seven acclaimed chefs, led by curator Alexander Smalls, bring concept to life
Dining hall will celebrate the variety and potential of the continent’s cuisines
DUBAI, 18 August 2021 – African dining hall Alkebulan will make its debut at Expo 2020, showcasing African food and culture through a colourful culinary lens. Capturing the essence of Africa, it transports visitors on a journey into the continent’s cultural diversities and gastronomy scenes, bringing together people, communities and nations.
Alkebulan (pronounced al-kee-boulan) – the oldest name for Africa and translating to ‘Mother of Mankind’ or ‘Garden of Eden’ – is a culinary concept curated by award-winning chef Alexander Smalls, a classically trained opera singer-turned-restauranteur. The dining hall is a celebration of African cuisine, designed as a showcase of contemporary African food and music from across the continent. Each counter and concept has its own unique design that honours the individuality of the region, cuisine and chef.
Chef Alexander Smalls, Curator, Alkebulan, said: “African food is as diverse as the continent’s countries and communities, yet it is still under-represented in the world. Bringing a piece of Africa to Expo 2020 is not only a dream come true, but also an opportunity to showcase the rich diversity that makes African cuisine unique from region to region. Food and music are both instrumental to our culture, and Alkebulan is a place that marries the two, welcoming visitors from around the world to be immersed in our flavours and traditions.”
Marjan Faraidooni, Chief Experience Officer, Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “Food brings people and communities together – at a time when we need it most. In the spirit of Expo 2020’s theme, ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’, we have invited countries from around the world to showcase their national dishes, giving visitors the chance to taste traditional and specialised food from around the globe in a safe environment. We are very excited to welcome the African continent to Expo, and for our visitors to sample new flavours and concepts – the likes of which have yet to be seen in the UAE.”
Offering a delicious odyssey of flavours and experiences, Alkebulan will give diners the chance to experience gourmet dishes, street bites and fusion fare, all in one destination. The food hall hosts 10 counters, with each providing a different menu:
Afro Street Eatery, by Coco, delivers rich aromatic flavours of West African street food, with dishes such as Ugandan-style miniature chapatti wrap filled with beef or vegetable curry
- Bar Cane, also by Coco, satisfies sweet cravings, serving what could well be the world’s finest doughnuts, washed down with dessert cocktails
- Chicken Coop, by Alexander Smalls, celebrates the humble chicken in two of its best forms: rotisserie and fried. The triple-fried Tunisian baharat chicken, paired with a thick, custardy Belgian waffle, is not to be missed
- Choma BBQ, another Coco creation, is inspired by the art of roasting, grilling and smoking meats, with a menu that includes the not-to-be-missed Zanzibari spiced rice and lamb, served with kachumbari salad, as well as Kenyan style beef skewers served with roasted green bananas
- Jiko Cocktails, by Tribe Hotel Kenya, brings the flavours and spirits of Africa together through shaken, stirred, muddled and strained cocktails created by talented bartender Kelvin Thaiya.
- Penja, by award-winning pop-up chefs Pierre Siewe, Glory Kabe and Moos Gbane, promises innovative African cuisine and a world-class culinary experience from Cameroon and Benin, featuring dishes such as farm cockerel breaded with mustard and tapioca, tandoori vegetal mayonnaise fermented cassava semolina
- Seven Seafood, by trailblazing chef Kiran Jethwa, offers a contemporary look at East African seafood using ingredients, flavours and combinations from the region to take traditional cuisine Kenyan Cuisine into the modern world
- Shoebox Bakery, by Mame Sow, offers the ultimate pan-African bakery experience, spanning both sweet and savoury items, including Ethiopian injera flat bread
- Sweet Ophelia’s, also by Smalls, is an Afro-Asian wok bar that serves tasty rice, noodle and dumpling dishes, including West African favourite Cameroonian pepper fish
- The Tasty Goat, from Jethwa, showcases nose-to-tail dining of this fantastic and versatile meat, combined with the tastes, textures and ﬂavours of modern East African cuisine
At Expo 2020, countries from around the world will showcase their national dishes, giving visitors the opportunity to taste traditional and specialised cuisines from more than 200 different outlets.
