Even though there is no doubt that going to one of the many big shopping malls in Abu Dhabi will see you sorted with everything you need, I think it is also good to support local shops – also because sometimes they hide more than a bargain and a few unique pieces.
I have already written about Abdul Karim, the wonderful shop inside Mina Centre.
Family Mart is similar, as it has a lot of the same tableware ranges, but I would classify it as a ‘superstore’ because it also sells a lot of other items, such as beauty products, make up, clothing, small furniture… you name it.
I could not find an official website for this store, but here is a map. In any case, it is easy to find as it stands right next to the big Toy’s R Us and Ace Hardware stores, sort-of in the same block as Royal Furniture, on Mina Port.
I bought several make up products here – you can get lovely nail polish which is of great quality and costs only a few AED, and of course many baking/cooking tools.
Something I particularly like of this shop is the extensive range of dinnerware and glassware. They also literally have everything you might need for your home, from barbecue tools to small appliances, plus disposable glasses and trays in all the shapes and sizes you can imagine – just perfect for a party. They also have a lot of Arabic coffee pots, traditional coffee sets and other local items. I just love this shop!
Meena Center has quickly become one of my favourite shopping destinations.
It could be argued that it is a little less glamorous than the big shopping malls in the city centre, and of course it does not have as much choice, but the fact is that it features some of my favourite shops in Abu Dhabi, where I can easily lose hours just looking around.
One of them is the fantastic Abdul Karim, a housewares-kitchenware shop that never fails to amaze me: it is like an Aladdin cave full of gorgeous and shiny things, and W always struggle to peel me off its windows.
I could not find any official website for this store, but it is located on the ground floor of the Meena Centre, near Port Zayed.
Upon entering, it is easy to quickly get charmed by the many china and glass sets – with and without carts – in beautiful golden and silver finish. This shop extends also at the back, featuring small electric appliances, kitchen tools and everything from curtains to cookie trays.
Staff in the shop are also really helpful: I was buying a slightly damaged dustpan and brush (because I am blind and I did not notice it) and they stopped me as soon as I picked it up, apologised and replaced it immediately with another one, which I was very grateful for.
The prices vary from item to item, but there are always sales and it is easy to find a bargain, such as this beautiful green decorated glass, which I paid only 9 AED (around 1.50 GBP) and then used as an original toothbrush holder next to a simple Ikea soap dispenser.
I just love this shop!
Where in Abu Dhabi:
- Mushrif Mall – 2nd Level East Wing – +971 02 4914149 – opening times
- Al Whada Mall – 2nd Floor (extension) – +971 02 44 565 04 – opening times
The Great British Bake Off is back on TV (Tuesdays on BBC2) hence I imagine every British household is now going to eat cake whilst looking at people baking more cake, in a sort of delicious meta-gluttony. Or maybe it is just us.
So, where to get the supplies to fuel our baking frenzy?
In Abu Dhabi there are plenty of shops where to go, from local brands to international ones.
Lakeland is a well known and very much loved brand, back in the UK.
To me, just the fact that its founders come from the Lake District evokes memories of beautiful holidays, images of rolling green hills and the soothing sound of splashing water: just the atmosphere I need to start baking some cookies!
Since I discovered them, I learned to love the gazillion kitchen and baking gadgets that they have in stock, from micro-blinis moulds to ice cream makers, and most of all I found some of the best cleaning products I ever used: the Astonish paste is basically the Holy Grail of grease-fighting and I could not live without it.
Imagine my excitement when strolling around Al Whada mall I saw one of their stores just in front of me!
It is quite a big shop, and sells everything that is on the website. From lunch boxes to dinnerware, from baking and decoration supplies to outdoor cooking accessories, it is like a piece of home has landed at our doorstep, and I love it.