Saffron, mace, nutmeg, herbs, incense, potpourri, dried fruits, dried flowers, nuts, tea, shisha, frankincense, textiles, perfumes, powders of different spices, all this and much more is what you will find at the Dubai Spice Market. Located in Deira, just a few blocks away from the famous Gold Souk, the narrow alleys of the Dubai Spice Souk brim with every kind of spice and herb imaginable. It is across the Al Ras Metro station, just a few minutes walk. The market is almost 50 years old.
The narrow alley and the small stores are loaded with sacks for visitors to engage in line with open and closed-roof stores. Paying cash is the most common way of payment. It is better to wear something appropriate during the trip to the spice souk as the area is a little conservative. The place is a must-included part of the itinerary of tourists. One can purchase a lot of things at the spice market without making a hole in one’s pocket. The trick is to bargain and cut yourself a striking deal.
The staff around the souk is very friendly, welcoming and have a great deal of knowledge of the items sold. They let you take pictures of everything courteously and do not mind if you walk away without purchasing. They like to know from which country you belong and then initiate a conversation about your home country. Many of them will give you a lot of ideas on how to use various spices and their benefits. When I visited the place, they kept telling me ‘do come in, have a look and spend a little.
The marketplace has spices and all other things beautifully displayed, in containers, heaped up one next to the other. The rainbow of colours attracts everyone passing by and you can’t resist but stop and have a look at it. The place is colourful, vibrant and aromatic. It’s a feast to the eyes and you are greeted by a mix of smell as you pass through the traditional spice market in Dubai’s heritage area. Aromatic herbs and spices were presented to me. I was fascinated by a variety of fragrant teas from different parts of the world and ended up buying a few. There are also a wide variety of nuts, oils, saffron and dry fruits. Spices are sold by weight and by packets.
Middle Eastern and Arabic spices catch your attention, do note there is no lack of international cuisines. If you are interested in cooking, you will love this place. Buy spices from the subcontinent and Arabic spices to add more flavour to your recipes. If you can identify the delight an ingredient will add to the recipe before it is cooked, this is the place for you. The shops also offer rare chocolates, some made of camel milk and traditional medicinal products. Cutlery, utensils, chandeliers, pashmina, rugs, artefacts and jewellery can also be found in places like Persia, Italy, Kashmir, Turkey and others.
Fresh stocks arrive every day, from countries like India, Pakistan and Iran. The souk is an attractive place for tourists. Spices can be used to carry home for personal use or to give as souvenirs to friends and family. Dubai Spice Souk is an aromatic experience one will never forget.