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A Glimpse of Life in Dubai from Supermarket Aisles

A leisurely stroll down a supermarket aisle may not be on everyone’s travel agenda. Unless a necessity arises or you need to purchase an urgent item, you are likely to forego this mundane activity for a more exciting shopping spree.

But a trip to the supermarket can offer a glimpse into every day life. Bubble wrap was the product that brought us into the wide aisles Carrefour, the French hypermarket chain in Dubai’s Mall of the Emirates. It gave a chance to discover what makes Emiratis and Dubai’s expats part with their dirhams. For travelling foodies, this was an opportunity too good to miss.


For readers in Australia, forget the concept of narrow aisles, toppling products stacked to the ceiling and manoeuvring a stubborn trolley past slow shoppers. Here, open space reigns. In fact, if I shopped in this Carrefour, I would get my supplies and meet my daily quota of exercise.

There are cooking oils as far as the eye can see.

Gourmet products abound, like fresh duck livers imported from France.

Fresh duck livers

For lovers of foie gras, there is a halal variety from Labeyrie.

Halal foie gras

The aroma from the colourful array of herbs and spices is so heady.

Herbs and Spices

The Hessian bags are neatly arranged, you can’t help but stop and admire their beauty.

Hessian sacks

More a fish market than a supermarket, there is a great range of fresh seafood on display.

Some are pre-prepared and ready to take home.

More fish

Naturally, you find fresh Hamour, the speciality fish of Dubai.


Or the fish fingers variety, if you prefer.

Hammour fish fingers

There is an extensive range of fresh prawns (shrimp) begging to be tasted and compared.


For more gourmand tastes, unopened oysters from Marennes, the oyster capital of France. Remember to only eat these during months that have an ‘R’ in them.


And in a moment that triggered a sense of patriotism, I spotted our favourite Kinkawooka live mussels from South Australia.

Live mussels from South Australia

Remember, you are in Dubai. And despite what preconceptions you may or may not have, when queuing to pay at the cashiers, priority is for the ladies.

Ladies first

Mall of the Emirates
Dubai, UAE

Visiting Dubai? Don’t miss our Top 10 Things in To in Dubai.

About the author

Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is a drinks writer, author of GROW YOUR OWN COCKTAIL GARDEN, SHRUBS & BOTANICAL SODAS and founder/editor of Gourmantic, Cocktails & Bars and The Gourmantic Garden. She has been writing extensively about spirits, cocktails, bars and cocktail gardening in more recent years. She is a spirits and cocktail competition judge, Icons of Whisky Australia nominee, contributor to Diageo Bar Academy, cocktail developer and is named in Australian Bartender Magazine's Top 100 Most Influential List. Her cocktail garden was featured on ABC TV’s Gardening Australia and has won several awards. She is a contributor to Real World Gardener radio program and is featured in several publications including Pip Magazine, Organic Gardener, Australian Bartender and Breathe (UK). Read the full bio here.


  • I love walking through supermarkets in other countries.  The way they arranged the spices is just beautiful!

    • Akila, it’s an experience like no other. The only problem, it makes you want to buy items which you can’t take home!

  • Ahhh Carrefour, forgot about this giant. It tried to make its mark in Japan and Korea, unsucessfully though. Nice to see it’s doing well in Dubai and well stocked at that.

    • Cate, I wonder why Japan and Korea weren’t successful. I would have thought the Japanese would have loved a stock of French products.

    • Hi Heather and welcome 🙂 It’s a lovely tasting fish, isn’t it. I’d imagine in another 10 years Dubai would change even more.

  • Great post! I never pass up a supermarket when I’m traveling. There are still lots of things that I can’t find here in Korea (although getting much better), so when I travel I stock up on the things that I miss.

    • Nancie, thank you 🙂 I know I miss a few items I can’t get in Sydney and we have a good multicultural range of produce. Stocking up would be like Christmas shopping!

    • Thank you, Ms M! I love those commonalities! I can get lost for hours in Carrefour in Paris…

    • Stephanie, isn’t it gorgeous and sparkling? I would have loved to bring some things home with me!

  • I was traveling with my aunt when I was in college, and she taught me to always go in the grocery stores. In Norway, I remember being fascinated with all the food in tubes.  It’s still one of the first things I do. OMG – the grocery stores where I live are so boring – I’d love to have a carrefour! with live Australian mussels!lucky dubians? Dubyians? (do you know anything about Brisbane? My husband will be in Australia on business over the next couple of weeks, and has a free afternoon and evening there without customers:)

    • Margo, food in tubes? Sounds very intriguing! I too wish we had a Carrefour here, particularly with all the imports from France!

      I haven’t been to Brisbane but Mr G has on several occasions. He recommends the Two Rooms Café for great dining. Renowned Chef Matt Moran from Sydney recently opened Aria Restaurant Brisbane which is also worth a try for fine dining.

  • I went to dubai several times and in want to go there for my honey moon 6 month later:)
    LOVE dubai soooooo much…