Kerrygold butter at Lulu's Hypermarket

Fabulous Finds at Lulu’s Hypermarket

Lulu’s Hypermarket – undoubtly the best place to buy groceries in Dubai. And I’m not even paid to say that. Lulu’s tops the list of Dubai’s or Sharjah’s most affordable shopping that when you shop at say, Spinneys or Waitrose, you’ll smack yourself ridiculous when you get your bill, “damn, why didn’t I go to Lulu’s!”

We go to the Lulu’s branch in Qusais. The store caters to the huge Indian population so when you’re there, you might think you’ve been transported to India…except that there are Filipino ladies manning all the cash registers and the Nepali’s packing your groceries.

Recently, Lulu’s is trying to reach out to other shoppers other than the traditional customers who frequent there by selling products you would only normally find in posh-er grocery stores.

Here are my recent interesting finds:

There was a Mango Mania 2013 event going on last Friday – with a very catchy: “More than 100 varieties of delicious mangoes from around the world”.

BAM! You know me and my incurable addiction to mangoes. I was excited!

Mangoes at Lulu's Hypermarket

Would you believe, these mangoes looks so much alike but they are different varieties!

Mangoes at Lulu's Hypermarket

I was actually tempted to buy one of each variety.

Mangoes at Lulu's Hypermarket

When it’s mango season in India, I am always in trouble. It’s like I’m on a stocking expedition everyday, experimenting on a variety with the aim to try it all!

So far, my favorites are Alphonso and Badami. Then there’s this variety from Thailand which is pricey. I have to give up my other vices for that (chocolates, duh).

Meanwhile, at the baby’s section, I saw this, way down the rack:

Gripe Water at Lulu's Hypermarket

Gripewater for colic! Where was this when I was feeling so helpless colic with Benjamin?

Another great find: Ella’s Organic squished fruit smoothies that Ben loves so much.

Ella's at Lulu's Hypermarket

These are a few dirhams more expensive at Spinneys but only AED6.75 (US$1.8) at Lulu’s! I know what I’m going to bring on our long flight to Japan next month.

Next is what you won’t expect to find in grocery stores here: MOCHI!

Mochi is Japanese rice cake made of mochigome, a short-grain Japonica glutinous rice. The rice is pounded into paste and molded into the desired shape, often with sweet fillings. The ones sold in Lulu’s are green tea, red bean, peanut, durian(!) and black sesame. We first found it during the Singaporean Festival event but glad they continued to sell it now.

Next, I found a butter that tastes like…real deal butter.

Kerrygold butter at Lulu's Hypermarket

There are a lot of other interesting stuff at Lulu’s lately: Gluten free items, Onken natural biopot yogurt (way cheaper), etc, etc!

TIP: The best times to shop at Lulu’s is early mornings, especially on a weekend (Friday/Saturday here). I often leave the house before 9am because that is the only way you can maneuver your shopping cart without bumping on anyone or you can have your fruits/veggies weighed or getting fresh grated coconut without having to endure the cue like you’re in Disneyland!

Once I finish my grocery shopping and come out of the store at around 11am, it’s mayhem! And the roads just outside of Lulu’s? Traffic, traffic, traffic! All roads lead to Lulu’s on the weekend near noon time and Thursday night and all other nights beyond 8pm!

Dubai shopping

Late night shopping, a desert culture

Dubai Mall

I chat with my night owl friend Krista who lives in the US over random stuff. What’s nice about chatting with Krista is that in the middle of our conversations, I always end up saying, “Hey, I better blog about that!”

Here’s one of those I-better-blog-about-that stuff.

I mentioned to her that my husband sometimes work late hours and comes home when everyone’s already asleep. Well, not really sometimes. More like half of the month. There are so many times we don’t have him around for dinner or on Fridays when it’s my only day off. When he has night shift on weekends (that’s Thursday night to Saturday for you non-Middle Eastern people) he works till 1 am. There were days when his work shift was from 12 midnight to 9am. This was last year during the Eid holidays after Ramadan when Dubai thought opening the malls for 24 hours on weekends was cool. NOT.

Crazy, yes. So what does he do, what is his work that requires him to be there at midnight?

He works in a bookstore.


I can imagine Krista raising her eyebrows from the other side of the world. Thank God, she didn’t scream as she might wake up her very adorable twin girls. Or did you, Krista?

Anyway, why on Earth would a bookstore open that late at night?

You see, life is different in the desert. It’s hot at midday, like, 7-8 months in a year and people prefer to go out when the sun has gone to the other parts of the world. During Ramadan, malls are open beyond midnight because during the day when most of the people are fasting, they don’t want to go around shopping and would rather stay home and sleep.

Dubai shopping

It’s not unusual for parents to roam around the mall past 10 pm with strollers. Sigh.

But that’s the (shopping) culture in desert land, specially during the weekends. Most especially during the summer months where we have zero outdoor life and only have the temperature controlled malls for entertainment.

So there. If you’re in Dubai and have that urge to buy a book at midnight on say, a Friday, you can do so!

Malls in Dubai to open for 24 hours during Eid Al Adha

Eid Al Adha, also known as “the big Eid”, is expected to start on October 26 but festivities will not wait until that day. The Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, announced on a few days ago that shopping malls would be open 24 hours and the Eid in Dubai shopping festival is expected to last from October 18-28, with Eid Al Adha on October 26.

Sheikh Mohammed, quoted from The National:

We welcome our brothers and sisters from the Gulf region and across the world to experience the hospitality and unique cultural experiences that Dubai will offer this Eid.

It’s a given fact that most of the local population and tourists from neighboring Gulf states usually prefer shopping at night,  with mall visits tend to be after 10pm. So yay for them, I guess.

{I secretly wish though that instead of declaring a 24 hour shopping marathon, we lowly workers get an extra day off? Just sayin’!}

So…what will shopping at 4am look like? I won’t know because surely, I won’t be there.

The Dubai Mall confirmed it will remain open for 24 hours on Thursdays and Fridays. But on weekdays, retail will open only until 1am, food and beverage until 3am, and cinemas until the last screenings.