Shopping for ingredients in foreign country can look as a scavenger hunt in many instances. For Americans, and Europeans in Dubai, this is the closest to the truth. Relocating to a new country is always a challenge. People are used to certain local ingredients in their homeland, and it is hard to find the same or even close enough ingredients in their new home. No matter the level of expertise in cooking (beginner or a seasoned chef), everyone face the same dilemma, where to find the ingredients for the perfect meal. In Dubai, there are several stores where expats can find some of the basic ingredients.
- Markets and Platters is an excellent place for fresh fish, this market is located in Pinnacle building in Dubai Marina. Besides fish, the market offers other seafood ingredients, pasta, cheese and especially, tasty giant artichoke. Markets and Platters is open from 9am to 10 pm.
- Ripe Farm Store is a store with reasonable prices for organic food. It is located in the Al Manara residential area. The store is open everyday from 9am to 6pm except Friday, when closing time is 2pm. Right next to the store, expats can enjoy the best naan in the Al Raisi Bakery.
- Choithrams is one of the few stores where expats can buy beef meat (frozen oxtails).
- Safetestway is worth a stop when searching for American product. Frozen English muffins, Special K cereal and turkey stock round up the list of rare products. Not to mention, the store is the only one that sells Bisquick.
- Park & Shop is an excellent source for pork products. Located in the Al Wasl road between Al Sheif and Hadiqa street, Park and Shop is a regular store for American expats.
- Spinneys is the place to go when in need of a serious shopping. The store is stocked with several British products, as well as American. At Spinney?s, expats can find some chicken and vegetables stock. Another precious resource is the white grape vinegar found at Spinneys.
- Waitrose is known for the freshness of their products. Expats can find their stores in the Dubai Mall or in the Dubai Marina Mall. Waitrose has a wide range of fresh fruits and vegetables, bread, meat, fish, eggs and all other basic daily products.
- Al Maya Grocery store is a Philippine-based chain that sells some unique products.
- Carrefour is the place to go for shopping on a budget. The big store is located in the Mall of Emirates, and is the best source for ingredients, both local and international.
Some hard-to-find ingredients include beef, lobster and wine and alcohol. The best place for store beef is The Butcher Shop and Grill on Jeremiah Beach Walk. One of the few places where expats can find lobster is at Carrefour. And for wine and other beverages, the safest way is to order one from Centaurusts International. The store delivers alcohol right to your door.
The motto when shopping for groceries in Dubai is simple, when you see it, buy it. There is no guarantee the product will ever be available again.