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An oasis of year-long fresh fruits and vegetables in Dubai
Sandeep, a chef, visits the market with his wife every day to buy fresh produce.
Fruit and Vegetable market in Al Awir is a diamond in the rough, offering customers fresh produce at prices that leave your arms full and hardly pinch your pockets.

Dubai has many hidden food treasures, and the Fruit and Vegetable market in Al Awir is one such diamond in the rough, offering customers fresh produce at prices that leave your arms full and hardly pinch your pockets. Chaotic and cramped, this place is nonetheless charming and quite addictive.
The market was originally located at Hamriya Port in Deira and moved in 2003, and is a large shed where vendors sell fruits, vegetables and some speciality items. Open all year round, it is always buzzing with people, but even more so during Ramadan, when the market sees the highest number of customers. “During Ramadan we keep more stock because people buy more. There is a lot of demand,” shopkeeper Ali Rehmani, who has been a trader at the market for the last ten years, told us on a visit last Saturday evening. (Head there any time after 4pm for the best atmosphere.)
Sheeba Rani has a special reason for visiting the market during Ramadan. “We distribute fruits to the mosques and we mostly buy apples, oranges, bananas and mangoes in wholesale from here.” She added that the fruits are fresh and she and her family have been visiting the market for the last ten years.
Pumpkin seller Mohammad Hafiz Ur Rehman told tabloid! that during Ramadan all the shopkeepers try to lower their prices low by a few dirhams, with prices tending to be cheaper than the supermarkets in the city.
The market is overflowing with fruit, leafy vegetables, and herbs, which look fresh and almost too good to be true. The focus here is on the produce we all know well, rather than exotic items, but with vibrant colours and a decent variety, the market manages to add extravagance to everyday purchases. The most popular fruit bought in summer is mangoes and almost all venders sell them, but prices may vary. On average, a 7kg box of sindhri mangoes is Dh40.
One customer, Zulfikar, tells us he’s a “mango freak” and has contacts telling him when to head to the market. “I only come here in mango season. We have tie-ups with a few suppliers and when they have good stock, they give me a call.”
Other than mangoes, kiwis and rambutans, a Thai fruit, can be bought for Dh10 per box, with each box having almost 12 pieces; cherries can be purchased for Dh25 per kg, watermelons for Dh2 per kg and a box of 36 oranges for Dh30. During Ramadan, sweet melons, priced at Dh5 per kg, are very popular and sell out the fastest.
The noisy market, typical of any vegetable market around the world, is buzzing with all kinds of sights and sounds. In between dodging people and making your way through the maze of passageways, making purchases seems like an achievement, so be sure to have the right kind of mindset before you embark on your journey. This is completely different from your everyday supermarket experience — and haggling is absolutely appropriate.
Vendors are always happy to give a taste of the produce — although that’s not possible until Ramadan is over.
First-time customer Summer, who was visiting the market on her brother’s recommendation said, “nothing is expensive here and the quality is better than in supermarkets.”
Indian customers Umang and Shwetha visit the market every week and always come with a long list. “The food is very fresh and we make sure that we take only one week’s stock with us so it does not get spoilt.”
Despite the crowds, the market is clean, and even though it is a bit of an effort to move around, the entire area is shaded and rotating fans make shopping easier, especially during this time of year. There are men who push wheelbarrows and customers can hire them to carry their shopping for a small stipend. Most shopkeepers understand Hindi, Urdu and Arabic and a little bit of English.
Shopkeeper Abdul Wahid has been selling dates at the market for the last 30 years. His stall has dates of all sizes, colours and varieties.
“My stock comes from Dubai, Iraq and Oman. Lots of customers come to me because I have good quality goods.” The most popular dates at Wahid’s stall are those from Saudi Arabia, which sell for Dh35 a kilo.
A word of advice: Try not to get too carried away while you’re there. It’s going to be hard, but don’t end up like me, with too many groceries and only one fridge to fit them in.

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