Souk Waqif: An Oriental Bazaar Exactly Like in Aladdin Animated Film.
Souq Waqif, Doha, Qatar / 11 мая 2018
I hate markets. If there’s something that I hate even more, that’s oriental markets.
Mud, crowd, heap of garbage; everyone’s yelling, skinging you and dragging somewhere…
‘Oh-oh-oh, do get it! Oh, sea bass! You take two! Just great!’
Now imagine a market in sharp contrast: an oriental one, clean to sterility, where they not just shampoo the pavement, but also wash it with sand, and then still rub it with stones. Where people, in perfectly clean white robes, keep silent, do not drag you anywhere. Where you can enter any shop and try everything, have a look, put it back and, when you leave without buying anything, at most you’ll hear:
Can you imagine that? So, this is it.
A few quarters of modern replica accurately reproducing Assassin’s Creed I, just as you remember it, up to micro-details.
A wide street full of food, where you must visit https://rere.vision/2018/04/05/souq-waquif-decide- you- know- -lux-s /, and you can also go to Tajine and Royal Tandoor; they also have fast food outlet all around the market, here and there: viscous Turkish ice cream, kebabs, curry, sweets, some crap, hookahs, tea, again some crap, flatbread, salads, meat, meat, and meat…
And in the curly alleyways, it’s all just like the classical author has it:
«»What a cheerful little print!» exclaimed the lady who was agreeable in all respects, gazing at the dress of the lady who was simply agreeable.
«Yes, it is very cheerful. Praskovia Fedorovna, however, thinks that it would be better if the checks were somewhat smaller and if the polka dots were not brown but blue. Her sister was sent some material—it’s so bewitching that one simply can’t express it in words. Just imagine: teeny-weeny stripes, so-o-o narrow, as narrow as human imagination can picture; the background is blue, and running across the stripe is a design of little eyes and tiny twigs, little eyes and tiny twigs, all over…. In a word, it’s beyond all compare!”» (c)
Something like that, but it concerns everything: rags, cloths, textile, spices, gold, oil perfumes, Iranian products, fruits, dates, birds, fishes, rabbits, fancy chests from Yemen, Moroccan teas and lamps, and a huge amount of goods called «some kind of unknown crap» (c).
They’re officially open 24/7, but it’s not exact here; most of the places are open 8-13, break, and then 16-22, though there’re some enthusiasts who are keen on 24/7.
01 Iranian narsharab. It has nothing to do with the one you get here, except the color. The sauce always remains the sauce without turning into sweet bitumen.
Well, and the taste… this is a gastro-weapon: metal, sweetness, iodine, sourness, and also some spicy feedbacks – all of these mixed and archived in order to explode in your mouth afterwards. In our media Iran is an endless war, so here is another bomb.
Price: 70 rials (about $21) for 800 g.
02 The next treasure is oil perfumes: there’s an entire street about them here; though, by the way, I’d recommend to avoid it and to look for certain places scattered here and there, owned by some old men-alchemists.
To buy faceted, transparent, crystal, like Christmas tree toys, bottles (70 rials) and pour them in right there, trying each kind.
Starting from some easy, yet nice, vanilla-floral mixes, and up to Arabian rough options that smell of blood and raw wood.
30-150 rials for 5 ml.
For my liking, this is a perfect gift.
03 The dates. Oh, yes – exactly those ones. Somehow, in my life, just like love, they passed by: practically, I haven’t been to Africa or Israel, and the dry black oversweet poo-like ones you find in our stores have never awaken any respondent sentiments in my soul.
We were lucky to get there exactly at the moment when at the square next to the Souk they raised a few hundred meter pandal that attracted our attention as if we were some magpies. So what? Upon entering, we found out that all this ENTIRE “VDNKh”… was selling dates!
Fucking 18,563,322 kinds of dates!
And we started tasting them: black, greenish, olive, sallow, pine-apple reddish, transparent like amber, on branches and in boxes, poisonous-sweet and dense creamy (though not sickishly sweet), nuanced, with unfailing viscous-fondand feeling.
Overall, the thing was re-invented for me, like, for example, morning ricotta in Italy, for those who’ve had it only outside the Italian borders.
If you are less lucky and there’s no pandal, do not worry: everywhere around the bazar, in the very same Iranian food outlets, you’ll find them at the price of 15 rials for a box depending on the kind and quality. The most important thing is to try. Try them – here it is allowed!
04 Qatar sweets at 60 rials per kilo, made of nougat, nuts, marmalade – unlike their Turkish relatives, they aren’t sickishly sweet; you aren’t ashamed after having had 4-5 pieces of them.
Seems like they are natural. At least one can unmistakably tell which one is of pomegranate, or of tangerine, or of rose, etc.
They also have good, if you’ll pardon the word, organoleptics: they’re pleasant to look at and to hold in hands.
05 And the last thing about the bazar: trivial as it is, the spices. Any kind, whatever comes to your mind, dealt in sacks, baskets, fancy boxes, like high-quality saffron, or in colored sharp cones, there’s everything in here (c).
And, most importantly, unlike at other Asian (and not only) countries, you can get just a pinch and go further; no one will grab your hand (I hate that), yell “buy more, my friend!!!” (I really hate that), or tout you inside a shop (hate that) – it’s like you’re somewhere in Tokyo, at Omotesando, in a boutique: everyone keeps silent and waits for your orders.