Discover the Amazing Spice Souk of Dubai

Picture this – meandering narrow alleys, warm evenings, cries of marker vendors and an amalgam of fragrances teasing your senses. The image in your mind portrays a market place selling exotic goods. Yes, this is the Dubai spice souk indeed and here you can find as well as purchase fresh herbs and spices for Arab and South Asian cuisines. The slightly smoky and spicy aroma that hangs about this place entices food lovers and tourists to the Dubai spice souk from all around the world. The souk is located in Eastern Dubai or Deira on Sikkat Al Khail Road, in the Al Ras locality.

Also known as the Old Souk, as the name suggests it is the largest and the oldest souk in Dubai city. The spice souk has a number of narrow lanes dotted with open and closed roof spice shops. As you walk along the winding streets, you can see traders as well as shoppers haggling with the shop keepers. Bargaining is an entirely new experience and to watch the “professional hagglers” carrying on is a sight to behold. Since the Dubai spice souk is the oldest one around, it looks more traditional than the others. Once you step into the market, you feel as if you have been transported back in time.

Spice souk is a great place to visit or to feel the old Dubai with all the culture, sounds and smells. Spice souk is located in the Medina part of Deira, next to Dubai Creek. You can even take a dhow cruise to reach it in a more romantic way.

At the spice souk in Dubai, you can see beautiful colours having dozens of different spices. Traditionally, the spices at the Spice souk used to be piled up to form a pyramid-like shape. This way the visitors could enjoy their colour and smell even more. Unfortunately, nowadays it is rare to see these types of stalls at spice souk; with most spices exhibited in plates of various sizes. Here, you can mostly see used spices with which Arabic women make the daily meals. Among the most popular spices in the Arabic kitchen, we can find the saffron, basil, curcuma and all other types of mixtures that only locals know how to use the best. Take your time to smell them. If you are motivated buying some, then you can even enrol in a simple cooking course in Dubai, so you can get to know how to use them.

Deira is one of the old-town parts of Dubai. Dubai is famous for all types of richness, but rather the modern way. Yet Dubai has its traditional part, one of which is Deira. Deira can be found quite easily, located at the mouth or delta of Dubai Creek, where it connects with the Persian Gulf.

Deira used to be the headquarters of the governmental bodies and the royal families for a long time. Afterwards, when Dubai started to grow, all bodies moved toward the Jumeirah, district, today called New Dubai and Deira was forgotten for a while. However, seeing the great touristic power in Deira, the government decided to renovate the old-style quarter to keep it in its traditional form. Although Deira has many modern parts, yet it is the most famous for its traditionally covered labyrinth of souks. There are all types of souks in Deira. Mostly, a souk contains more than one segment. Deira can be called a system with souks of different kinds.

Since the tourist agencies offer packages of visiting different souks such as Gold, Textile or Spice Souk as different programs, tourists do not visit some parts. Of course, those are the best and most authentic sites for you to go through.

The colorful array of spices and their heady aroma is tantalizing. You cannot get over the incredible number of spices that are available. The shops at the Dubai spice souk sell spices like cardamom, cinnamon, saffron, nuts, cloves, henna and lots more. And that’s not all; you will also find basmati rice, incense or joss sticks, shisha and tobacco, seductive perfumes, pottery as well as baskets. As you move on from one shop to another, you will be enveloped by these sensory delights. The spices are brought from the Middle Eastern region as well as from around other parts of the world. You can buy them on wholesale rates and end up saving a lot of money.

Another fascinating sight is watching the wholesaler packing your purchases which were packed and shipped in Hessian pouches. This keeps the spices fresh and aromatic for a long time. Without any doubts, they are spices of the highest quality and reasonably priced at the same time. The world famous Arab dried fruits are also available. Spices and dried fruits make excellent gifts for special occasions. Food lovers can go wild and buy them to experiment authentic Arab cuisines.

The Dubai spice souk is located just next to the gold souk. The best way to get to the souk is to walk towards the windtowers on the Deira side of the creek. The souk is opened from 10 am to 10 pm every day. The best time to visit would be in the evening, because afternoons could get quite warm. In addition to buying spices, you can also visit the shisha stores and enjoy the experience of smoking one. Try out various fragrances and relive the historic splendor of the Middle East.

Next to Dubai Spice Souk, you can also visit the also favourite textile souk and perfume souk, though in the latter one, you can visit only for a reasonable time. The smells are quite strong over there. You can easily reach the Spice souk within a short walk from the Gold Souk bus stations. There are several buses going to these directions, so surely you will find your way to get lost in the world of souks in Dubai.

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