One of the first global mega-events to take place since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Expo 2020 invites visitors from around the planet to join the making of a new world in a six-month celebration of human creativity, innovation, progress and culture, running from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022.
About Expo 2020 Dubai
From 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022, Expo 2020 Dubai will welcome visitors from every corner of the globe to join the making of a new world, as it brings together the planet in one place to reimagine tomorrow.
- With the purpose of ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’, Expo 2020 will be the world’s most impactful global incubator for new ideas, catalysing an exchange of new perspectives and inspiring action to deliver real-life solutions to real-world challenges
- Expo 2020 will be the biggest cultural gathering in the world, presenting a visually striking and emotionally inspiring 182 days, as more than 200 participants – including nations, multilateral organisations, businesses, and educational institutions, as well as millions of visitors – create the largest and most diverse World Expo ever
- Expo 2020’s sub-themes of Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability will inspire visitors to preserve and protect our planet, explore new frontiers and build a better future for everyone
- For six months, Expo 2020 will be a must-visit family destination, with thousands of events, amazing exploratory experiences, and free entry for children up to age 18
- Expo is committed to building a more equitable and just world for everyone, while keeping visitors safe by following the latest guidance of the world’s leading medical, science and health experts
- Expo 2020 is the first World Expo to take place in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, located on a 4.38 sqkm site adjacent to Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai South
- Built with a meaningful and measurable long-term legacy in mind, the Expo site will transform into District 2020 – a model global community that will rethink the cities of the future – after Expo 2020 closes its doors
How to cover Expo 2020 Dubai in person at event time or report on the event remotely
To attend Expo 2020 or cover Expo 2020 remotely using content and assets generated by Expo, you must be accredited.
To kick off your journey with Expo 2020, please ensure that you:
- Register to access our Media Information System, Tawassul at https://media.expo2020dubai.com.
Tawassul is regularly updated, providing the latest content assets, including press releases, photographs, audio and video, the electronic media kit, and information on broadcast and photography operations. It also provides you with important information and updates on facilities and services such as media accreditation, visa information for international accredited media, and permits. Access to other media-related systems (Media Asset Management System and Media Bookings System), which will be launched in Q2 2021, will only be permitted to accredited media (see below). Information about these systems can be found on Tawassul.
- Once registered, submit an Expo 2020 Media Accreditation expression of interest.
Within this expression of interest, please appoint an Accreditation Liaison Officer (ALO) from within your organisation who will act as the single point of contact with Expo 2020 for media accreditation. Following this, approved media organisations will be provided login details and instructions for the accreditation system to enable them to submit applications.
For support, contact Expo 2020 Dubai’s Media Services team at firstname.lastname@example.org or +971 (0)56 689 2101.
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About World Expos
In 1851 the Crystal Palace was the centrepiece of London’s Great Exhibition – the first World Expo. It celebrated the man-made industrial wonders of a rapidly changing world. Architecture, contents and a theme, ‘Industry of All Nations’, were combined to create a big idea of nations meeting nations in shared technological and commercial progress. In more recent years, participants in World Expos, including governments, international organisations and companies, have gathered to find solutions to universal challenges and to promote their achievements, products, ideas, innovations, their national brand, and their nations as destinations for tourism, trade and investment.
World Expos are held under the auspices of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), the intergovernmental organisation responsible for overseeing and regulating international exhibitions (‘Expos’) and for fostering their core values of Education, Innovation and Cooperation. Today, four types of Expos are organised under the BIE’s auspices: World Expos, Specialised Expos, Horticultural Expos and the Triennale di Milano.
For media enquiries, please contact:
On call contact
Tel: +971 56 688 9509
P.O. Box 2020, Dubai, UAE