This is your Dubai. Some of our emirate's most interesting residents tell us how they live their lives
Time Out Dubai staff
3Shahi Hamad, 29, boutique owner
My favourite shop: I’m a bit biased, but have to say 50°C [her store in Souk Al Bahar] because it’s my new baby. I love the fact that you can buy something there that makes you happy without breaking the bank!
My favourite restaurant: I’m more of a café girl. You’ll usually fi nd me at Dean and Deluca having a goat’s cheese salad
My favourite place: It has to be under the covers in my bed!
My favourite person: I’d usually say my mum, but this month I’m loving my brother. He recently moved so I’ve been catching up on quality time with him.
Shahi is owner of shops 50°C and Five Green. Call 04 340 2090 for more information.
2Danesh Al Daga, 48, textile vendor
My favourite shop: I like working in the Textile Souk- everyday is coloured with new people from all across the world. I think it’s the fact that you can walk outdoors and have a look at lots of different cloths that makes people come back.
My favourite restaurant: I love eating f rom the chapatti vensors in Bastakiya.
My favourite place: The Creek in the mornings. I love Dubai when no one is around. It has a quiet side it then. That’s sometimes quite beautiful.
My favourite person: My wife in Pakistan and my mother. I would get in trouble if they are not on top of my list!
1Majid Makhi, 67, spice seller
My favourite shop: ‘I love Saqr Zabeel near the Gold Souk because they have some lovely costumes for children. It makes me think my children – who are in India – would have loved to have these costumes.
My favourite restaurant: ‘I like the Indian sweets that are made fresh in the heart of Deira. They are everywhere and I love the smell and taste.’
My favourite place: ‘I like the Spice Souk when it has many customers! That means money for me!’
My favourite person: ‘My wife, who is a very special lady.’
4Badan Mohammed, 7, student
My favourite shop: I hate shopping because it makes me tired and it’s so boring. But when I go to Lulu Supermarket, my mum lets me have a Mijin stick (a lollipop), so it makes it more fun.
My favourite restaurant: I love Haagen Dazs in Satwa. I once asked to try all the flavors and they let me. But I don’t think that’s normally allowed.
My favourite place: I love playing near the Seashell Supermarket in Satwa- there’s a football pitch with real goals. But it’s getting a bit dark now.
My favourite person: My mum. She makes sure I am always happy.
Solomon Maghed, 9, student*
My favourite shop: My mum always says LuLu is the best shop in Dubai because it sells all the fresh vegetables we used to eat in Africa [Solomon was born in Johannesburg]. I like Gifts & Souvenirs because it sells Sponge Bob Square Pants stickers for Dhs1.
My favourite restaurant: I’m allowed a McDonald’s cheeseburger once a month when I get my grades from school. So I love McDonald’s, but I love spaghetti ‘maman’ [prawn pasta with his mum’s tomato and paprika sauce].
My favourite place: I play all winter in the backstreets of Karama with my brother’s friends. They are all older than me, but always make sure I’m involved. My friends all live in Umm Suqeim, so it’s hard to get to them.
My favourite person: Rafe is my brother and always looks after me, so it’s him. And my mum of course.
*Solomon is kneeling on the left
6Ginesh Mohammed Makibar, 33, abra driver
My favourite shop: I love watching people buy silk at the Textiles Souk. On a windy day, it looks amazing when the seller unrolls the material.
My favourite restaurant: I live off the okra masala at Kamat in Bur Dubai. It’s an amazing vegetarian restaurant and a real treat.
My favourite place: On my abra! I love the water, always have and always will.
My favourite person: My whole family. They live out here, so I am really lucky like that. There’s nothing better than mooring my abra at night, knowing I’m off to see my family.
7Minesh Mata, 39, shop assistant
My favourite shop: I know I should say my store, Malib Supermarket, but I love going to Lal’s Supermarket in Satwa. There’s just so many unusual foods there that I wouldn’t normally see. I’m fascinated by Filipino food.
