Opinion and Editorial

Is water the most expensive item on your dinner bill?

Vicky Kapur (From the Executive Editor's Desk)
Filed on November 12, 2019 | Last updated on November 12, 2019 at 06.34 am
water, dinner, bill, dubai municipality, initiative


Dubai Municipality announced yesterday that the updated Dubai Food Code will kick in from 2020.

Recently, we had a couple of couples visiting us briefly over the weekend. they were on a transit visa and had a few hours to spend in Dubai before continuing their journey.

Having lived in the UAE for a while, we're accustomed to fleeting first-time-to-Dubai visitors, for whom we have a set of flexible itineraries. These include a visit to the landmarks (the Burj Khalifa, the Dubai Mall and Fountain, a drive past Burj Al Arab, the Atlantis, etc.) and some off-the-beaten-path kind of spots (the Al Qudra Love Lake, Meydan Horse Racing, Jebel Jais mountain, etc.). The final schedule depends on the time of the year (read: weather), any ongoing experiences (Global Village, shopping festivals, etc.) and, of course, the mood of the visitors.

The visitors we had this time were young-ish and, therefore, into Instagrammable destinations. They'd done their research and were armed with their own list. Downtown Dubai, Burj Khalifa, Boxpark, etc. were all on the list. It went just as planned and, soon, it was time for dinner. We stopped by a fancy restaurant (aren't they all?) and decided to order food to go since there was plenty of night-time Dubai glory yet to be captured in the #NoFilters of the gram. That's when it happened. Like novices, we let the visitors place the order and they, along with the food, ordered six bottles of (wait for it) water. I know! We realised it only after it was too late - and an international credit card had been tapped at the till.

The tourists kept pouring over the bill in astonishment with a look on their faces that said 'how is water the most expensive item on the bill?' Reams of newsprint have been dedicated to the curious case of some Dubai restaurants charging what can only be termed as an obscene sum of money for something as basic as a bottle of water, but it's been like water off a duck's back. Until now, that is. Dubai Municipality announced yesterday that the updated Dubai Food Code will kick in from 2020, and it will mandate the emirate's restaurants to offer filtered tap water as an alternative to bottled drinking water. It's a welcome resolution - one that won't only help cut down on plastic waste, but also hard cash. I'll drink (an additional glass of water) to that.

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