Meandering narrow alleys, warm evenings, cries of market vendors, and an amalgam of fragrances teasing your senses. The image in your mind portrays a marketplace selling exotic goods. Yes, this is the Dubai spice souq 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 souq from all around the world. The souq is located in Eastern Dubai or Deira on Sikkat Al Khail Road, in the Al Ras locality.
Also known as the Old Souq, as the name suggests it is the largest and the oldest souq in Dubai city. The spice souq 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 shopkeepers. Bargaining is an entirely new experience and to watch the “professional hagglers” carrying on is a sight to behold. Since the Dubai spice souq 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.
The colorful array of spices and their heady aroma are tantalizing. You cannot get over the incredible number of spices that are available. The shops at the Dubai spice souq 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 doubt, 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 with authentic Arab cuisines.
The Dubai spice souq is located just next to the gold souq. The best way to get to the souq is to walk towards the wind towers on the Deira side of the creek. The souq 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.