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Food and Drink

Dubai Chefs: Haider Al Assam and Luma Makhlouf

Words by Nathan Irvine

The co-founders of Maiz Tacos and Good Burger talk all things food with EDGAR.

Wife and husband team, Luma Makhlouf and Haider Al Assam are the brains behind the very excellent Maiz Tacos and Good Burger.

Maiz Tacos started as a temporary food truck in Dubai but has since become a welcome staple of the Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT) district. Following its success, Good Burger was born. So it’s fair to say that Makhlouf and Al Assam has the comfort food market cornered in this area of Dubai.

We sat down with the pair to discuss perfecting food, the changing culinary landscape in Dubai and much more.


Good burger double cheeseburger.


Supplied A double cheeseburger from Good Burger.

Carne asada tacos from Maiz Tacos


Supplied Carne asada tacos from Maiz Tacos

What was the first ever dish you made from scratch?

When I moved out of my mom’s house to Dubai twelve years ago I barely cooked a thing. I really missed her phenomenal home cooked food though, which mainly consisted of layers of spice and rice. Her chicken biryani was the first dish I made. I make it quite often now, but better.

Which country has had the biggest impact on your culinary skills?

100 per cent the UAE. Not only did we start our brands here, we learned here and taught ourselves as much as we could about the food and beverage scene. We’ve definitely been inspired by all the amazing growth of our country. 

Dubai is a melting pot of different cultures and tastes – what advantages and challenges does this offer to you?

The fascinating thing is that you always have different people looking to try a new cuisine. This can be a disadvantage because for new trends that it requires a lot of education. In our case with Maiz Tacos, we specialize in very authentic Mexican food. It’s quite different than the traditional Tex-Mex most people are used to. Therefore, we have to continuously work on educating our customers on all of our different types of dishes and flavours.

How has the dining scene changed since you started out?

It has become a bit more flexible. Opening up a pop-up brand is much simpler now – you can even do it from home. Most shops are mainly generating their revenue from deliveries rather from those that dine in, which changes the experience all together.

What are the keys to making the perfect burgers and the tacos?

Firstly, finding the best suppliers in town. We are fortunate in Dubai to be able to get our hands on some of the most amazing meat out there. We created our own blend for our burger patties that really make them stand out. Ingredients should speak for themselves. Same for Maiz Tacos – we use a lot of Mexican vegetables that are imported by our suppliers. Even our corn tortillas are made in-house from scratch with our own sourced corn masa.

What star dish should everyone be able to make?

A decent steak is assumed to be expensive, or only found at the poshest of places. But it can be easily replicated, if not made better, in your own home. It’s such an impressive staple dish that everyone can easily learn how to make.

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