Stopping to have a cup of tea in the UAE and a quick snack is a slightly different prospect from what I am used to in Scotland.
Here tea is served from small cafeterias usually about 3x6m2 in size with a small seating area for customers at the front of the shop and a partition behind which tea, coffee, juices and fast food items such as burgers, falafel sandwiches and sambusa (samosas) are prepared.
Here there are no shortage of places to stop off at if you are a tea jenny or need your morning coffee fix on the way to work. Stop off being the operative words. In the U.A.E. you do not need to find a parking space, go to the shop, take a seat and wait to be served. Leave the comfort of your air conditioned 4×4? In this heat? Are you crazy? Here you just park out front of the cafeteria, toot your horn and a waiter kindly comes out from the shop to take your order. If there are no parking spaces infront of the cafeteria then there will always be another tea shop along the way to stop off at. One word of warning though – I can’t speak for the coffee but be prepared to like your tea strong!
When I first arrived in Ajman, before I had my residents visa and had a place to stay and cook for myself, these small cafeterias saved my life. The Green Light cafeteria on the Corniche or the beautifully named Misk of Tea, close to the new marina, kept me going in carrot juice, omlette or Kheema Poratta (Paratha), the odd avocado juice and of course tea, whilst kindly remembering – no sugar!
The Green Light cafeteria make the best avocado juice it’s like an avocado ice-cream-dream. Zad and Hatab for their lentil soup and 3 dirhams for a falafel sandwich at the Corner Falafel cafe is hard to beat.