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Saturday lunch at the fish souk.

Friendly vendor agreed to be pictured with this huge shrimp!

Mina port is probably one of the most charming areas of Abu Dhabi, and a personal favourite of mine. From the dhow harbour to the Mina centre, here is where we go if we want to feel as we are somehow off the beaten track, even if ever so slightly.

On a sunny Saturday, around 12pm, we visited the fish souk, as our friend M had heard that you can have lunch there.
It was reasonably busy, buzzing with vendors and customers, haggling for the best prices.
I was impressed by how clean and well organised the stalls looked: all vendors wore gloves, aprons, nets and name badges, which gave me the feeling of a very professional environment.
And yes, it smells fishy, but it is fresh fish smell, not a miasma, hence it is not unpleasant (and it is a vegetarian talking!!) and soon you get used to it.

Freshly fished.

The fish was neatly displayed.

Lots of choices.

Every stall is very well organised.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, here is how it goes down, if someone wants to have lunch at the fish souk:

1) Choose the fish.
The fish is caught fresh the previous night, so the choice is different every day but also very diverse. Official prices are written on boards all around the market, but you can haggle with single vendors to get the best price.
Our friends decided to buy some shrimps and shark, and got them from two different stalls.
In general, the stalls further away from the main entrance door seemed to have slightly better deals, but the difference between prices is anyway minimal.

2) Get the fish cleaned.
At the back of the market area there is a big group of men dressed in red: those are the fish cleaners, both for people who want to eat there or just get their purchases cleaned before bringing them home. Apparently, if you buy shellfish for lunch, you can get it cleaned directly at the kitchens, but for other fishes, you need to get it prepared here. Our friends had the shark cleaned and cut in fillets and they paid 10 AED.

3) Get the fish cooked.
After the fish is ready (and we were invited to look at the cleaning process), we brought it to the opposite side of the room, inside a daedalus of small rooms and corridors. In this area there are small individual shops selling dried fish, fruit, salads, drinks, and anything else you might need.
The kitchen is quite close to one of the entrances: you speak to the cook, tell him how do you want your fish prepared, if you want it spicy or not, and he tells you when to come back to pick up your lunch.
For shark fillets battered and fried and 1 Kg of shrimps, our friends paid 20 AED.
It was very busy when we went there so they asked us to come back in one hour to pick up the cooked fish.

Battered and fried shark.

1 Kg of shrimps!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4) Eat!
In the same area where the kitchen is, there is a very simple restaurant with tables and chairs, where you can seat to have your lunch.
I have not tried the fish, but our friends said it was absolutely delicious and full of flavour.

The fish market is a very interesting and bustling place, with also other foods been sold: a coconut milk seller attracted our attention. We could choose between two different types of coconut, and he would cut it for us, make a hole on the top, and then give it to us with a straw. It was fresh and really tasty. And coconut milk is supposed to be very good for your health too!

Coconut being prepared…

Such a healthy and fresh treat!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the back of the fish market, towards the dhow port, you can find people renting jet skis and offering boat tours, and a series of charming restaurants on dhows.

The whole experience is very interesting: if you like fish, this is something you don’t want to miss.

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Waitrose in Abu Dhabi

Neatly piled fruits at Waitrose Al Zeina.

WHERE IN ABU DHABI:

  • Waitrose Al Reem Island – inside Boutik Mall, Sky and Sun Towers
    Opening Times:
    Every day from 7am to 11pm.
    Meat Room: Yes, and with a fresh counter.
  • Waitrose Al Zeina – Al Raha Beach
    Opening Times:
    Every day from 8am to 10pm
    Meat Room: Yes – fridges only
  • Waitrose Avenue – Etihad Towers
    Opening Times:
    Every day from 8am to 10pm.
    Meat Room: Yes, and with a fresh counter.
  • Waitrose Eastern Mangroves
    Opening Times:
    Every day from 8am to 11pm
    Meat Room: Yes – fridges only

Waitrose is one of the most loved UK grocery chains. It is hard to describe the excitement on the face of some of my Expat friends when they discover that they can still shop as they did in London!

Generally, I tend to prefer quaint, local grocery shops – you know, those with all that amazing-looking food I never ate before! – but I must admit it: sometimes going for something you know is just what you need. Also, I am vegetarian, but for those who are fans of pepperoni pizza and crispy bacon, the meat room is something essential to the weekly shop!

Waitrose in the UAE does not seem to have an official website, hence I thought it would be useful to make a post with all locations and opening times I am aware of, however these hours might change on public holidays/religious holidays, so it is always good to take it with a pinch of salt on those days. If you have any more info to share, please comment below!

Aisle in Waitrose Al Zeina

Meat fridges in Al Zeina.

Fresh meat counters in Waitrose Al Reem.

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Ripe Organic Markets

(image © ripeme.com )

Ripe is a company that offers seasonal, local and organic products from selected farms in the region.

The produces can be ordered fresh and within few days they can be collected in several locations around Abu Dhabi. (List of locations: here)

They also have weekly markets: in Abu Dhabi they set up their stalls every Monday, from 12pm to 3pm, inside Jones the Grocer, in Al Raha Garden plaza.

More info on their website, or writing to <markets@ripeme.com>

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Click HERE to read more about FOOD SHOPPING in Abu Dhabi.
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Lorenzo – Patisserie and Chocolate Shop

Delicious biscuits selection.

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

Where in Abu Dhabi:

  • Al Nasser Street,
    Near the British Embassy,
    Al Khalidiya
    Tel: +971 2 631 0303

I had not really planned to stop to buy cookies as I was in a hurry and on my way somewhere else… but this patisserie bears the same name as my brother, so I had to go and have a look at it: once seeing its windows full of amazing-looking treats I just did not have the willpower to walk away!

A very helpful and friendly lady showed me all the many different products they had: from all possible varieties of chocolate to sweet and savoury biscuits, from Arabic delicacies to cakes of all dimensions… I truly was in heaven!

This time I did not have my camera with me, but I took a photo at home of the selection of assorted biscuits which I bought for only 70 AED: they were delicious, hence I have all reasons to go back to take more photos… (and more treats!)

food shop

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