Sunday, August 03, 2008

An old Dubai evening.

As I said yesterday, we had a good evening in Satwa on Saturday, enjoying Dubai as it used to be.

There are two new baby girls amongst my in-laws and, as we're going to see them in a couple of weeks, Mrs Seabee decided we should buy them some gold.

Forget the famous gold souk these days, it's turned into a tourist attraction selling the same kind of bland jewellery they can find back home, it's just a bit cheaper here. The real Dubai gold shops are in the traditional areas these days, such as Satwa.

In the cluster tradition, being used now on massive scale with developments like Academic City, Healthcare City, Internet City, Media City and all the others, twenty or thirty little gold shops have set up side by side in what's really a mini gold souk.

So, a warm, humid evening, small shops crowded together, traffic in narrow streets, footpath crowded with people, the call to prayer starting...

The final piece of the jigsaw is the smell of all kinds of cooking on the heavy air...it looks, feels, sounds, smells like the real Dubai.






Then the shopping. Not the modern malls but how it used to be - into a gold shop, looking, weighing, haggling, on to the next...



...and eventually we get the right gift at the right price.

Then it's into one of the wonderful perfume, herb, all-sorts shops to buy some frankinsence...





And to round the evening off, a meal in our favourite Thai restaurant, Ruan Thai in Al Diyafah Street.

It ain't one of yer posh, upmarket, pretentious and outrageously expensive restaurants of the type many European expats seem to think it's necessary to waste their money in.





But the inside is well enough fitted out, it's clean, comfortable and you get excellent, friendly service...






The special bit that we particularly enjoy is the complimentary appetiser:




Clockwise from top left, all chopped into tiny pieces, hot red chilli, fresh ginger, lemon, onion, with roasted grated coconut and salted peanuts.

Spread some of the sweet chilli sauce on a leaf, pop on a small portion from each dish (be easy with the chilli, it's hot), wrap it up and enjoy an explosion of flavours.

Then we had chicken with chilli & basil, mixed vegetables...



...vegetable fried rice, jungle curry with chicken...




All this plus a large bottle of mineral water and the bill was Dh94*

I managed to resist a stroll across the road to Baskin Robbins ice cream, a highly unusual demonstration of self-denial.

If you're missing the old Dubai, or you never experienced it, I recommend you spend an evening in Satwa.


*Dh 94 is about US$25, £12.70, €16.

14 comments:

Zafar said...

Wow, thats great for a change, everything seems to be enough in quantity, presentation and the place looks nice and the bill that is amazingly, surprisingly too less.

I will be going there definitely.

Zafar said...

I was talking about the last item on your post, Ruan Thai restaurant.

dave said...

I wish Dubai had more areas like Satwa. It's a real place for real people.

But it's a shame so much of Satwa is earmarked for demolition and "development".....

Abu Dhabi/UAE Daily Photo said...

Satwa is one of my favourite parts of Dubai. I recognised that herbal shop.

Dubai Photo Story said...

I couldn't agree more. I still love the good old rustic Dubai!!!

Need to go and explore the Thai restaurant ASAP. At AEd 94/-, its roberry!!

Mars said...

that herbal shop...do they sell essential oils for aromatherapy?

nzm said...

Great evening Seabee.

Wishing you a great vacation if you leave before we escape the internet-free wilds of Northern Iceland!

Seabee said...

Mars, there are several shops like the one in the photo. I've never looked for aromatherapy oils so I don't know whether they stock them.

NZM, thanks - we're off in a couple of weeks.

LDU said...

Are the first two pics of the Thai place as well?

ahirunopekkles said...

i dont know when or where i aquired it, but i seem to have a bad impression of satwa...its a place i never dare to go...maybe i should go and see for myself. thanks

Zafar said...

ldu; the first 2 pictures rather I think the first 3 pictures are of "Ravi Restaurant" situated at the corner. The place is bit congested but food is amazing, I love "Daal fry", taste for yourself and dont take my words for it as I love to eat Daal fry where ever I can find it there are many places in Dubai to find properly cooked and delicious dish like this and this place is one of them.

Seabee said...

Zafar, the first pic is Ravis, the other two are elsewhere in Satwa. I agree with you, Ravi is one of Dubai's better restaurants, and it's been there for many years. I used to go there way back in the seventies.

alexander... said...

Everyone here wondered why I laughed so much for no apparent reason. I'm sitting tapping away here, catching up while the clouds above offer the prospect of more (thoroughly welcome) rain, digesting a thoroughly relaxed breakfast and looking forward to shopping in Richmond. And you managed to take me back to Satwa and almost make me miss the place!!!

Great post. I'm going back on leave now! :)

workhard said...

The food looks yummmy.. Thats a great review!!!!!


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