My favourite restaurant: Everyone loves Ravi’s. I even like the curried brain fry there, although I think it puts a lot of Westerners off.
My favourite place: I wake up at 5am every morning to unload the new stock and that’s when Dubai is at its best – when it’s quiet and the sun is rising.
My favourite person: I miss my family in Pakistan. I wish they were here, but I need to keep sending money home, so I just have to keep working until my two kids (Mara and Rajan) are through school.
8Jane Karana, 34, tour guide
My favourite shop: There’s an amazing vintage shop called iSell in Bur Dubai. A friend told me about it two weeks ago and I’ve bought loads of cheap clothes there.
My favourite restaurant: I love The Noodle House. I always know I’m going to be well fed for a good price there.
My favourite place: I love winter days on The Big Bus – it’s when Dubai is at its fi nest. The blue skies are beautiful against the skyscrapers.
My favourite person: I can’t tell you that! That’s like asking me to choose my favourite parent or friend. I love them all!
My favourite shop: I don’t like shopping, my mum always makes me go with her to Carrefour and it’s not fun. But I do like the DVD section there because sometimes I’m allowed to buy one if I help carry the shopping. They’re cheaper than anywhere else.
My favourite restaurant: I love going to Round Table pizza in Satwa on a Saturday with my friends. I always have salami and extra cheese on my pizza.’
My favourite place: ‘Playing with my friends in the park behind Sheikh Zayed Road. The weather is amazing at the moment so I stay out till 9pm most nights.’
My favourite person: ‘My friend Javad. He’s been in Dubai for twelve years too and he’s brilliant.
*Tarik is pictured left in a yellow T-shirt Consume
10Nadim Hanran, 48, shop manager
My favourite shop: I love the new Khan Murjan souk in Wafi . It’s like being in a Yemeni souk but it’s all a bit newer. It even smells authentic in there with all the shisha pipes and Arabic perfumes.
My favourite restaurant: It’s the Lebanese Bakery on Al Wasl Road. Nowhere quite does a labneh and fl at bread like it. Ask for the ones that are still piping hot.
My favourite place: At Jumeirah Beach Park with my wife and three daughters. Even though I’m the only man, it’s a really fun day out and they all love playing football so I feel a little more manly!
My favourite person: My wife and three daughters. Family is always number one.
11Nisa Mala, 29, shop assistant
My favourite shop: I wasn’t really into shopping before I came to Dubai, but then I found Forever 21 and Bershka – I love clothes that make you look good for little cost. For some true bargains, I love the monthly Dubai Flea Market… I picked up a designer wardrobe there for under Dhs300 at the last one.
My favourite restaurant: My husband makes the best spring rolls on this earth. The only ones that come close are at Smiling BKK in Jumeirah.
My favourite place: It has to be Safa Park in winter. I love walking on the grass with no shoes on – it’s so much nicer than sand getting stuck in your toes!
My favourite person: My husband and his spring rolls.
12Sher Khan, 30, cobbler
My favourite shop: Of course it’s my shop Bright Ocean Trading. Where else in Dubai can you fi nd such an array of shoes? All hand made too! I really like Al Ghadeer Flowers down the road though. It smells great.
My favourite restaurant: I like home cooking – nothing beats it, nothing at all.
My favourite place: I miss India, so I love areas like Satwa and Deira where there’s lots of Indian communities, it makes me feel less home-sick. I’ve been here 11 years and it still doesn’t get any easier.
My favourite person: My mother. She has brought me up to respect others and that’s one of the most valuable lessons.
Call Bright Ocean Trading on 050 247 5264
Seemita Roy, Painter
My favourite shop: It has to be Kazim Stationery in Magrudy’s because it sells all the things I need to be creative – so we’re talking brushes, paper and paint.
My favourite restaurant: It’s defi nitely Pai Thai at Al Qasr. I love it because you arrive by boat and return by boat. The red curry is absolutely amazing.
