We all know Dubai has plenty to offer the gourmand. From shepherd’s pie at The Ivy to black cod at Nobu, food-lovers can feast on dishes at renowned restaurants run by the likes of Gary Rhodes, Marco Pierre White and Jamie Oliver.
But how about dining in the ‘real’ Dubai, far removed from the gleaming skyscrapers and five-star hotels? Easier said than done, you might cry. Heading for one of the countless neon-lit frontages in Old Dubai can be daunting. Where to go? What to order? That’s where Arva Ahmed, founder of Frying Pan Adventure Tours, can help.
Having lived in the same apartment building on Al Rigga Street for much of her life, there is nothing she doesn’t know about dining in Deira. Her walking tours cover more than half a dozen cuisines across the Middle East, including lamb mansaf from Jordan, Iranian stone bread folded around soft cheese and myrtle leaves, and mini bites of baklava at the Arabic sweet shop she frequented as a child.
Arva’s knowledge of and passion for her neighbourhood and the ethnic cuisines on its bustling streets have helped make her Arabian food tours a hit. The Frying Pan Adventures have expanded to include a tasting tour of the Indian food on offer at Bur Dubai’s Meena Bazaar, led by Farida Ahmed, and a “morning march” around historic Creekside.
For our part, devouring chilli-spiked falafel summoned by Arva on Murraqqabat Street counts as one of the most enjoyable meals we’ve had in Dubai – and not a celebrity chef in sight.
Frying Pan Adventures, Arabian food tours, Muraqqabat Street, Bur Dubai, 6pm, Dhs350. Tel: (800) 366343. Metro: Al Rigga. fryingpanadventures.com