Exotic and fresh catch of the day

DUBAI — Fish mongers clad in blue shout out in the local dialects of Arabic and Urdu for customers to pay attention to their stalls.


Muaz Shabandri

Published: Mon 28 Jun 2010, 10:47 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 9:21 AM

One says, “Come buy Hamour, fresh fish sir,” as he reaches for the icebox at his feet and pulls out a gleaming hammour.

Situated near Shindaga tunnel is one of Dubai’s oldest fish markets in Deira. Heaps of fresh fish, both exotic and mundane, are displayed on the stalls as men wearing blue uniforms dot the market.

The area boasts a diverse collection of fish — from shimmering tuna, mounds of pomfrets, salmon and red mullet to lobsters and shrimps along with a variety of other sea creatures.

The hustle bustle, the chop-chop and the sight of fresh fish splattering on ice adds to the experience of being at a market. Just watching the animated fishermen unload their catch and sell them at the market while engaging in a bargain with customers is an attraction in itself.

Pointing towards the Gold Souq bus station, a nostalgic Mohammed Hussain, says, “There used to be a smaller market over there when we started.”

“Today, the market has grown into a much larger one with fish from around the world being traded and sold here,” adds Hussain, who has spent more than 32 years selling fish here.

The rows of fresh fish along with smiling faces and excited voices add to the charm. Saleem Siddibapa, a regular visitor to the market says, “I usually come here over the weekends to buy fish. There is an abundance of choice and one can bargain the prices.”

Huge wheelbarrows of fresh fish are wheeled around the market for eager buyers to bargain the price by weight.

Another regular visitor, Fouzan Mohtesham says, “I know the seller and I know he won’t cheat me by selling iced fish. It is a matter of trust that is built over the years and no mall or hypermarket can give me that trust or satisfaction.”

Buzzing with activity throughout the day, Deira Fish Market is a sight to behold during the night. After midnight, the market comes to life with its wholesale auctions.

Thousands of tonnes of fish change hands late in the night until the wee hours of the morning. From King fish to Hammour, shrimps to exotic seafood, the marketsupplies Dubai with its stock of fresh fish throughout the year.

Rizwan Khateeb, who has been visiting the market for over two decades says, “Kingfish and shrimps are all-time favourites with the locals. Other popular fish include Hammour and salmon.”

He adds, “Fish is in abundance at the market at any given time. They are also reasonably-priced when compared to malls and hypermarkets where prices are 20 – 30 per cent higher.”

There is an art to shopping at the fish market. However, the smell is not for the faint-hearted, and the market should not be visited in a new pair of shoes.

The best times to visit the Deira Fish market would either be early mornings or late at night.

A smaller fruit and vegetable market also co-exists with the fish market, where one can find the freshest catch from around the country’s coasts.


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