From Japan to Dubai: The Rise of Shiso Leaves in UAE Cuisine
The culinary landscape of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a vibrant mosaic of flavors, shaped by a myriad of cultural influences from around the world. Among the diverse array of ingredients making their mark on Emirati plates, shiso leaves have emerged as a particularly intriguing addition. Originating from Japan, these aromatic leaves have found a new home in the bustling kitchens of Dubai, adding depth and complexity to the city's culinary scene. In this article, we embark on a journey tracing the evolution of shiso leaves from their Asian origins to their integration into UAE cuisine, exploring their cultural significance, culinary versatility, and growing popularity among chefs and food enthusiasts alike.
The Origins of Shiso Leaves

Shiso, scientifically known as Perilla frutescens, is a herbaceous plant native to East Asia, particularly Japan, China, and Korea. Belonging to the mint family, shiso leaves are characterized by their distinct aroma and flavor profile, which is often described as a combination of mint, basil, and anise. In Japanese cuisine, shiso leaves have been a staple ingredient for centuries, valued for their culinary versatility and medicinal properties. Traditionally used as a garnish, flavoring agent, or wrapping for sushi and sashimi, shiso leaves hold a revered place in Japanese culinary tradition.
The Journey to Dubai
The globalization of food culture has paved the way for the spread of exotic ingredients to far-flung corners of the globe, and Dubai is no exception. With its cosmopolitan population and thriving dining scene, Dubai has become a melting pot of culinary traditions, where ingredients from around the world converge to create innovative and eclectic dishes. The introduction of shiso leaves to Dubai's culinary landscape can be attributed to the city's openness to culinary experimentation and its embrace of international flavors. As chefs in Dubai seek to push the boundaries of gastronomy and offer diners new and exciting culinary experiences, shiso leaves have found a receptive audience eager to explore their unique taste and aroma.
Cultural Exchange Through Food

The adoption of shiso leaves in UAE cuisine represents more than just a culinary trend; it is a reflection of the cultural exchange taking place in Dubai and beyond. As residents and visitors to the city seek out new and exciting dining experiences, they are increasingly exposed to ingredients and flavors from around the world. Shiso leaves serve as a bridge between Japanese culinary traditions and the evolving palate of Dubai's diners, fostering a greater appreciation for global gastronomy and celebrating the rich diversity of food cultures that converge in the UAE.
Where to Find Shiso Leaves in Dubai

You can find shiso leaves readily available for purchase in the Greeneration catalog. Whether you're an aspiring home cook or a seasoned chef looking to elevate your culinary creations, Greeneration offers a convenient source for obtaining fresh and dried shiso leaves. With our commitment to providing top-notch ingredients, Greeneration ensures that you have access to premium-quality shiso leaves to enhance your dishes with their aromatic flavor profile.
The rise of shiso leaves in UAE cuisine is a testament to the dynamic nature of Dubai's culinary scene and its openness to culinary experimentation. From their origins in Japan to their integration into Emirati dishes, shiso leaves have become a symbol of cultural exchange and gastronomic innovation in the UAE. Whether enjoyed as a garnish, seasoning, or main ingredient, shiso leaves add a burst of flavor and freshness to any dish, enriching the culinary landscape of Dubai and delighting food enthusiasts around the world. As Dubai continues to evolve as a global culinary destination, shiso leaves are sure to remain a beloved ingredient, inspiring chefs and diners alike with their unique taste and aroma.