I am currently in Dubai and I will be here for about two months. My apartment is near the Mall of the Emirates and yesterday, I went go to Carrefour and I was amazed at the size of the shop and the very large variety of produce. Dubai has a very large ex-pat community with a vast array of nationalities for which the supermarkets try to cater for. When I trying to buy fresh coffee there were over 30 different varieties from all over the globe all in there unique styles. Just buying fresh coffee I lost count but saw Lebanese, Turkish and Italian to name a few and I didn’t even look at the dried coffee section.
The fresh meat counter also had a big array of meat with some very unusual meats. I saw sheep’s tongue, sheep’s head with eyes, chicken gizzards, chicken feet as well as traditional cuts. As you would imagine Carrefour does not sell pork, but there are shops in Dubai that do, so at least I will be able to get my hands on bacon and sausages, I’m such a traditionalist! I walked around the meat counter and my jaw almost dropped as I came to the fresh fish counter it would make my local fish shop, in London, very jealous. I couldn’t believe it again the vast array of fish and seafood being sold, some I’d never seen before and prawns that made king prawns look small.
My favourite sections was the fresh fruit and vegetable with “ugly” produce being wonderful. In the UK we have become spoilt, with all our fruit and veg all looking the same size and shape. It’s got so bad that even I buy so called “perfect” looking fresh produce, even though I know it all tastes the shame. But in Dubai all the fruit and vegetables come in all shapes and sizes, it’s cheaper and just as edible as the “perfect” produce.
The supermarkets say that they only give what the customers want, “perfect” produce and I think over the years we have all got use to buying “perfect” food and it’s hard to buy “ugly”. It’s almost the chicken and egg scenario, which came first, the supermarkets saying we, the customer, only purchase “perfect” produce or the supermarkets only providing “perfect” produce. What we do need to do is break that cycle and just buy and cook with all “perfect” and “ugly” food.
I am certainly looking forward to experiencing the foods in Dubai and their restaurants, but I wish my hotel apartment kitchen had more than two small hobs with more than one saucepan and one frying pan. With such little equipment it’s going to be a challenge to produce some good food.
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