Tucked into the southeast corner of the Grand Souk, the diminutive Spice Souk (now signed “Herbs Market”) is perhaps the most atmospheric – and certainly the most fragrant – of the city’s many bazaars. Run almost exclusively by Iranian traders, the shops here stock a wide variety of culinary, medicinal and cosmetic products, with tubs of merchandise set out in front of each tiny shopfront. All the usual spices can be found – cinnamon, cardamom, cumin, coriander – along with more unusual offerings such as dried cucumbers and lemons (a common ingredient in Middle Eastern cuisine), incense and heaps of hibiscus and rose petals, used to make a delicately scented tea. The souk is also famous for its frankincense, sold in various different forms and grades – the most common type looks like a kind of reddish, crumbling crystalline rock; frankincense burners can be bought in the souk for a few dirhams. Most stalls also sell natural cosmetic products such as pumice and alum (a clear rock crystal used to soothe the skin after shaving), while male visitors in search of a pick-me-up will also find plentiful supplies of so-called “natural viagra”.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Dubai features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Away from the skyscrapers: how to find the “other” Dubai

Away from the skyscrapers: how to find the “other” Dubai

It’s big, brash and lays claim to so many world records it might even have the world record for the number of world records. But beyond the superlatives, skys…

22 Nov 2016 • Lottie Gross insert_drive_file Article
12 of the most beautiful places in the Middle East

12 of the most beautiful places in the Middle East

The Middle East is a paradox. Located at the cultural crossroads between east and west, the region nowadays tends to make headlines for all the wrong reasons, b…

16 Nov 2016 • Gavin Thomas insert_drive_file Article
A day-by-day itinerary for a perfect weekend in Dubai

A day-by-day itinerary for a perfect weekend in Dubai

Dubai is a city like no other. One of the world’s fastest-growing metropolises, it has been transformed from a small Gulf trading centre into a glamorous…

15 Sep 2016 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month