For a taste of the real Dubai beyond the glitz and the skyscrapers, we love Frying Pan Adventures, a walking tour lead by 2 long-time resident sisters. Their 4-hour “Middle Eastern Food Pilgrimage” takes you to parts of Deira (Old Dubai) that travelers—and even many locals—rarely visit. Along the walk, you’ll get your fill of traditional delicacies from all corners of the Middle East: Syria, Egypt, Palestine, and the Emirates. We especially loved the flavorful pistachio-flecked Syrian booza ice cream, made with mastic. Ask them for their recommendations of where to buy the freshest spices at the Deira Spice Souk (they definitely know their way around). Be on the lookout for Iranian saffron, coriander, mint, or dried limes. Word to the wise: if you buy pungent spices, be sure to triple-wrap them before they go into your luggage; otherwise, your entire travel wardrobe will smell like the Spice Souk by the time you get back home. Aside from the Middle Eastern Food Pilgrimage this family run business offers several food trails and photography experiences that will fulfill a variety of individual palates.
Get off the beaten path and immerse yourself in culture by booking one of these walking tours. You can select which tour you'd like to do depending on the time of year and your interests, and your reservation will let you know where to begin your journey.