For many, the word 'Dubai' is synonymous with 'shopping' and in a fast-moving city of superlatives, focused on having the latest, biggest, best, most extravagant version of everything, this one-time fishing village has become a world-famous shopping destination.
In this region, going to the mall is considered a family activity, so malls tend to be popular gathering-places (especially on Friday and Saturday evenings) with restaurants and entertainment venues as well as retailers.
The opulent Mall of the Emirates contains 560 international brands, including a large Carrefour and the somewhat unexpected but exceedingly popular Ski Dubai snowpark.
The Dubai Mall, next to the Burj Khalifa (the tallest building in the world), is the largest shopping mall in the world, claiming to be 'home to just about every major fashion brand in the world - as well as upmarket British supermarket Waitrose.
The mall is a tourist destination in its own right with a reported 75 million visitors in 2013.
Visually imposing and impossible to navigate without a map, it also has a range of attractions inside, including the Dubai Fountain, a waterfall, an ice rink and the Dubai Aquarium, with the world's largest viewing panel.
If this weren't enough, the 'Mall of the World' project has been announced, an ambitious, climate-controlled leisure district with hotels, shops, entertainment and healthcare, which will beat Dubai's own record for the world's largest mall, although there's no opening date given yet.
Dubai has many malls but some others of note include the consistently popular Deira City Centre, the world's largest themed shopping mall Ibn Battuta Mall, with shopping 'courts' celebrating the travels of the famous Arabic Explorer Ibn Battuta, Al Bustan Centre, Al Ghurair City, BurJuman Centre, Dubai Marina Mall, Festival City Mall, Mercato Mall, Mirdif City Centre, and Wafi City Mall.Jumeirah Plaza, built in 1994, and Lamcy Plaza, dating back to 1997, are smaller shopping centres, targeting mainly a 'budget' customer base, although they were the first of their kind in Dubai.
Today many locals prefer to shop at these smaller malls as they are often less crowded and more easily traversed.
For those looking for a more traditional experience, there are a number of traditional souks in the city, including the Gold Souk in Deira and the Souk Madinat in Jumeirah.
Both Spinney's and Waitrose stock a wide range of imported groceries, including a dedicated area for pork products.
Other popular supermarkets in Dubai include Choithrams - which also sells pork - and Géant Hypermarket.
Alcoholic drinks can be bought from African & Eastern (A&E) and MMI Dubai.The Dubai Shopping Festival is an annual shopping event in Dubai, running from mid-January to mid-February, with over 2 300 participating retail outlets.