Sunday, June 30, 2013

Riyadh Date Market-Dates Galore!

The date season is just around the corner and so is Ramadan, the month when Muslims consume the most dates during the whole year! Millions of Muslims all over the world will be breaking their fasts with a date or three. Dates are extremely healthy in so many ways, they deserve a post on their own just to explain all their amazing health benefits..For now I will tell you where to go in Riyadh for a real date fest! The Riyadh date market!

The Riyadh date and vegetable market also referred to as the date souk is located off exit 14 is THE place to go date-shopping!

Most of the dates at the market are sold by the kilo or by the box but you can always request a small portion and the vendors are happy to let you sample all the different varieties available. For a first timer it can all be really confusing, there's just so much variety.
 When dates turn yellow from the original green color they are called rutab. That's when they're really crunchy and a bit sour. This is the favorite kind of date of many but personally I prefer the sweeter and softer ones called sukari. After dates start ripening and changing color they're called tamr.
 Before I came to Saudi-Arabia, I never realized there were any other kind of dates than those brown ugly looking ones :)  Dates come not only in a rainbow of different colors, but they also vary in size, moisture, texture and sweetness. There are dates used for pure delicacy purposes, some are used to make juices, paste, flour and syrup.

There are dates available here all year round but the fresh dates begin to come into season in the summer when the dates ripen enough in the trees. You might have seen the date palms all over the city now have green fruits hanging from them and they're often covered with nets to protect from pests.
Visitors are welcome to sample the dates and some vendors will offer some Arabic coffee with them. Don't forget to haggle!

Directions: Heading South on the Eastern ring road, take exit 14 to the your right. Then take a right from the lights and continue on the service road until you get to the main entrance of the marketplace area. There is a huge vegetable and fruit market next to the date souk. The entrance to the date souk is on the left hand side, you can enter from any of the many gates on the side or the main entrance where the guards are sitting.This is where you can stop for some complimentary Arabic kahwa and of course, dates!!


LynHzb said...

this post is great ! the pictures are so lovely, i wish i could come and visit that market.
but here's a question; ajwa dates are being sold here at very high prices (minimum £15 for 500gr). they say it is because there is moer demand than supply and it is hard to grow them nowadays. is that so? or is the price being kept high because of the desirablity of ajwa dates due to them being mentioned in the hadith (Sahih Bukhari: Vol 7, Book 65, Number 356 and Vol 7, Book 71, Number 664 and Sahih Muslim: Book 23, Number 5083)? are they more expensive than other dates as well at your end?

keep blogging! love it!
salaam alaykum


LuvAlaska said...

Those dates look amazing. I can only seem to get a hold of mejdool dates here in Australia, which is disappointing as there is so much variety out there. I would go gaga in that souq lol

Laylah, could you do a post on your Islamic reversion? Such as how you first discovered Islam, reactions from family and friends etc. How do you balance your Islamic lifestyle with relationships with your Finnish family? But I guess this wouldn't be much of an issue if they were completely accepting, however.

You briefly touched on the back lash from so called 'friends' in the 'hate mail hall of shame' post, and I'm fascinated by how it happened.

I understand if it's too private to blog about, as it's a highly personal matter.

Anonymous said...

Salam, Layla!

how are you? Loved the photos and the text.
I would like to visit the souk and buy the dates...
I wrote a poem abou the vision of an arabian woman about love. Take a look at it, it is written in portuguese and english too.

Layla said...

LuvAlaska thanks for the suggestion, I have been wanting to write that post for a long time, just never got around to writing it (same goes for 50 other ideas I have in my head but no time to implentent!

Life's just too busy right now with the kiddos so small :)

I really hope I can get the chance to sit down and write it for Ramadan.
I can just quickly say that from my family's side they've all been accepting and most really didn't even care that much since it's a private issue we don't discuss such things in our family or society at all.
Friends are/were another story altogether though..

Layla said...

Hi Jamilah, the dates you asked about are more expensive here as well, and it's because they're the ones mentioned in Hadith and are from Medinah. The kg prices vary according to quality but can go up to over 100sr/kg!