My favourite place: My studio. I like spending most of my time here because it’s where I get my creativity from.
My favourite person: If I mention one person, I’ll get into trouble with all my friends! So I’ll say M.S. Hussein – he’s one of the top Indian painters in Dubai.
Contact Seemita Roy on 050 551 2694 for more information
14Mahmed Buti, 19, student
My favourite shop: There’s this amazing shop in Karama called OZI Trading that sells cheap designer furniture. If you buy in bulk it works out cheaper than IKEA.
My favourite restaurant: Without a doubt, it’s Al Mullah on Al Diyaffah Street. There’s no better shawarma in town and I love the fruit juices.
My favourite place: At home, away from all the traffi c, heat and humdrum of the city.
My favourite person: I’m all about my family. So, yeah, it’s them – each and every one of them.
15Marta and Jane Vecina, sisters and mothers
Our favourite shop: We love shopping in Karama, because there are so many good things for cheaper prices here. For kids there are amazing Spider-Man pyjamas and duvet sets for a total of Dhs50. Where else can you get that?
Our favourite restaurant: At home! There’s nothing like home cooking. Nothing.
Our favourite place: We’re both from Manila in the Philippines, so we’re used to bustling places – Karama at the weekends is good, when it’s not too hot.
Our favourite person: Marta: You.
Jane: No, you.
What about our husbands? Girls are best [infectious giggles ensue].
16Skye Kerr, 30, fashion designer
My favourite shop: For exquisite Parisian and Italian fabrics, Fabric Gallery on Galle Road is amazing and I can’t get enough of the entire Al Faheidi Street… Al Montaser Tex, Pavan Textiles and Karim Al Dar’s embellished fabrics are breathtaking.
My favourite place: XVA Gallery, for authentic atmosphere and unique pieces of art, is truly inspirational. Zen Yoga at Media City to re-focus, balance and totally zone out.
My favourite restaurant: I’m looking forward to the opening of Nobu at the Atlantis. My current favourite is Eau Zone at the Royal Mirage.
My favourite person: My boyfriend for his motivation and constant belief in me.
17Mohammed Ali Al Sayed, 56, store owner
My favourite shop: ‘I love the relationship I have with people here in Satwa through my work, so I’d have to say my shop is my favourite. I have run it with my family for 30 years now and it’s always full of friends and regulars picking up their weekly groceries. I’m sad we have to vacate the property in October. They are demolishing the entire block as part of Dubai’s big renewal process. It means we have to go back to Iran, so I’m sad about it. But you can’t stand in the way of progress.’
18Danielle Hosri, TV presenter
Favourite place: I like my free time away from everything to do with work and often head to Buddha Bar at the Dubai Marina or watch movies and just chill out with friends. I reached the city and began working on my birthday. [Dubai] has changed my life. It’s a place where you can fi nd all kinds of people with a different way of thinking. Even the concept of family differs in Dubai.
19Essa*, 37, fashion designer
My favourite shop: ‘I actually shop over the phone a lot – I fi nd if you say you’re from Dubai, the New York and London stores are seriously ready to help out! If not over the phone, it’s the menswear section of Boutique 1 and Stradivarius for denim.’
My favourite place: ‘I love Al-Amiri Textiles in Sharjah (06 572 3612). I’ve been using Mr Khalid for over eight years now.’
Essa’s designs are available at S*uce (04 344 7270), The Village Mall. *Essa only goes by his first name
20Baby Quey, 28, restaurant supervisor
My favourite shop: ‘I live in H&M and Bershka – they’re the only shops that stock my size… usually European clothes are too big for me, so I love being able to buy petite clothes. For food, it’s Lal’s in Satwa – it’s such a bargain.’
My favourite restaurant: ‘Of course it’s my own restaurant Leftbank in Souk Al Bahar. I feel so comfortable there and love the duck breast and the oysters.’
