At the Fruit & Vegetable Market in Al Aweer, Dubai.
PHOTO BY EXPAT MEDIA
DUBAI – With coronavirus steering many of us towards healthy eating, I was inexplicably drawn towards the Fruit & Vegetable Market in Al Aweer to buy my stock of affordable produce.
Opened in 2004, the Fruit & Vegetable Market is considered the biggest of its kind in the Gulf, with 6,110 hectares dedicated to the hub of the fruit and vegetable business in the region. It has a main market for retailers as well as seven blocks dedicated to wholesalers.
The drive there from International City was a smooth one, with fewer vehicles on the road. Getting there was a breeze and I didn’t even have to spend too long finding parking space. There were several right in front of the market.
“Business is okay but not as many customers as before,” says Mohammed, a Pakistani who works as one of the “trolley men” at the open market. Everyone is wearing a facemask and there are social distancing stickers on the floor, the only telltale signs that we are shopping in the time of Covid-19.
Mohammed has been with me a few times during my market run here. He haggles for me, which I appreciate.
There are plenty of them who do this for a living here. For around Dh10, they’ll be your personal chaperone, with wheelbarrow in tow so you can shop hands-free as they wheel around whatever it is you’re buying.
Because most of the produce here come straight from suppliers, the prices are cheap. But you need to know the market price for comparison otherwise it can be easy to get taken for a ride.
I love to buy fresh coconut here. They’ll open it for you, stick in some straw and then you can drink the refreshing water straight from the coconut. Last I checked it was Dh4.50 each for the ones from Oman. Not bad, considering it would cost you Dh10 to Dh12 just to have one at your nearest cafeteria.
Watermelons are less than Dh2 per kilo, while a box of around 30 pieces of zucchini was available for Dh10. Avocados were Dh20 per box of around 10 to 15 pieces, which is way cheaper than the two pieces I get for Dh10 at the neighbourhood supermarket. I also saw two packs of plump strawberries for Dh10.
If you don’t like to buy in bulk, retailers will often sell you a handful of items for around Dh2 to Dh5, which isn’t bad because it is easy to rack the bill up to Dh100 or more when you’re buying in bulk, unless you’ve got a large family to feed or you’re planning to freeze some of those fruits and veggies to stock up for the month. MFD/Expat Media
Timings: Open daily from 6am to 1:30pm and from 4pm to 11pm
Location: Ras Al Khor, Al Aweer
GPS coordinates: 25°10’21.4″N 55°23’17.9″E
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