While coffee is the biggest caffeine-seller in some parts of the world, the UAE has a booming and incomparable tea culture.
One of the most popular of teas (chai) in the UAE is called ‘karak chai’, which roughly translates to strong tea and is a blend of black tea, milk, sugar and cardamom [and additional spices to taste], usually served in a styrofoam cup.
Where can you get the best ones from? We’ve listed out a few options for you to try:
1. Al Hara Cafeteria, Karama
A favorite amongst local residents for some inexpensive grub and tea. Infact, they’re so popular they’ve opened a second branch within arm’s reach of the first! Since it’s located right near a parking lot, which has ample of space, you can idle about and watch all the hustle and bustle around you.
Watch out: Seating is limited.
A number of hot snacks such as shawarma and burgers are offered, but it’s a hit-and-miss.
The service can be slow in the evenings.
Perfect for: Casual reunion with long-lost friends.
Tips: Other specials we would recommend also include disco chai and zaafrani chai – Do check them out!
2. Al Ismaily Cafeteria, Bur Dubai
The petrol pump premises adjacent to the New Gold Souk building in Bur Dubai has been home to Al Ismaily cafeteria for over 15 years. Through the years, the taste has remained true and the cafeteria has continued to bring old and new customers from around Dubai.
Watch Out: The service can be slow in the evenings.
Perfect for: A casual catch up with friends.
Tips: Other specials we would recommend are the cheese potato rolls/sandwiches for a quick and easy bite.
3. Karak House, Downtown Dubai
Karak House is a home-grown Emirati concept serving up local specialties with a twist. The presentation of the karak chai at this place is unique as the beverages come in a jar alongside two glucose biscuits (oh, nostalgia), both of which are served on a small wooden platter.
An added bonus is the location and the view [We promise this is the only one that’s not street-side].
Watch out for: A bit pricey compared to popular tea cafeterias
Perfect for: High-end karak chai date
Tips: If you’re feeling a bit adventurous, they have a variety of unique beverages such as ‘karak style lemon tea’ for you to sample.
4. Raju Omelet, Karama
Although this cosy venue might be more well-known for its eggs and omelette varieties, don’t miss out on trying their karak chai!
Watch out: Several staff don’t speak English.
Can get crowded in the evenings and on weekends.
Parking can be pretty difficult to find during the weekends.
Perfect for: An inexpensive morning brekkie.
Tips: Regardless of a preference of cooking style, you’ve got to try their classic dishes – they’re egg-cellent!
5. Duniya Al Sham, Satwa
Duniya Al Sham is a no-fuss type of place, where you might end up spotting a luxury or a run-down car. Their karak tea is one of their best sellers.
Watch out: There’s no indoor seating
Perfect for: Winter months
Tips: Try their manakeeshs. We’ve heard they’re as good as Al Reef Bakery’s!
No list is complete until you say it is. Any places you’d like to recommend to us for Karak Chai? Tell us in the comments below.
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