Food Tour Review: Frying Pan Adventures

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Growing up I was pretty much my older sister Faten’s foodie protégé – we did some serious foodie damage together – I won’t go into that here, but she most certainly contributed to my love of all things edible. When she told me she was flying to Dubai to visit, I knew a culinary adventure would ensue. I began my research and quickly stumbled upon Frying Pan Adventures which hosts food tours through the souqs and streets of old Dubai, two bird’s one stone. Sign me up. 

We opted for the Little India on a Plate tour since Indian food seems to be all the rave in Dubai. We had no idea what we were in for, it was a 4 hour 45 minute grueling food marathon of the best salty, savory, sweet Indian cuisine the city has to offer. Our gracious and highly entertaining host, Farida, took us on a walking tour through Meena Baazar. Tucked away from the sky scrapers and manmade islands, nestled near the creek in Bur Dubai, Meena Baazar is one of Dubai’s oldest and most authentic neighborhoods.

At our first stop we had the pleasure of trying Pani Puri, a popular street food snack in India, a hollow water-filled fried crisp bursting with flavors of tamarind, chili, onion, chickpea and sweet date chutney. The bite size snack set the tone for the tour, it was crunchy, salty and sweet and literally exploded with flavor. Excited for our next stop, we trekked down the block to a tiny street vendor where we devoured fried potato bhondas and onion samosas with spicy green chutney while standing on the sidewalk. I went back for seconds but was told to pace myself, not my strongest suit.

For those with sweet tooth, our next stop will do the trick, a baker handed us a huge slice of fresh warm roti, a jar of ghee (clarified butter) and a bag of jiggery (unrefined sugar). We had to work for our buttery treat. I held the bread while Faten slathered the roti with toppings, rolled it up and cut it into pieces. You see where this is going, the journey was long and delicious.

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We carried on to try a traditional thali (pictured above), upon arriving we were asked to slip on shoe covers and hair nets and join the chef in the kitchen for a lesson in frying medu vada (savory doughnuts) and topi dosa’s (crispy crepes). Our thali was served with a variety of chutneys including coriander-coconut, tomato-peanut, chickpea curry and sweet-spicy tamarind, I was in sauce heaven!

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Thinking we were too full to continue, we mustered up the appetite to try the best chicken tikka I’ve ever had in my life, kulcha made in a traditional tandoor oven, Indian ice cream and washed it all down with fresh cane juice served with rock salt, lemon and ginger.

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After eating at 8 different restaurants, the drowsiness set in, we collected our food marathon certificates and stumbled home to drift quietly into a long food coma.

Much to my surprise, there were a few dairy free and gluten free dishes along the way, be sure to tell your guide about any food intolerance’s or allergies prior to the tour so she can advise what to eat or which tour is best suitable for you. Frying Pan Adventures is not for everybody, food tours are designed for adventurous foodies who like to try new things and are not afraid of spicing things up. Be sure to go hungry, wear fat pants and pace yourself – you may experience a food hangover the next day but your taste buds will thank you!

Having recently added new food trail options I’m curious to try the Food Lover’s Morning March. The Middle Eastern fusion breakfast tour includes a Abra ride across Dubai Creek and pit stops at the spice market, coffee museum and local fish market!