""Follow your nose" to the Spice/Perfume Souq" Top 5 Page for this destination Spice Souq Tip by JessH
Spice Souq, Dubai: 14 reviews and 34 photos
Souq is the Arabic word for Market.
Just adjacent to the Gold Souq, the Spice/Perfume Souq offers a multitude of Arabic fragrances & seasonings, with exotic aromas from cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, vanilla pods & incense, imported from all over the region. The Spice Souq is also known as the "Perfume Souq" or simply "Deira Old Souq".
You've probably had certain ideas about what an exotic Middle-Eastern bazaar ought to look like - Dubai's very own Spice Souq does not disappoint this expectation.
Even after all these years, I still LOVE walking through the narrow passages, sampling with my nose & eyes, vibrant colours, hectic merchants, running delivery men... yes, this truly is one of the few places where time seems to have stood still...
TIP: If you pass by a bakery/restaurant, try a "Zaatar Manakish" - a hot, cheesy bread sprinkled with thyme; delicious! Most of the herbs & spices you find here are far cheaper than in Europe & possess far stronger flavour, such as cinnamon sticks, saffron, vanilla pods & cloves.
--> UPDATE March 2012: I went to the Spice Souk to purchase some ingredients for my cooking & baking... a fair price for 3 vanilla pods (make sure they're moist) is max Dhs 15.-
There are hundreds of shops offering a profusion of heavy, oily scents in the adjacent "Perfume Souq". A little goes a long way! Frankincense and "Buchhur or Oud", the traditional incense that is sprinkled over glowing coals, is widely used by Gulf Arabs in their homes & on their clothes.
TIP: Don't forget to bargain; don't accept the first price & be sure to compare prices in the numerous shops.
Many shops sell small "incense sets" consisting of a miniature Persian carpet, and a small wooden & golden chest containing myrrh and frankincense - the famous gifts the 3 Wise Men brought the Christ Child.
TIP: Women visiting the Souqs should please make sure their legs & shoulders are covered. Dubai is very safe, but the Souks are male-dominated areas where every bit of female skin is gawked at. You may even find that some men will follow "indecently" dressed women around, in the belief that they are prostitutes.
Opening Hours: Sat. to Thur. 10:00am-01:00pm & 05:00pm-10:00pm.
NOTE: The main walkway is open to the elements, only the individual shops have air-conditioning. Therefore, only visit the souks after sunset during the summer.
Address: Next to the Gold Souq, Sikkat al-Khali Street
Directions: I never bother taking a car as parking is extremely scarce. It's best to go by taxi, or go down to the Creek side in Bur Dubai (near Museum) & take an "Abra" (water taxi). The trip takes 5min and costs 1 Dirham.
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