Deira, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
I’m excited to join up again this month with fellow blogger Fiona Ryan's A-Z Guidebook Travel Linkup over at Tiffin Bite Sized Food Adventures. This travel tale link-up goes from September 15th - September 22th, this time travels with the letter "D".
"D" is for Deira, Dubai, UAE.
Specifically the Covered Dubai Spice Souk or the Old Souk, which is a traditional market located in an area of Dubai called Deira - Al Ras. You can get to it via Wooden Water Taxi (Abra) on Dubai Creek, Stop 20, Deira Old Souq. As you get closer to the cooler, darkened, wooden carved entrance the mixed warm enticing aromas of fragrances and spices hits you. As your eyes adjust to the darkness, you are greeted to piles of dried spices, herbs, fruits, flowers, and resins; and eager shop owners encouraging you to check out their many wares.
Store stalls in the Spice Souk sell a wide variety of fragrances, resins, and spices used in Arabic and South Asian food; from Frankincense and Shisha to Salab and Lemon Omani. In addition to herbs and spices; household goods such as textiles, incense, rugs and handicrafts are also sold. In recent years, the number of stores trading spices in the Souk have been reduced due to larger supermarkets.
Overall we had a wonderful time exploring the Souk and came home with a great experience and some lovely spices and resins. I would highly recommend going to visit if you have the chance.
Two things to be aware of:
- Most of the trading occurs through bargaining. Be prepared and don't feel bad about doing it, the only things I would not suggest bargaining about are food and religious materials. For example you know something is worth $5, but the shopkeeper wants $10, you say you'll pay $3. When he says no, you ask him how much...
- He says, "Lowest, $7." You say, "No, $4."
- He says, "No, $7. I have children to feed." You say, "Never mind I'm leaving."
- He says, "Ok, ok how about $6?" You say, "$5 and we have a deal."
- He says, "Ok, $5?" You say, "Thank you." (Making sure to take only that much cash to pay!)
- Know your spices and know your prices!!! One lady thought she was getting a great deal buying a special 'exotic variety of Filipino Saffron' called "Kasubha", in reality she was about to buy a load of fake saffron called safflower. It looks similar when dry in the package, but smells and tastes different and doesn't cost anywhere near the price of real Saffron. In the US, 6 oz of Kasha costs $24; while Real Saffron costs $45 for 1/2 oz!!!