A visit to the Dubai Fish Markets requires an early morning start. The alarm went off at 3.30am and I was picked up at 4am, then met up with the others down at The Creek just before 5am.
The reason for the early rise was so that we could be at the fish auction before it finished at 6am. The reason for the trip to the Fish Market was a suggestion from a kindred spirit – @susann_johnston to join up with an #unseentrails tour that is for both foodies and photographers.
What was great about the tour was that we could pretty much insert ourselves into any situation. The fishermen were great company – laughing, posing and probably happy to have a bit of a distraction from the early morning fish bartering.
Over at the creek the fishermen were waiting for the boats to come in, and because no boats were coming they became our models. “Smoke more” we said, and “sit a little higher and look to the left”. We were Annie Leibovitz and they were the next Nobel Prizes winners posing for their magazine feature.
Back to the fish markets for a look around the undercover fish selling area. Tuna and a variety of shellfish are on sales as well as local fish options such as shari (pink ear emperor), faskar (two-bar seabream), and jesh (yellow bar angelfish).
And then into the filleting room. As long as we didn’t get in the way of the machetes in the filleting room we were fine to wander around.
And we certaintly didn’t go hungry. Our menu for the morning started with Karak chai (black tea with evaporated milk and sugar) and anda parotta cheese (layered white flour flatbread called parotta with eggs and/or cheese and sauce). At the vegetable souk we drank from coconuts.
There is a large vegetable, meat and spice souk adjacent to the fish market. I didn’t buy any fish, and I probably should have both to be fair to the men we were taking photos of and also because fish is good for you. I did buy a giant mango at the vegetable souk that is adjacent and completely caved on the price. Next time I’ll come with a chiller bag, get tough on the haggling and stock up.
For breakfast proper we moved to Abu Hail and had a layered Egyptian pastry called feteer at Al Ammor filled with veggies, basturma (beef cured with spices and garlic), and Egyptian rumi cheese. But that was just a pit stop before we moved to Al Khettar restaurant for an Emirati breakfast. If I’m honest – I loved the feteer but not a big fan of the various Emirati dishes EXCEPT for the luqaimat (sweet dough fritters doused with dibs and sesame seeds). I managed to squeeze in (quite) a few of those.There is talk about the markets shutting down and moving to more modern shopfronts so it is a good time to visit and experience the chaos and the noise before it disappears.
It is an easy trip to get there by Metro however the metro doesn’t open until 5.30 on days other than Friday when it opens at 10:00am. So if you don’t have access to a car, taxis are the next best option.
For more information about the Market to Majlis Fish Market tour – click here
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