The brilliant spice displays in old and new souks across the UAE don’t just speak to the country’s long history of trade and commerce within the region and beyond but also to the countless influences that have organically woven themselves into the Emirati cultural tapestry. Those that offer a critique of Dubai as a concrete jungle need only step onto the traditional wooden Abra boats lining up the creek of Old Dubai and take a trip to the Spice Souk. An immersive experience triggers all senses as you are instantly transported to the Dubai of an earlier era. Rows after rows of artfully exhibited spices in a dizzying array of colours and scents can be found in Deira’s Spice Souk of Sharjah’s Souk Al Bahar — it is no wonder that tourists seek spice markets as a top sightseeing (and shopping) destination. But spices aren’t just limited to traditional spaces. Contemporary places like The Global Village and many shopping complexes have dedicated areas selling a wide array of fresh spices, offering a beautiful juxtaposition that traditional flavours will continue adding spice to the more modern developments that the nation has to offer.
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