I’m currently in Dubai for work and yesterday I decided to check out Ripe ME’s Friday Foodie Market in Safa Park. A outdoor market with “foodie” in the title, I’m pretty sure you can’t go wrong! I was also interested to see what a park in Dubai looks like, as I tend to think of it as a city of malls and towers. However, it was actually quite nice!
I hopped a taxi over to Gate 5, the closest entrance to the market, paid my 3 dirhams to enter the park and followed the masses.
I had done my vegan internet research this time before my trip to Dubai, so I was excited to see a lot of the names I had noted to go check out here! The first thing I saw was a giant fruit and vegetable stand, if only I had a kitchen during this trip!
First up is Sweet Connection, a gluten-free bakery that also has vegan options. When I asked the woman working at the stand about vegan options, she quickly pointed out some cookies, chocolate biscotti and even doughnuts that were vegan.
I liked them so much I went to check out their stand in the Mercato Mall later where I got these gluten free Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies pictured above. The woman working there was also quite nice and ducked down to let me take a picture of the stand in the mall (in by Dubai Vegan Guide update coming soon). These cooking are delicious and I love the texture, they melt in your mouth!
Look at this mall by the way, crazy. You’d never expect a gluten-free bakery inside!
Back to the market. Next up is Moti Roti, I heard they had a few vegan options online so it was great they had a stand here. I got the mixed veggie filling, which had potatoes, chickpeas among other things, spiced nicely and wrapped in a homemade whole wheat roti wrap. I saw them making the wraps fresh right in front of me, pretty cool! The man behind the stand was very friendly and happily explaining which options were vegan.The stand out for me, however, was Coco Yogo. While it’s not hard to find vegan items at the mostly non-vegan establishments in Dubai, there have rarely ever been vegan sweets to indulge in. Thus, I was quite excited to find that CoCo Yogo’s products were all dairy and gluten-free, made with coconut milk. They sold varying sizes of tubs of coconut yogurt, mini vegan cheesecakes in various flavors and mini ice creams in their freezer case. I think the yogurt’s are also raw. I got one of each, but the chocolate coconut ice cream was the first I tried, pictured above. I love that it had bits of raw cacao nibs in it!
That little ice cream was so good I went back and got the vanilla coconut flavor later, so delicious!
The woman working the stand was also quite friendly and even held onto my purchases to keep them cold while I finished wandering the market, then packed them up with an ice bag for me.
At the front of the entrance I saw lots of signs advertising a brand called RAW Coffee, so I thought I’d check it out. I got an iced Americano at the Roti Mum stand with a splash of soymilk. Nothing to write home about, but it gave me my Friday morning coffee fix! Friday is the first day of the weekend here in Dubai and Sunday is a working day.
My iced Americano from the Roti Mum stand.
I totally forgot the name of the stand I bought these delicious sweet potato fries at, but it was next to Moti Roti and had free samples. Mmm!
I’m realizing now I should have taken pictures of the craft section of the market, oops! Anyway, there is another side of the market that sells crafts, everything from pretty stainless steel water bottles and reusable sandwich bags to jewelry, flowing dresses and even these cool shoes where you could remove and re-arrange the straps to turn them into several different shoes. I tried on some nice things, but nothing fit my wide shoulders quite right! The above picture is just outside the market where I ate my second ice cream, there were some cool-looking ducks behind that fence. On the way back to get a taxi, a view of the city from the park!
There you have it! If you’re in Dubai on a Friday, I definitely recommend you check out this market. It’s open every Friday (not in the summer, too hot) from 9am – 2pm. Get there on the earlier side before it gets too crowded!