For a taste of authentic food or the chance to experience authentic troupes from various countries around the world or to the opportunity to purchase homemade products, head to the Global Village in Dubai.
The Global Village has brought the entire world to one destination with a diverse array of traditional and modern crafts, cuisine and entertainment.
The event, claimed to be the world’s largest tourism, leisure and entertainment project, is attracting over 6 million visitors every year and has become even more vibrant after the Dubai Shopping Festival began.
Saudi Arabia is noted for its rich culture and tradition and the Saudi pavilion takes visitors through some of the country’s fascinating heritage. Saudi Arabia is home to over 1,000 varieties of luscious dates, several of which are available for purchase at the KSA pavilion. Stall owners beckon visitors to sample some of the country’s finest dates, perfumes and coffee.
The “ajwa” variety of dates is among the most popular and the most expensive. The dates contain minimal amounts of sugar and are known to have been recommended by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) himself. The Saudi dates are divided into two regions, Madinah and Qassim.
Some of the other items on sale at the stall include lacquer jewelry, ornamental goods, and well-known homegrown oil perfumes such as musk, oud and fruity-base notes.
‘Zamzam’ water, which is regarded as ‘holy water’ and has been proven to have curative properties, is also available here. In addition, a stop at the honey stalls is a must, as it displays 15 types of honey found in Abha and Tayef.
“I liked the Saudi pavilion; I always stop at it to buy different types of dates including ajwa,” said Anwar Shah, a visitor from Pakistan who was shopping at the Saudi pavilion.
Stepping into the Yemeni stall, which is as rich and diverse as its culture, is exciting. Here you can taste authentic Yemeni honey. Some of the honey has nuts and seeds added to it for additional nutritional benefits, others have honeycombs in it to add a different texture. While sampling the mouth-watering honey, visitors will notice their sense of smell tingling as aromas from the spice bins waft around the area.
The pavilion also has a large amount of jewelry decorated with precious stones and pearls, spices, dried fruits, and nuts.
“I bought high quality honey from the Yemeni mountains. I have been looking for honey from the ‘sidr’ trees, which is useful for many diseases. I was able to fine it here at the Yemeni stall,” said Abdul Rahman.H.R, who was visiting the Global Village with his family from Doha.
Vendors will also help visitors find out which of the all-natural oils — there are over 80 to choose from — is the most suitable for them. The oils can be good for a number of ailments affecting the hair, skin, or the digestive system.
Bahrain has an enormous spice collection. The majority of the spices sold there are used in preparing a number of dishes and pre-mixes are also available to allow interested buyers to cook the perfect falafel or a prawn masala. The Bahraini pavilion also features a resident spray gun artist, who creates live portraits just next to the pavilion stage.
At the Omani pavilion, there are several stalls selling traditional Youllah canes called “assa” as well as the traditional “muzzar” turbans. Visitors can also pick up decorative daggers — known as khanjars — which Omani men traditionally use to show they’ve come of age. Visitors to the Omani pavilion should sample the Omani halwa, a sweet that is traditionally served before drinking coffee or tea.
“Every year I come here many times just to taste and buy the original Omani halwa, which is my favorite,” says Fatima Khalfan, a UAE national.
Kuwait has a great pavilion, with many stalls showcasing the latest in Arabic fashion. Colorful, sequined dresses adorn shop fronts and high quality abayas are found on display throughout the pavilion. Kuwait also has a wide selection of beautiful fashionable jewelry to offer. The Kuwaiti pavilion’s façade is designed as a large dhow — a testimony to the seafaring traditions of the nation and its long tradition for peal diving.
Qatar’s very modern looking stall is littered with stores selling jewelry, frankincense, designer abayas, aromatic oils and perfumes. The pavilion is also promoting the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup, which the nation will be hosting.
Visitors should not miss the UAE pavilion, which depicts the country’s heritage and the ancient architecture. The stall has dates, incense, locally made oil perfume shops and Emirati national dresses, which are exhibited to showcase the country’s cultural offerings. There are also popular local dishes displayed by the Emirati traditional kitchen.
A walk to the Egyptian pavilion will enhance your knowledge about the country’s history. Reflecting one of the oldest countries in the world, a pyramid rises above the main building structure and hieroglyphics sparkle across the façade, making it a must-see attraction for visitors. A walk around the area will reveal a wide variety of ancient Egyptian souvenirs and modern day accessories and clothing.
Stalls selling miniature statues of Queen Nefertiti, the Great Pyramid of Giza, and other artifacts, can be found throughout the venue. The stall also offers a wide range of cotton items, made exclusively in Egypt using the nation’s world-renowned cotton.
The Indian and Pakistani pavilions also attract a huge crowd. Stepping into the Indian stall is like traveling to the street stalls in India. Individuals looking for a wide variety of home accessories — be it cushions, pillows, or bedspread covers — will find genuine, handmade products — many of them hand-woven and produced with the finest quality raw materials, sourced from different states in India.
Visitors can enjoy a number of melodious Urdu songs at the Pakistani pavilion. In addition, a famous flute player from Lahore, Mohammed Shabaz, is present to entertain guests. The stall has 130 shops displaying the best products from various Pakistani cities. Pakistan’s traditional shoes “khusa”, beautifuly-designed wooden furniture, a variety of textile items, genuine leather jackets are the specialty in this pavilion.
“A number of genuine jackets are here, I bought a few for me and my family as the quality is good,” said Aleem Tayyara, a visitor from Lebanon.
Authentic Thai food is another attraction. The Global Village has an exclusive Thai food court. The area houses Goto King, Bread and Sangkayah, Thai Snacks, Papa Junior Thailand as well as a small waffle shop for some doughy goodness that transcends countries. With each of the five restaurants in the Thai food court serving up a variety of dishes from their home country, visitors will have a wide variety to choice from.
Ahmad Al Marri, Global Village commercial director, said that the Thai food court is Global Village’s response to the high demand for Thai food in the region.
At different corners, we can enjoy numerous entertainment and cultural programs. Street Performers (Canada’s very own), The Silly People, acrobatic performers, and the exciting Chinese unicyclists, have been keeping shoppers entertained. The Silly People will have the whole family laughing with their one-of-a-kind street performance and eccentric sense of humor.
The highly energetic and thrilling Vander Skywheel routine from the UK, performing with four men on the outside of a rotating frame is another attraction.
Considering Keralites, the single largest expatriate community in the UAE, organizers have brought a troupe of highly reputed Kerala drummers to perform for visitors and give them a taste of a traditional Indian form of music that is played both for enjoyment and as part of ceremonies. The performance will have the drummers playing their instruments while standing next to two life-sized statues of elephants.
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