My favourite place: ‘Le Meridien hotel… Jules bar. It’s this really cool R&B Filipina disco bar where I go with friends. The best night is Friday.
My favourite person: ‘My boss – Justin Bishop… he has great advice and ensures that everyone feels happy in the workplace.’
Shot on location at Leftbank (04 368 4501), Souk Al Bahar
21Reham Ibrahim, 25, fashion designer
My favourite shop: ‘Forever 21 (and their accessories from For Love 21 too). I sometimes feel like I’m a walking Forever 21 mannequin with all the layering that I do, and the mixing and matching of all the different pieces together. In my opinion, nothing is impossible when it comes to personal style.’
My favourite restaurant: ‘MORE Café. I love everything there and I have an affi nity for the branch at Al Murooj Rotana as it’s where I started displaying some of my fashion items and paintings about a year and a half ago.’
My favourite place: ‘The beach. I always make sure to go and chill/tan/swim/play volleyball at the beach every Friday or Saturday.
My favourite person: ‘My mum. When I wanted to start my own fashion line, she’s the one who encouraged me to go ahead with it all and gave me a head start by actually doing all the sewing and stitching until I could fi nd a tailor.’
To find out more about Reham’s fashion line, go to
www.toksicdress.com Her paintings are on display at MORE café, Al Murooj Rotana, and a new painting collection is also on display at MORE Café, Gold & Diamond Park
22Sunny Rahbar, 30, gallery director
My favourite shop: ‘I love 50°C in Souk Al Bahar. There’s just so much cool stuff in there and I always come out with something unexpected.’
My favourite restaurant: ‘In winter its Flooka at the Dubai Marine Resort because you can sit outside on the terrace. And in the summer its Teatro.
My favourite place: By the sea
My favourite person: The guy who delivers my newspaper in the mornings
Shot on location at The Third Line gallery. Call 04 3411367.
23Dan Harrison, 27, personal trainer
My favourite shop: ‘Without a doubt it’s Pull & Bear. Why? It’s stacked with cheap street clothes that look quite good on. For food, it’s always roast chicken from Spinneys…’
My favourite restaurant: ‘Asado at The Palace. I love steak and it sells the best meat there. I eat it as rare as it comes.’
My favourite place: ‘Probably the shower – it’s the only place I get a bit of down time. Failing that, I love the Open Beach for a morning swim.’
My favourite person: ‘All my clients. I get the most out of them and they’re all mates too.’
Shot on location at U Concept (04 344 9060), The Village Mall. Contact Dan Harrison for advice on personal training or to book a session
24Raki Phillips, 29, hotelier
My favourite shop ‘Virgin Megastore and Nike Golf. They’re close to each other at the Mall of the Emirates. It also doesn’t hurt to have a great ice cream shop in between that draws me in every time I’m there!’
My favourite restaurant ‘My all-time favourite has to be Spectrum on One. I love the fact that I can combine so many different cuisines in one meal… I’ve also recently discovered a new Mexican restaurant at Jumeirah Beach Residence called El Chico that has a sensational burrito and queso dip.’
My favourite place ‘It has to be quad biking in the desert! I always seem to fi nd this one great sand dune that when I bike to the top (and if it’s a clear day), I can look back and see the city’s sky line. It’s amazing.’
My favourite person ‘Well I’ve got two – Johnny and Eddy are my best friends in Dubai. One is the ultimate bachelor and the other the perfect husband, so between the two of them I get a totally different perspective on life and relationships.’
25Karl Lagerfeld, 75, designer
My favourite island ‘Dubai is a fashion bud on the verge of blossoming into the next fashion hub of the world. The city is alive with culture and rich in personality, making it a perfect place for fashion and design to fl ourish. Isla Moda [Dubai’s fi rst fashion island, which Lagerfeld is designing houses for] has tremendous potential to be the style icon of the future and I intend on driving the island to high-style stardom.’
Shot on location at Isla Moda. Call 04 334 4550 for more information.