According to Wikipedia, the name Bur Dubai literally translated to Mainland Dubai, a reference to the separation of the Bur Dubai area from Deira by the Dubai Creek. But as my father explained carefully, the 'Bur' in Bur Dubai comes from the Hindi word Paar meaning across. Since in the Arabic language you cannot pronounce 'Pa', words instead pronounced 'Ba', Paar Dubai thus became Bur Dubai.

I love that story. Mostly because the Indian & Emirati worlds blend together so effortlessly in one word. Simple, yet so poignant. And very telling of an expatriate habit: to adapt wherever you go.

The large Indian community has called Bur Dubai home away from home for years, much like many other communities in the UAE. Yet, apart from cheap good food, gold and the electronics market, there's not much else people know about it. I wanted to change that.

These are stories of passion, loyalty, sheer hard work and determination. But also of individuals that have shaped Bur Dubai. Every nook, every alley, hiding an anecdote you haven't heard before. 

Welcome to my Bur Dubai.

"Would you ever change your hairdresser? No!"


Arun Bhai came to Dubai 25 years ago with his brother, Lila Bhai. After working for years at a salon, they decided to start on their own. Borrowing from friends and family, Al Marzooq Hairdressing was thus born. Today, he runs the barber shop with his nephews where the loyal clientele are children of the 80's and every haircut is a priceless conversation. 

Visit Al Marzooq for a haircut, a cup of chai or just a great conversation located in Meena Bazaar, behind Pak Liyali Restaurant, opposite Astoria Hotel Main Gate. Or just ask anyone for Arun Bhai.



"When your profession is your passion, you're never tired".


If you hang around Bur Dubai long enough, you will notice it's a frenzy. Both visually and sonically. Until you take a walk down Al Esbij Street and suddenly the incessant honking, people talking, shouting, spitting (yes that happens) melts away. You're transported to the 50's, Jim Reeves crooning 'We Thank Thee' and you're charmed right there standing on the footpath. That's how you know you've arrived at Meher Recording, the oldest and still standing music shop in Bur Dubai, owned by Intesar Salim.

Drop in to say hello or talk about Jim Reeves and Don Williams, you won't be disappointed. Located on Al Esbij Street, Behind Astoria Hotel, Bur Dubai.