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Qout Market: Saturdays Well-Spent on a Rooftop

Celebrating pleasant weather from November through to April, the Qout Market (which translates to “food” in Arabic) opens shop every first Saturday of the month. In its second year, Kuwait’s largest artisanal farmers’ market can be found nestled between skyscrapers on the rooftop of an open air parking lot. Farm fresh produce, baked breads, cheese, and jams are found in abundance while the aroma of flowers and homemade goods (such as handmade candles and soaps) add to the ambiance of the outdoor event.

Noaf Hussein, the founder of Pretty Little Things (PLTQ8), and Budour Al Qassar, founder of Oven Experiments, came up with the idea of creating a platform to feed the food awakening movement and to introduce people to alternative lifestyles. “When we launched the idea, we thought it would be more of a niche interest but we received a strong response,” said Hussein while talking about the early days of Qout Market. “It just goes to show that it was the right thing to do at the right time. Had we done it a year or two year earlier, it might not have had the same effect. It created an awakening and people are more willing to try out new things to better their lifestyle.”

At Qout, the term “local market” doesn’t necessarily apply to Kuwaitis alone; it pertains to more than 20 different nationalities living in Kuwait. “Every community—be it Greek, Mexican, or Indonesian—that resides in Kuwait has the chance to be here, giving market-goers a variety of experiences that they might not have had the chance to try before,” added Hussein. “In a way, it unites people.”

The market has launched two new initiatives—Farm Table and Nourish—to give people the chance to visit local farms and enroll in a series of free lifestyle and food workshops. “Shoppers come to the market and are exposed to so many international foods and products and hear words like kale and quinoa being thrown around, but they don’t fully understand what they’re buying. With the new initiatives, we are trying to educate consumers.”

Making the most of the outdoor market, the organizers also set up the PLTQ8 Pop-Up Shop, which features a new mix of regional brands every month. February came with a treat of colorful, embroidered separates by Mochi, feminine pieces by Bambah Boutique, and whimsical gemstone jewelry pieces by Chameli.

The Next Qout Market will take place on Saturday, March 7th at the Arraya Center Rooftop Car Park.

—Nouriah Al Shatti

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