From shawarmas to karak: Everyday joys in UAE to cost more amid fuel price hikes, inflation

Eateries have increased prices of popular food items

File photo
File photo

Nasreen Abdulla

Published: Mon 6 Jun 2022, 3:25 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Jun 2022, 9:56 PM

Outside a popular cafeteria in Dubai, a group of people huddled around their karak tea had furrowed brows. They had just shelled out an extra 50 fils for their cup of tea — an affordable everyday joy.

Long sold for Dh1, its price went up to Dh1.50 earlier this year. And some eateries have hiked it further to Dh2 after fuel costs went up.

Prices of other everyday food items have gone up, too. Here are five such joys that cost a wee bit more:

1. Karak: Long considered one of UAE’s favourite drinks, karak chai has become more expensive in several places. Some cafeterias that had not raised their prices earlier now charge Dh1.50, while others have taken the price of their Dh1.50 karak to Dh2.

“It is a shame,” said Ashish, a Karama resident. “I drink about 5 cups of karak every day. It is definitely going to pinch my monthly budget. However, I understand that restaurants have no other options. The price of fuel has gone up and so has the price of sugar. So, I am just going to consider drinking one cup less of karak.”

It was in February this year that the price of karak was increased from Dh1 to Dh1.50 after 17 years of staying the same.

2. Chocolates: A visit to a local grocery store revealed that most brands of chocolates have raised their prices by 15-20 per cent. The price of KitKat finger bar had increased from Dh1 to Dh1.25 while a Snickers bar had been increased from Dh2.50 to Dh3.

“For some of the items, we have been absorbing the cost,” said Afsal from Delma Supermarket in Dubai. “However, some of the items we have to pass it on to the customer. One of them is chocolate. Almost all brands have hiked up their prices, so we had to raise our prices in the supermarket as well.”

3. Samosa: The fried triangle-shaped snack is a must-have for many along with their karak chai. With fillings ranging from chicken to cheese to vegetables to Oman chips, it is a truly versatile snack that equally appeals to people of various nationalities.

However, the simple samosa has also fallen victim to price rises. Several cafeterias in and around Karama and Za'abeel area have increased the price of samosa from Dh1 to Dh1.50.

A trader in the Bur Dubai area said he hadn’t raised the prices but admitted he will not be able to sustain this price. “I don’t want to be the first one in the area to raise prices,” he said. “However, I don’t think I can last for more than a few days at this price. Everything has become more expensive. So, we have been having some intense discussions among the workers on how best to tackle the situation. I will most likely increase the prices by the end of this week.”

4. Shawarma: 'When in doubt, eat shawarma!' Or so the local saying goes. The iconic snack/meal which is a staple in the diets of almost every meat-lover in the country is going to get more expensive.

While some restaurants have increased the price of the humble shawarma from Dh5 to Dh6, certain others have taken the price to Dh8.

“It isn’t really ideal that the prices have been increased,” said Kanika, a student, who was at the cafeteria with her friends. “However, I know that a lot of prices have gone up. You can’t really expect the cafeterias to not increase prices. I come here often with my friends after a group study session. I don’t think we are going to stop because the prices have gone up.”

5. McDonald’s ice cream: If you need a budget-friendly pick-me-up, one of the best places to get that is at McDonald’s. However, the Dh1 ice cream cone will now cost Dh2. The price rise, which came a few months back, has been greeted with much dismay.

“McDonald’s ice cream has been our go-to treat,” said mother of two, Mehnaz. “Whether we have had an achievement, or someone has had a bad day, we would just go for a drive and get McDonald’s cone. It was one of those simple pleasure things. However, with the prices being doubled, we think twice about heading there.”

*Prices may vary from store to store

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