Wednesday, 14 December 2011

The wonderful world of Dubai Airport Free Zone!

An unlikely hidden gem- who thought airports had cheap food?

The path to settling in a new place is like the runway of a substandard airport. Some bits are smooth, then when you're least expecting it, it gets rather bumpy. Coming to Dubai has been no exception. I'd somehow ended up with no fixed address and living out of a suitcase! I was residing in the Layia Plaza Hotel in Al Qusais (review to follow), very nice, but eating in hotel restaurants can break the bank. What's a budget-conscious curry connoisseur to do? Luckily, I had had a tip off from a member of my Curry Royalty who happened to be a pilot- head for the Airport Free Zone. Good food and dashing pilots- what more can a lady ask for?

The Airport Free Zone, commonly known as DAFZA, is not the terminal building but a separate office block home to all manner of businesses. Thanks to its cheap cuisine, it is heavily frequented by airport staff and Qusais locals, offering an alternative food court experience to the malls. International chains like Subway are side by side with national chains and local one-off outlets, all happily nestled together in a foodie extravaganza. A tip for you- Subway offers the cheapest and most potent coffee! My outlet of choice is the Arabic buffet. At 28 dirhams, this is an all you can eat extravaganza complete with starters, main and dessert. Couscous, soups, salads and rice dishes make up the buffet, along with favourite dips like Mutabal, complete with the delectable Umm Ali for dessert. If that doesn't float your boat, go to the Indian outlet next shop along with its bountiful thalis, bargainous biryanis and masala chai to wash all those spices down with! The biryani barely moves your bank balance, costing only 15 AED, the thalis approx 22. Or, if you're having a break from the spicy stuff, you can always grab a six incher from Subway. Never have I been so enthusiastic about a food court in all my life.

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Hi Vindaloo Kings and Queens!