I have been hounding Arva Ahmed on twitter since I saw the first tweet and blog post of 'tours' of Deira (old Dubai as she refers to it in her blog). Its all Twitter's fault and @daddybird's in particular for starting us off in Deira with his tweet ups in Aroos Damascus. After a bit of cajoling, she 'let me in' on her last tour. All of these are unofficial until she (Arva) gets her licence and office etc sorted. But I didn't care. And I wasn't alone. I was in the company of 5 other persons and 2 journalists (not that they're not persons - just that they had a slightly different agenda).
As I mentioned on my review on Trip Advisor, this tour was well researched and well organised. Arva had all the details organised from the point of being picked up at Mall of the Emirates by a bus (in case we weren't sure how to get to Muraggabat Road) to the Dubai map and the short pamphlet that outlined a few Middle Eastern dishes we were going to sample that evening.
We started at Qwaider Al Nabulsi restaurant that made its own sweets too. Had the best Kanafeh there as well as the most delicious Falafel Mahshi (I could do a meal on just that) with Tahina sauce, and the fresh hummus with a touch of herbs and tangy sumak. We walked across from there to a lebanese sweet shop where we tried the halawat el jibn (that you have to know to ask for because its usually tucked away in the fridge). Its a treat. Its melt in your mouth - not over sweet, creamy and delicious. If I say the name often enough, I will remember to ask for it next time.
We were introduced to the flavours of Manakish and Zatar (one of my all time favourites) but it was a treat when the cook let us watch him make them and have them fresh from the oven. The next stop was a Yemeni Mandi where we tried two different varieties of chicken. From here we visited an Iranian spice shop and ended up in an Iranian restaurant with some more bread making (fascinating) and some very very yummy chello kebabs. The band wasn't playing but maybe another trip back.
It was worth every dirham. If you consider yourself a foodie - this one is definitely for you. Arva makes it
personal, her passion and knowledge of ingredients as well as her choice of the best food to order and sample is excellent. She ordered enough food to keep us satisfied but keep pace for the next orgy.
If you're a Dubai resident (I am for more than 23 years) - you discover new tastes and new places to go to. If you're a tourist, put this in your itinerary especially if you're a foodie.
4 hours sounds like a long time but believe me - you pace yourself and barely realise the time has gone. Besides its good to walk off the extra calories.