One of the things I love most about Dubai is the mix of old and new. You could be driving down Sheikh Zayed Road one minute, surrounded by towering buildings made from glass which glisten in the never ending sunlight. And the next be exploring the souks in Deira, the older part of the city with it's traditional markets and atmosphere. These areas are less frequented by the majority of Dubai's residents because I am sure many believe they're dirty or not safe or any number of other reasons people dream up to avoid adventuring outside their comfort zone.
But I am not one of those. These areas are ripe for exploring and I love the atmosphere in the markets; the hustle and bustle, the chaos, the life that seeps out of each stall and each market trader as he vies for your business promising you the best fish or freshest vegetables in Dubai. It is quite an experience and one that you don't get in Choithrams or Spinneys or any number of the local supermarket chains here.
A few weeks ago we went in search of fresh fish and headed straight for Deira Fish Market, near the Palm Deira Metro Station on the other side of Dubai. Deira Fish Market is a huge, covered market space that sells a ridiculously large range of fresh and dried fish. And next door is a fruit and vegetable market that has a selection to rival any large supermarket. But we went for the fish. As soon as you step out of your car in the municipality parking, the sound of haggling fills the air and so does the smell of large quantities of fresh fish. A word of advice if you don't like the smell of fish this definitely ain't the place for you.
There are rows upon rows of fish stalls with everything from lobster, king prawns and crab, to red mullet, sea bass and shark! They can clean everything for you and chop off heads etc so you don't have to deal with that stuff at home, but be warned, it isn't nicely packaged and clean, it is just de-headed and de-scaled and thrown into a bag, blood and all.
We opted for tuna and got a whole tuna fish weighing in at about 4.5kgs for just 80 AED. That's about £12. Not bad for a whole fish. Note to self, take a coolbox next time so the whole car doesn't smell of fish by the time we get home.