Bite into these gourmet tours from Frying Pan Adventures
The local duo behind Frying Pan Adventures might have a monopoly on food tours in the city, but for good reason. Indian sisters Arva and Farida Ahmed have lived in Dubai all their lives and they know their biryani from their baklava. They host a range of boutique food tours during different times of the year, which take diners off the beaten path through the culturally diverse side of Old Dubai. “We thrive on down-to-earth, humble experiences,” says Arva.
The best food tours from October to April
Middle Eastern Food Pilgrimage
“One of the best ways to get a feel of a place and really digest the local culture is through walking the streets and discovering the local food,” says Arva. Held during the cooler months, this four-hour Middle Eastern-themed walking tour takes you through the backstreets of Deira, where you'll gobble everything from freshly baked Egyptian feteer to green hummus, Emirati cuisine and traditional Syrian pistachio ice-cream.
Price: AED380 per person.
Little India on A Plate
“Our food tours bring people into the lesser known areas of Old Dubai, beyond the touristy spots and the souks which tend to be the only way people see the old part of town,” says Arva. Taking place in Meena Bazaar, one of Dubai's most underrated local dining spots, this tour through “Little India” aims to dispel stereotypes associated with the South Asian cuisine. It introduces diners to messy street snacks, the best Indian breads beyond naan and where to find the best chicken tikka in Dubai.
Price: AED380 per person.
If a bespoke food tour sounds more like your thing, Frying Pan Adventures is able to organise tailor-made Old Dubai food tours of a minimum of four people, which can run anywhere from three to five hours. Simply tell them what your tastebuds desire (within reason) and they'll plan a food itinerary to suit your needs.
Price: From AED350 per person.
The best food tours from May to September
Arabian Summer Saga
Held during the hot summer months, this four-hour Middle Eastern evening tour includes restaurant transfers in an air-conditioned shuttle bus and visits to four restaurants and cafes. The menu introduces diners to the city's best Palestinian stuffed falafels, Iraqi wood-fired fish and Emirati lamb stew. “We don't only focus on eating, but rather on sharing stories of the many cultures that have made this city their home,” says Arva.
Price: AED450 per person.
Summer Indian Trail
Head off on Dubai’s very own spice trail with this scaled-down evening summer tour through Meena Bazaar. The three-hour tour includes a visit to a local fresh grocer to find out about lesser-known Indian veggies, sampling sugarcane juice and Indian ice cream, and a behind-the-scenes look inside the kitchen of a South Indian restaurant.
Price: AED335 per person.
Intrepid Eater Series
This short tour involves a visit to just one of Frying Pan Adventure's favourite, no-frills backstreet restaurants, where diners will have the opportunity to learn more about a particular cuisine. Depending on where you end up, you may try everything from Ethiopian steak tartare to Pakistani braised offal or Palestinian caramelised onion pie.
Price: AED150 per person.
Ramadan Photography Walk
Held during the Holy Month of Ramadan, this tour offers a unique cultural experience and insight into the inhabitants of the city during this highly spiritual time. The five-hour tour through the Old Dubai neighbourhood of Naif combines some photography with an iftar at a local eatery, worlds away from the lavish iftars held in five-star hotels throughout the city.
Price: AED595 per person.