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10 Dishes To Try In Saudi Arabia: The Best Of Arabian Food

Saudi Arabia Food

Saudi Arabia makes up for a vast expanse of the Arabian Peninsula. Influenced by the kingdom’s ancient customs and age-old heritage, the cuisine of Saudi Arabia is an amalgamation of tastes from various countries in the peninsula. The dishes mostly come from Egypt and Yemen, updated and revised to serve the local people. For tourists, there are many dishes to try in Saudi Arabia irrespective of the kind of flavours and spices they prefer. The range of flavours is vast and offers ample choice for different palates.

The Arabian food contains generous portions as it acts as a sign of hospitality and warmth. It creates a sense of sharing of abundance. Saudi Arabia cuisines’ most common food components include spices, rice, lamb, chicken, potatoes, dates, bread, and yogurt. The dishes are bursting with flavors, and subtle tastes of each ingredient present in the dish. Before we delve deep into the taste of Saudi Arabia, it is must to know that all the food products are Halal, and consumption of pork is not permissible. Let’s look at 10 popular dishes from the traditional Arabian cuisine, popular street food picks, and some heavenly desserts.

Traditional dishes to try in Saudi Arabia

As most parts of Saudi Arabia are deserts, their cuisine is suitable for the nomadic and caravan trade lifestyle. The dishes typically have lamb, chicken, rice, and camel milk. They find their original taste from the spices transported in and out through age-old established trade routes. However, the cuisines and the dishes have been tweaked to suit the modern lifestyle.

1. Kabsa – A Wholesome Meal

One of the most popular dishes to try in Saudi Arabia, Kabsa is consumed by the poor and rich alike. It is a mixture of rice, meat, and some sides. The dish has many variations depending upon the occasion. People consume Kabsa daily for lunch and dinner in Saudi Arabia.

2. Tharid – A Spicy Stew

Traditionally, tharid is a lamb stew that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) highly appreciated. The spicy stew gets its consistency from barley bread. With changing times, tharid has been experimented with numerous meat, vegetables, and bread types.

3. Mandi – A Rice & Meat Meal

Mandi is a rice dish and boiled meat cooked in an underground pit oven using various spices for taste. The dish gets its iconic yellow color from turmeric. It finds its roots in Yemen but has become quite popular in KSA; definitely one of the top dishes to try in Saudi Arabia.

4. Saleeg- Roasted-Meat & Creamy Rice

Finding its origin in Hejaz, Saleeg has become a traditional rice dish of Saudi Arabia. The dish consists of roasted meat and short-grain rice. The meat is first boiled in water mixed with numerous spices. Afterward, the rice is boiled and served piping hot with butter and roasted meat on the top.

Suggested Read: Traditional Food In Saudi Arabia: The Authentic Arabian Flavors

Street food in Saudi Arabia

Smoking roadside ovens and the smell of spices are common sights on the streets of Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom has various original and inspired street food. The dishes provide quick munching options eaten as snacks or in lunch and dinner.

5. Batatis – Rich & Delicious

Batatis or french fries sold by hawkers in Saudi Arabia has local spices and flavors. Topped with hot sauce, the fries provide a cheap yet flavorful option for grabbing a quick snack while roaming around the streets of cities in Saudi Arabia.

6. Martabak – Savoury Pancakes

Martabak is a pancake with egg, pepper, garlic, curry, and onion stuffing. There is no limit to the type and quantity of the fillings of Martabak. Herbs like mint and coriander maintains the freshness of the pancake. It is extremely proper street food in Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Yemen, and Malaysia.

7. Mantu – Dumpling Delight

Mantu is small dumplings filled with meat or vegetables. Though the food finds its origin in Asian countries, the flavors of Mantu also appeals the taste buds of the people of Saudi Arabia. Hence, the dish has become popular among the locals.

Suggested Read: Top 7 Fast Food Restaurants In Makkah For Quick Meals

Famous desserts of Saudi Arabia

Arabian desserts are undoubtedly the best dishes to try in Saudi Arabia. The main ingredients of Saudi desserts are dates, wheat, and honey. As the ingredients are natural, they have high nutritional value if served in small quantities.

8. Umm Ali – A Festive Pudding

A must try Arabian delicacy, Umm Ali is a traditional Egyptian dessert that is famous in the Arabian Peninsula. It is a delicious pudding made from puff pastry, sugar, raisins, milk, and local spices. Served on special occasions like Ramadan, the pudding is a staple dessert in Saudi Arabia.

9. Basbousa – A Coconut Cake

Basbousa, is a cake that has become popular among the people of the Middle-east, Armenia, Greece, and Turkey. It is a well-known Egyptian dessert cake that contains a semolina base mixed with coconut and is soaked in a sweet syrup. Served in small quantities, Basbousa is a treat to the sweet tooth.

10. Knafeh – Nutty Indulgence

Knafeh is a dessert made from Kataifi (spun pastry) that is soaked in sugar-based sweet syrup. Layered with various types of cheese or cream, nuts, and raisins, locals love the cake. The dish finds its origin in Egypt and the Levant, which spread all over the middle east.

From desert to mountains, Saudi Arabia has a vast Kingdom. The huge area and different topography impact the ingredients that greatly influence its food culture. Also, as many countries surround Saudi Arabia, it has evolved into a food paradise of the Arabian Peninsula. The country is not just famous for its cuisine and food. To quench the thirst of locals, Saudi Champagne is an excellent beverage consisting apple, orange, lemon, and mint. It is a non-alcoholic drink that goes excellently with any type of food. We recommend it with your favourite pick from any of the above recommended dishes to try in Saudi Arabia.

Suggested Read: 15 Eid Dishes To Indulge Family And Guests: From Appetizers To Desserts

Dishes Of Saudi Arabia FAQs

What are the main ingredients of Saudi Arabian dishes?

Saudi Arabian dishes mostly contain rice, spices, potatoes, dates, yoghurt, bread, lamb, chicken and other meats.

Which are the main spices used in Saudi Arabian food?

To make food rich in taste, people in Saudi Arabia use a variety of spices which include black pepper, saffron, cloves, bay leaves, nutmeg and black lime.

What is Saudi Champagne?

It is a non-alcoholic drink made from Mint Springs, apple Juice, oranges, lemons, Apple, 7up, Lemonade, & ice cubes.

Which are the famous Saudi Dishes?

There are many popular Saudi Dishes, some of which are Kabsa, Tharid, Mandi, Saleeg, Batatis, Martabak, Mantu and more.

Which are the most popular desserts of Saudi Arabia?

Umm Ali, Basbousa, Knafeh, Baklava, Zainab Fingers, Balah El Sham, Luqmat El Qadi, Rice Pudding, Qatayef are some of the most loved desserts in Saudi Arabia.

Pratyush Srivastava

I think, every human is a beautifully concealed epoch in the making with God to unravel it at the perfect time. Hence, synergizing with distinctive individuals in search of an interesting story is my favorite work as a writer and creator.

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