(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) Th plenty of scope to negotiate a trip to Awir fruits and vegetable market allows you to easily hoard up for a fortnight and is a guaranteed money saver.Custard apples grapefruits nectarines melons litchees and mangoes are just some of the fruits available at the wholesale fruit and vegetable market on Al Awir road near Ras al Khor Industrial area 3 on the outskirts of Dubai. The pity is that the market wears a deserted look these days. With the Eid break just over and the weather hardly ideal the broccoli and carrots and mangos and melons are often going waste discarded at the end of the day if not sold for very little. STRIKING A GOOD DEAL ... fresh vegetables in large quantities are available here. — KT photos by Rahul Gajjar
With plenty of scope to negotiate a trip to this part of the town allows you to easily hoard up for a fortnight and is a guaranteed money saver. Opposite the Union Co-operative Society the market is an area the size of an aircraft hangar and besides onion-potato-tomato-green chillies and lemon has a supply of exotic perishables. Peaches from Tunisia papaya from Sri Lanka rambutan from Thailand not that you don’t get these at the supermarket nearest to home but there’s a crucial difference in price besides the pleasure of seeing row after row of bright vivid colours. Broccoli green carrot red the browns of potato and the onions in purple bags are a delight to the eye.
Business it’s evident is down in the market. Ramadan is not the best month for fruit and vegetable sellers. Many of them are looking forward to the passing of even August. They say Eid and the week after is a time when not too many people visit the market. But they know they’ll return once the break is over. People return to Dubai and the weather improves. Customers will pick up in another week vendors believe. Mohammad Bakhtiyan a Bangladeshi vendor at shop No 183 pays a rent of Dh2500 a month to the shop keeper. Whatever he earns above this is his. He usually manages to take home Dh500 but last month he made only Dh2000 in total. “Not good” he says.
Bargaining is a given. The vendors are equipped to deal with it. One confides saying that if a customer is being unnecessarily whiny they increase the price just to get back at them. ‘If you’re nice to us and ask nicely we’ll be nice to you too’ seems to be the perfectly reasonable line of thinking here.
Mohammed Ali Akbar another vendor who came to Dubai from Bangladesh 12 years ago and who only sells melons says it’s good now that Eid is over. There will be less waste. Otherwise if people don’t buy they have to throw out their produce after trying to peddle it for the lowest price they can get which is even a dirham at times.
A box of Sindhri mangoes of 6 to 7kg from Pakistan can be bought for anything from Dh17 to Dh20 depending on the bargaining skills of the buyer. Some vendors will quote whatever they feel like. One pineapple for Dh5 one apple for Dh1 — – same as a watermelon. It isn’t their custom to sell single pieces. And if you do want just one pineapple then they will make sure it’s worth their while. They are keen you buy and are willing to meet you half way. Some vendors will follow you and insist you pop a grape in your mouth before refusing to pay Dh10 for four punnets of grapes. Onions and potatoes are always sold in bulk as are tomatoes – by the crate. This helps the restaurant guys who usually visit the market early in the mornings 8am to get the pick of the pile.
Spellings on the shop chalkboards are very often incorrect and endearingly so. Plums will be written Pulams. Cherry is Cihrry. Nectarine is Nactren and Guava is spelt with an o. Apple and kiwi though are less problematic to spell right. Porters in yellow hang around in the hope to make some money carting your bags of loot to the car/taxi. But even they at this time are quite idle. It’s a pity how inaccessible the place is by public transport. And unless you live close to Awir just the cost of a taxi to and back could equalise the cost of the fruits and vegetables bought. But those worries will disappear for those with cars. It’s a good idea to car pool with friends/family and to also be able to split the veggies bought in bulk.
But regardless of how you get there it’s a good idea to dress down carry change; not a good idea to be flashing crisp pink notes of Dh100 and carry a few cloth bags to sling on your shoulder to lug those heavy 4kg bags of potatoes. And to ensure the potatoes don’t crush those custard apples always carry another bag. -nivritikhaleejtimes.com
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