Dubai. Still in my head. The spice souks…oh, what joy to see beauty, colour and fragrance packed in bags and beautifully displayed in aisles and on stall shelves.
Here is a photo ‘summary’ of the delights.
Flowers – a variety
Dried flowers, often used in tea are very common in the spice souks. The bright, vibrant colours are alluring, not to mention the fragrance of the buds and blossoms.
Some flowers I’d seen before – hibiscus – our very own zobo, roses, lavender, chamomile; others were new and enthralling – pamogranate [sic], sunflower, red flower and jasmin.
I wish I’d bought more to candy and play with.
I’m not sure about the flowers below but they resemble bluebird corn flowers, me thinks.
I particularly liked the way the pomengranate flowers looked – a bit of sponge and honeycomb.
Tea & Coffee
I saw lotssss of spices that were new to me.
First up, black limes. These are the product of flash-boiling in salt water and then sun-drying till once-vibrant green limes turn shades of tan and black. The result? All the complexity of preserved citrus – sour, citrusy, aromatic with the tang of fermented products.
And others that were kind of familiar, albeit in a different form.
A blend of 17 spices, I believe is called Baharat, with some identifiable spices (turmeric, paprika, garlic) and many more ‘secret’ ingredients.
Olive leaves, which are apparently good for the body.
Tall cinnamon sticks
Mace, nutmeg’s humble cloak
Dried Fruits & Nuts
Almonds – really small, I’ve forgotten the name os this particular variety :(.
There was a stunning array of dried fruit
Dried white mulberries,
Cranberries, golden raisins, …
Fresh, green, sliced pistachios
Dried figs, strung up/ skewered and whole nuts
Fresh vanilla pods which I considered expensive at $1 each but in the end, I think that’s the ‘going’ rate
Like India, the burning of incense is a big thing in Dubai and the Middle East. Market stalls were full of various sorts – from individual elements
And oils – castor, almond, cress, cumin, etc
And finally, an oddity but found in bags of different sizes – dried shrimp. According to one store owner, they were the perfect snack for evening and weekend drinks, from soda to beer (where permitted).
I had an awesome time. I look forward to visiting other souks, like the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul.
Much love xxx