Worth the Drive: Safa Park Foodie Market

Back home, one of our favorite family weekend outings was to the local farmer’s market. Most of the time we’d come home with a basket of veggies, but that wasn’t necessarily the main attraction. It was the atmosphere; cruising an outdoor market, sampling unique homemade goodies, mingling with locals, catching some homegrown entertainment, and of course, the delicious fresh produce. It was the highlight of our spring and summer weekends.

When we moved here I felt like those experiences were lost. Who wants to spend more than a few minutes outside in the heat of Abu Dhabi summers? Not me. So we resigned to let go of the idea of weekends spent outdoors with our neighbors. We do visit the occasional tables set up here by Ripe to get our local organic produce, and while they certainly do try to create a “farmer’s market” atmosphere, it just isn’t the same.

We heard about the Safa Park Foodie Market in Dubai and took a drive one weekend to check it out. To say that I felt like they had imported a piece of my own home is an understatement. And even better, it had a distinct UAE flavor to it, which I love even more. The setting is just perfect; beautifully situated underneath a grove of palm trees that tower over the stands, providing welcome shade and atmosphere. “Foodie Market” is the perfect name, because while there is a large local produce stand, it’s not exactly a Farmer’s Market. The main attraction is all the stuff that I love the most: locally baked good and fresh roasted coffee, unique gourmet food, and handmade crafts. And as is the signature of life in the UAE, it’s well attended by a very diverse crowd of folks. Go to buy your weekly veggies, or eat breakfast and have coffee, or go for the shopping. I’ve even gone and left with nothing more than the enjoyment of wandering around and taking in the scene.

There’s usually a performer playing guitar and singing, and sometimes they have camel rides for the kids. You’ll find the market near the entrance at gate 4. It’s on Fridays from 10 to 2pm, a perfect start to the weekend and definitely “worth the drive”.

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