the best place to buy souvenirs like dried dates and yemeni honey in Qatar
Update: the shop is temporarily closed for renovation!
Best way to Fal Elkhair Natural Honey Shop
Right in Souq Waqif but still offbeat and easily reached by car or taxi. When walking either from the underground parking or the traffic signal opposite Fanar (the building with the spiraling tower) just walk towards the main alley of Souq Waqif. Right before the open space narrows down to the actual street, look to your right to find the small corner shop with bright illumination at night. There is a café with big TVs, often showing football matches right across from “Fal Elkhair”.
Many kinds of dried dates, yemeni mountain honey, teas & spices
Dates are not really offbeat in Qatar, neither is yemeni honey, yet this shop is different from the many other shops that sell similar products. Nowhere in Doha can you find better dried dates than here. And despite the even bigger rarity of real Yemeni Sidr Honey during the times of unrest in the country of origin, this shop brings in small batches of Sidr honey every week. Apart from the quality you will be greeted by the amazing staff, who will generously offer you any type of dates they sell to try. They literally offer you half a kilo of dates to try for free, on the condition that you eat in the shop. We wonder who could ever eat this many of the sweet dates.
Because they sell the dates loose, you can ask them to pack a mix of different kinds of dates to take home. If you you are just visiting Doha briefly, they might give you a generous discount too. This is a very good example for the extraordinary hospitality of yemeni people; as a traveller, you get an even better treatment, than if you are a resident. Why don’t you try greet and order in arabic? This will be much appreciated by the staff. Needless to say, the friendly vendors make a lot of people regular customers there – thus the shop can get crowded due to its small size. Just go there in the late afternoon or early evening and you might find an empty shop.
Offbeat ideas to try
If you are a date-connoisseur and familiar with the varieties Majdoul (or Medjool), Khlas, Fard, Deglet Nour or Sukkari already, try
- Dates rolled in arabic coffee or coconut and stuffed with almonds
- Dates rolled in honey, sesame and aniseed
The last two are sold by the box and make a great gift for the loved ones back home. If you are leaving the middle east after Doha, try out:
- Instant gum-arabic drinking powder
If you want to try the medicinal effects of yemeni honey, tell them you need Yemeni Sidr Honey “mixed”. (With black-seeds, turmeric, ginseng, royal jelly, ginger and other spices). This can get quite expensive, but there is anecdotal evidence of some grandmothers who reported improved memory, reduced inflammation and more vitality. However, even if you don’t care for any of the claimed therapeutic properties of Yemeni Sidr Honey, it is a tasty treat in any case.
The date – a unique fruit
Before visiting the middle east for the first time, our idea of a date used to be different. A hard, dry, sweet fruit, that you had to chew a long time to ingest. In Qatar we got to know the fruit in its various stages of ripening. This opened up a whole new taste to us.
The first stage for green dates is called ”kimri“ in Arabic and is quite firm. In the second stage, called “khalal”, the dates lose some moisture and increase their sugar content remarkably. In the third stage, called “rutab”, the dates become even softer and even sweeter. These two stages happen gradually, so then it is possible to find dates, that are partially in two stages at the same time – crunchy and tart as well as soft and sweet. The fourth and last stage called ”tamar“ means full maturity of the dates. In the final stage, dates contain around 70% of sugar, which naturally preserves the fruit from bacterial growth. The rest is made up of dietary fiber, tannins, vitamins and minerals.
This is how some desert people could survive on dried dates and milk alone for thousands of years.
Wikipedia: Date Palms