Dubai’s spice souk is one of the most characteristic and interesting places in the city. It is a covered market consisting of narrow streets lined with numerous small shops selling all kinds of herbs and spices, often presented inside large open sacks.
The air inside Dubai’s spice souk is impregnated with strong, pungent smells emanating from the numerous sacks full of colourful spices such as cinnamon, turmeric, cumin, chillies of all degrees of piquancy and dried fruits of all kinds: walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds and dates are the stars, but there are also figs, apricots and other dehydrated fruits.
Supplies of goods arrive daily, transported by dhows (typical cargo boats) from neighbouring countries such as Iran, India or Pakistan.
Some locals consider Dubai’s spice souk a great place for tourists to visit, but they would never buy spices here: the prices are definitely inflated and the souk experience, with very pushy sellers and initial prices high to the hilt to allow for a long and nerve-wracking negotiation, may not be ideal for those just looking to buy some spices. The city’s supermarkets are a better alternative: prices are lower and quality is assured, as is the breadth of choice.
Practically every shopping mall in Dubai, and there are many in the city, has a supermarket inside. The advice is therefore to definitely visit the spice souk, but only to take some great pictures and to immerse yourself in the unique atmosphere.
Beware of saffron: its price can be extremely high, but the quality of the product does not always justify it. It is better to be accompanied by an expert for purchases of this kind, or to rely on the bagged products in supermarkets, some of which are also of very high quality.
Dubai’s spice souk is located in the Deira district, near the Deira Old souk abra station, and a few dozen metres from the gold souk. The nearest metro stop is Al Ras, located less than 200 metres away and part of the green line. Alternatively, those arriving from the red line can get off at Union stop number 18 and from there proceed by one of the many buses that stop right in front of the metro stop.
Still using the red metro line, a picturesque way to reach Dubai’s spice souk is by crossing the Creek on board an abra, the typical wooden boat used since the beginning of the city’s history: to do this, one has to get off at stop number 19 Bur Juman and walk to the Creek on the Bur Dubai side.
The crossing of the Creek takes less than a minute and allows you to admire this part of the city from a truly unique vantage point.
The Dubai Spice Souk is open every day of the week, from 10am to 10pm with closing from 1pm to 4pm, except on Fridays, a Muslim holiday, when the market only opens in the afternoon from 4pm to 10pm.
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