UAE: Shopping, food and more in the shade of 147,000 trees as Saturday market opens in oasis

Live music and dance performances; free activities for children and spiced mangoes can be a fun combination


Sahim Salim

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Photos: Supplied
Photos: Supplied

Published: Fri 17 Feb 2023, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Fri 17 Feb 2023, 2:20 PM

A colourful Saturday market has popped up under the shade of over 147,000 date palms at the Al Ain Oasis. Organised by the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi, it features everything from home-grown fashion and jewellery to a farmer’s market, food concepts, live music and dance performances.

The Saturday Market Al Ain Oasis runs every Saturday till March 25. Open from 3pm to midnight, entrance to the market is Dh10 for children aged three to 11; and Dh20 for visitors over 12. Children aged below two and people of determination can enter for free.

Al Ain Oasis is spread over 1,200 hectares and houses more than 550 palm tree farms. Here are the top things we found at its Saturday market:

1. A surprise dabke performance

Easily the highlight of our visit, the young dabke performers’ energy was infectious. As they stood in a line holding hands and did their seemingly-impossible dance moves, the crowd got into the act, too. The performers even invited a man and a child — who knew the steps — from the audience to dance with them.

There were other live dance and music performances, too:

2. From UAE farms to your home

The greenest and freshest locally-produced fruits and vegetables are up for grabs at several stalls of the farmer’s market. We found corn, lemon and all types of leafy greens, among other vegetables.

3. Spiced mangoes, anyone?

We found a gentleman slicing mangoes in the shape of French fries. He chopped them, added some spices and mixed it all for a bowl of spicy sweet goodness.

4. Souq it up

This part of the market offers some serious souq vibes. Local businesses offer products ranging from jewellery and accessories to home-grown fashion.

5. It’s all fun and games

Free experiences are on offer for the little ones. From face painting to plant -potting and fun-with-slime sessions, kids are sure to be entertained. Children (and adults) can relive the 90s by flopping on a bean bag and playing Super Mario on retro videogame consoles.

6. World cuisines on a plate

Bubble tea and specialty coffee blends; Palestinian dish chicken musakhan; east African beef skewers; and Middle Eastern favourites harees and falafel were among the dishes being whipped out at the food stalls.


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