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  • Apr 27th, 2011

The Old Souk

Star Anise and Cinnamon

I have just returned from a few days in the Gulf, more specifically Dubai. A city with a reputation for it’s bold, innovative approach to architecture and infastructure. Resulting in wonders such as the worlds tallest building the Burj Khalifa and one the worlds most luxurious hotels the Burj al Arab a spectacular sail shaped structure which has become one of the most iconic symbols of Dubai.

Dhow on Dubai Creek

However I wanted to go beyond all the glitz and glamour and discover my rather romantic vision of Arabia. A land of towering sandunes, green oasis with date palms, camel trains and nomadic tribes. Sadly I think this world has gone but I did discover some more Arabian elements to the city. In Deira traditional dhows still line the creek wharf (dhows are Arab sailing vessels which are used to transport goods along the Arabian Peninsula, to Pakistan,India and East Africa). All kinds of goods are loaded on and off these rather ramshackle looking boats. It is close to the creek that you’ll find the Old Souk. As you enter the Spice Souk you can breathe in the scents of Arabia and the East. In the crisscross of narrow alleyways an array of herbs and spices are piled high outside the tiny shopfronts. A real assault on the senses. Cinnamon, Saffron, Hibiscus, Star Anise, Turmeric, Chillies, Frankincense and many more. Everything you could possibly need for culinary, cosmetic or medicinal purposes.

Camomile

Hibiscus

Safflower

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