UAE climate, culture, Chinese community and Chinese food options – all you need to know
The UAE has attracted global citizens to work and live here over the years – just last year, in 2022, Dubai and Abu Dhabi were ranked among the top 10 expat cities in the world. As a Chinese citizen, you might be looking to move to the UAE for work. However, relocating is not an easy decision to make, and you might want to have some questions answered beforehand.
If this is the case, you can refer to answers to some of the most commonly asked questions below.
The UAE has mainly two seasons – summer and winter. Summer season usually starts from May and ends around October, with average minimum temperatures of 26.4 degrees celcius, average maximum temperature of 45.8 degrees celcius and average mean temperature of 33.3 degree celcius, according to Air Temperature report for the period from 2003 to 2021, published by the UAE’s National Center of Meteorology (NCM). Although it can get hot and humid outside on a summer day in the UAE, you still get to enjoy air-conditioned facilities such as shopping malls, restaurants, cafes, bars, buses, subway trains, amusement parks and cinemas. You can even spend time in a ski resort indoors during summer in Dubai, if you’d like.
Then the six-month winter arrives. The average minimum temperature is 14.8 degrees celcius. The average maximum temperature is 36.6 degrees celcius and the average mean temperature is 23.7 degrees celcius during this period of time, according to NCM. You can wear what you commonly wear in spring or autumn in China, without having to carry bulky clothing that is normally necessary in winter in most parts of China. Rainy days tend to happen more in this season in the UAE and when it does, be sure to have a jacket with you – it can get a bit chilly.
If I must use one word to describe the culture in the UAE, it’s ‘cosmopolitan’. More than 200 nationalities live in the UAE for work and/or education. According to u.ae, the official website of the UAE government, the population of the UAE grew to about 10 million by the end of 2021. Out of this, the number of UAE citizens is around 1 million.
You will find people from South Asian countries such as India and Pakistan, the Middle East and African countries such as Egypt and Lebanon, South east Asian countries such as the Philippines and Vietnam, east Asian countries such as Japan and Korea, European countries such as the UK and France, the American countries such as the US and Brazil.
Consequently, authentic cuisines from these countries can be found across the UAE – you can choose to have an Emirati breakfast in the morning, Japanese sushi for lunch and Brazilian barbecue for dinner. Or you can opt for an English breakfast when you wake up, Indian curry at noon and Vietnam pho bowl at night … the list goes on.
Different festivals are also celebrated in the UAE like Eid al-Fitr, Diwali, Christmas and Chinese New Year.
So, if you are someone who is interested in different cultures, the UAE does offer the right place for you to discover. Meanwhile, if you are also the type of person who would like to stay close to the Chinese community and Chinese culture, you can do so as well.
The UAE hosts one of the most advanced transport and infrastructure facilities in the region. The state-of-the-art transportation network includes: taxis, Metro, Tram, buses as well as water transport.
Take Dubai as an example, you find a world-class motorway system that is well maintained and connect different areas seamlessly. The same is true for all Emirates. And heavy road traffic that often occurs in big cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, blocking you on the road for a few hours, is very rare in Dubai – in fact, I have never experienced one in six years. Without lengthy tailbacks, you can travel 30 kilometres in under 30 minutes by car. In addition to private cars, you can always get a taxi either directly on the street, or through an online app.
Modern-looking Metro and Tram trains, as well as buses linking different areas throughout can also be used, in case you are opting for public transportation instead of cars, as your means of commute. Check out our guide on seven areas with easy access to Dubai Metro and Tram. In other Emirates in the UAE, too, you can easily get public buses.
Besides, hosting the world’s busiest airport at present, the UAE allows you to travel to hundreds of destinations across continents globally, with direct flights, which can save you significant time.
The UAE sees one of the fastest growing e-commerce markets in the region. With an established logistics network here, you can order a long list of goods produced both locally and internationally, including clothing, groceries, furniture, cosmetics, sport equipment and electronics, as well as services such as domestic cleaning, maintenance and salon service. You can even order to get petrol filled in your car without having to drive to the gas station.
Moreover, ranked among world’s top five digital governments, the UAE truly thrives to simplify governmental procedures for its residents. As an example, I renewed my driving licence online in under 10 minutes and received the physical copy in one day by mail.
As mentioned previously, if you want to stay close to the Chinese community and Chinese culture in the UAE, you can do so as well.
With a whopping number of more than 300,000 Chinese people in the UAE, it is common to come across a Chinese person on the street, in a mall, or even in your residential building. In particular, you will find areas filled with authentic Chinese stores, restaurants and cafes, with a large Chinese population. In Dubai for example, these areas include International City, Deira and Dubai Investment Park (DIP), where you can go and enjoy authentic home flavours from different regions in China and a strong community vibe.
If you prefer to cook an authentic Chinese meal at home, you can even order ingredients and groceries imported from China to your doorstep in the UAE. Or if you prefer, you can visit these supermarkets and shops.
Here is a list of places you can visit, to get Chinese ingredients and groceries in the UAE:
Wemart has its own green farm in the UAE to grow vegetables that are commonly seen in China, including Chinese leek and white radish. It has the largest Chinese supermarkets in the UAE by far with a comprehensive variety of daily products imported from China. The daily groceries you get here are the same as what you get in China, including Chinese brands of cooking ingredients, tea, beverages, snacks, electronic products, cosmetic products and toiletries.
They have three locations in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, as follows:
You can also download their app by searching ‘wemart’ in your Google Play Store, Apple Store or Huawei AppGallery to order goods from there.
You will find plenty of supermarkets that are marked with names in Chinese characters, visit any of them and you will find authentic Chinese ingredients and groceries.
Although Kibsons does not have physical shops at present, you can find fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, sauces, dried noodles and dried mushrooms imported from China on their online shop.
You can also locate a few Chinese ingredients in big hypermarket chains such as Carrefour, Spinneys, Waitrose, Choithrams and Lulu hypermarket. When you head to their ethnic foods section, you will be able to shop for Chinese cooking sauces such as dark soy sauce and light soy sauce, as well as dried noodles such as mung bean vermicelli.
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