20 things to love about Global Village - in pictures

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We count down to the 20th edition of Dubai’s much-loved family fair by rounding up the things we’re most looking forward to this year.

Essential info: Global Village is on Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road, Dubai, and starts on November 3. It's open Saturday to Wednesday, 4pm to midnight, and Thursdays, Fridays and public holidays, 4pm to 1am. Monday is family day. Admission costs Dh15 per person. Entry is free for children under the age of 3, those with special needs and their companion, and guests above the age of 65. For information, visit www.globalvillage.ae

1. Arabic jewellery

Adorning everything from chunky pendants on freshwater pearls to delicate friendship bracelets made from braided neon-coloured threads and gold-plated knuckle rings, Arabic calligraphy jewellery from Lebanon make pretty additions to your jewellery box, not to mention great gifts for loved ones.

2. Moroccan lights

These ornately carved, sometimes bejewelled, hanging lanterns help set an intriguing ambience. Find them at the Morocco pavilion or at stand-alone kiosks throughout Global Village. But be warned – once you set up the first Moroccan light in your home, you’ll see one wasn’t enough, and you may find yourself returning for a whole set.

3. Indian slippers

Traditional rounded-toe slippers from India are comfortable (as long as you buy the ones with cushioned insoles), as well as the perfect way to jazz up an outfit. Called “khussas”, they come in beautiful jewel tones, often embellished with metallic embroidery or sequinned designs. Some ethnic versions even feature colourful mirror work and pompoms.

4. Tea sets

Shabby-chic lovers should hold on tight to wallets and willpower, because you’re likely to splurge when you see all of the tea sets on offer at the Turkey pavilion. Some are hand-painted with vintage flowers, while others are emblazoned with icons such as burqas and evil eyes.

5. Corn dogs

Americans, rejoice. The beloved corn dog is available at select food kiosks in Global Village. Fundamentally a sausage, like that in a hot dog, with deep-fried batter covering it completely, a corn dog is put on a stick, then eaten with mustard or ketchup. It’s a tasty, though sometimes stomach-turning snack, typical of American fairs and carnivals.

6. Flash tattoos

Followers of the flash-tattoo craze will be happy to learn that the shimmering gold and silver temporary tattoos are widely available at the China pavilion. From feathers, birds, infinity signs and Hamsa hand motifs, the flash-tattoo packets are significantly cheaper than retail prices in stores. There are even some UAE-exclusive designs, featuring the country’s flag and Arabic quotes.

7. Iranian sweets

When entering the Iran pavilion, you’ll notice that visitors often flock to the concession area, where large barrels and crates filled with spices and candies line an entire wall. Pashmak, a cotton-candy-like sweet, is sold in boxfuls here – you can even ask to taste the different flavours before making a purchase.

8. Antique silver

With tribal influences strongly influencing current fashion trends, what better way to sport the style than with authentic silver jewellery from Yemen? The chunky necklaces are sometimes decorated with beads and coins, and the bracelets and anklets have chirpy bells. You may even be tempted to pick out a silver dagger as an antique decor piece.

9. Afghani dresses

Dresses and tunics in bright reds, oranges and greens hang by the dozens in the Afghanistan pavilion. They feature tiered layers, multicoloured panels, bold embroidery details and embellished accents, and many are one-of-a-kind pieces.

10. Thai soup

Indulge your Thai cravings with some authentic tom yum soup. When you pass by the Yahya Tom Yam Kung restaurant, you’ll notice lines of visitors waiting to place their orders – but make sure to satisfy your stomach towards the beginning of your trip, because the restaurant is known to sometimes run out of soup later at night.

11. Karak chai

Tea-lovers and Eastern natives yearning for a taste of home needn’t buy a plane ticket or attempt to brew their own, because karak chai is readily available all around Global Village. Known as “masala chai” in South Asia, this tea is laced with spices like fennel, cinnamon and cardamom.

12. Egyptian talismans

From paperweights in pyramid shapes to turquoise wall-hangings decorated with traditional Hamsa hands, evil eyes, or complete with engravings of Arabic prayers, these Egyptian trinkets are must-buys for tourists.

13. Emirati desserts

Live demonstrations are always a nice touch, and this one is particularly heart-warming. Watch as Emirati women sit inside majlis tents near the main entrances, and make delicious pastry balls, covered in date-flavoured syrup.

14. Pakistani leathers

Known for creating quality leathers, Pakistan houses a variety of jackets, coats and vests among more ethnic accessories and textiles in its Global Village pavilion. Find deluxe beige motorcycle jackets or longer trench-like designs in blacks and dark browns.

15. Spanish espadrilles

The espadrille-footwear fad is still in vogue, and rather than getting your fix from the high street, look for some authentic pairs handmade in Spain. The soles are crafted from jute rope, and the canvas portions feature solid, printed and embroidered designs.

16. Dance performances

From dance sequences from the latest Bollywood films to traditional African tribal numbers, the centre stage at Global Village is a great spot to enjoy these cultural performances, while snacking on chocolate crepes, fresh kebabs or salty popcorn from nearby kiosks.

17. Side tables from Syria

If you’re looking for unique ways to decorate your home, pass by the Syria pavilion and take a look at the side-tables. Some are made from white perspex with unique laser-cut designs, and others are carved from wood, creating a unique balance between traditional geometric pairings and contemporary design.

18. Chocolate-covered fruit

Strawberries, pomegranates, bananas and melons dipped in Nutella make for extremely mouth-watering snacks. These snacks, available at food kiosks near the main entrances, will be very hard to resist. Take a cheat day if you’re dieting, or share with a friend, but don’t miss out on the chocolatey bliss.

19. The rides

Though they’re a bit pricey, we see the charm in taking a ride on the Ferris wheel for an elevated view of the massive fair and surrounding desert landscape.

20. Phone cases

From gigantic Hello Kitty silicone covers to smaller, plastic versions with funky prints, encase your mobile phone in one of the hundreds of kitschy designs available at country pavilions including China, Singapore and the Philippines.