Saudi Arabia is one of the best countries in the Middle East to witness rich culture and historical wonders. Also, one can relish food in Saudi Arabia to witness a burst of flavors as Saudi cuisine is full of delectable dishes which have been inspired from other cuisines. From scrumptious taste of saleeg to sweetness of Ma’amoul, Saudi Arabia is known for its different dishes, desserts and drinks. From famous restaurants to streets in Saudi Arabia, you will find these dishes almost everywhere in the country. So, check out this blog to find out what all you should try in Saudi on your next trip.
Top 9 Saudi Food To Relish For A Burst Of Exotic Flavors
Saudi Arabia is a country which is widely known for its culture and scrumptious food. One must definitely try out these 9 best Saudi dishes on their next trip to the country.
Saleeg is Saudi Arabia’s traditional food that is loved by most of the local people and is served to guests as a gesture of hospitality. It is like a rice porridge cooked in milk, having a thick consistency and is served with your choice of meat especially chicken. The rice is boiled in hot water in a special broth and then the boiled rice is mixed with milk, ghee or butter until it reaches a desired consistency. Saleeg is usually served in a traditional plate called tabasi and on the top of the dish is placed a piece of meat.
Main Ingredients: Milk, Rice, Chicken, Ghee, Butter, Onion, Cinnamon
Where to Try: Al Khayam, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
One of the most popular Saudi food, Martabak is a pancake like dish which can be stuffed with different ingredients like grounded meat, vegetables, curry, garlic, onion, pepper or egg depending on the location or preferences. Martabak is famous with different names like muttabak, matabbak, metabbak, mutabbaq and is also quite famous in other destinations as well like Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Yemen and Kuwait. The final dish is then seasoned with coriander and mint for extra aroma and flavors. It needs expertise to prepare Martabak as the roti needs to be very thin.
Main Ingredients: Grounded meat, vegetables, curry, garlic, onion, pepper or egg, flour, onion, ghee
Where to Try: Al Nakheel Restaurant, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
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Shawarma, a dish that originated from the Levantine cuisine is now served in almost every country of the Middle East including Saudi Arabia. Shawarma is usually made with lamb or mutton but can also be made with chicken, beef, or turkey which is cooked in a vertical rotisserie for hours until it is fully cooked and then it is marinated in different ingredients. Shawarma can be found at different places in Saudi Arabia including the streets, fancy and local restaurants. Saudi cuisine is incomplete without adding shawarma to the list of best dishes to try in the country.
Main Ingredients: Choice of meat, lavash, cinnamon, vegetables, clove, spices
Where to Try: Mahboob, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Harees is one of the most famous Saudi traditional food that is especially consumed during the Ramadan month. The dish was originated in Saudi Arabia but soon became popular and a favorite dish in all the Middle Eastern countries. Harees is made of wheat which have been soaked overnight, mixed with different Arabian spices and meat. Its consistency is generally thick but not very thick, somewhere between porridge and a dumpling. Harees dates back to the Armenian period and is a favorite among the local people of all the Arab countries. Every country has their unique style to prepare Harees with choice of ingredients.
Main Ingredients: Wheat, Arabic spices, meat, cinnamon, sugar
Where to Try: Al Nakheel Restaurant, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
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The national food of Saudi Arabia, Kabsa is a rice dish that is prepared with lamb, chicken, fish or shrimps and is cooked in different Arabic spices nutmeg, cardamom, saffron, cinnamon and others to enhance its flavors. Rice is soaked in water that was used to cook meat or fish which blends all the ingredients well and gives an aromatic touch to the dish. Though, Kabsa was originated in Yemen, it became quite popular in Saudi Arabia and also a national food of the country. It is served in a large plate and is usually eaten with hands.
Main Ingredients: Rice, Lamb, chicken, fish or shrimps, Arabic spices
Where to Try: Najd Village, Riyadh
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The origin of Tharid is said to have been before the pre-Islamic times and it is said that it was Prophet Muhammad’s favorite dish. It is a famous food in Saudi Arabia which is made from lamb stew, vegetables and Arabic spices and served on barley bread. This dish is served during the holy month of Ramadan and also in the evening after the daily prayer. The best way to consume tharid is to dip the barley bread in the broth of meat and vegetables.
Main Ingredients: Lamb stew, barley bread, vegetables, spices
Where to Try: Al Nakheel, Jeddah
Falafel which is said to be originated in Egypt, is one of the best Saudi Arabia dishes that is loved by natives of gulf counties. Falafel are chickpea balls which are made mixing onions, beans, chickpeas, herbs and spices together, deep-fried and served with hummus, garlic dip or tahini dip. It is topped with pickled vegetables and is served in pita sandwich that enhances its flavors even more. Falafel being a popular dish in Saudi Arabia is served at almost all the restaurants and also on the streets. It is very easy to prepare falafel as it is prepared with every day ingredients and can be eaten at any time of the day.
Main Ingredients: Chickpea, beans, onions, flour, garlic
Where to Try: At any restaurant or street in Saudi Arabia
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One of the best things to do in Saudi Arabia is trying out the desserts served in the country. One of the well-known Saudi sweets is Ma’amoul which is a crunchy and buttery sort of a dessert that comes in different shapes and sizes. These shapes are given by placing the semolina flour batter in a mould with a filling of pistachios, almonds, dates or walnuts along with cardamom and cinnamon. Ma’amoul are made a few days before Eid and also during the time of Eater celebrations.
Main Ingredients: Semolina flour, cinnamon, pistachios, cardamom, almonds, dates or walnuts
Where to Try: At any bakery in Saudi Arabia
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If you are looking for best food in Saudi Arabia, then shakshuka should definitely be in your bucket list. People of Saudi Arabia like to have shakshouka during the breakfast time. It is prepared by poaching eggs in a mixture of tomatoes, onion, garlic, olive oil, peppers and different spices like nutmeg, cumin, cloves, paprika and others. The dish dates back to the Ottoman period when it was cooked with vegetables and minced meat but today it is cooked with egg and tomatoes. Tabasco sauce can also be used for its preparation to make it even spicier.
Main Ingredients: Poached eggs, tomatoes, onion, garlic, spices, peppers
Where to Try: At any Middle Eastern restaurant
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We know going through this blog must have mouth watered you. So, you should not wait further and book your air tickets to Saudi Arabia to relish the authentic flavors. With so much to offer on the plate, we are sure you won’t be disappointed with the culinary delights offered here. Food in Saudi Arabia is full of spices, flavors and also has health benefits. From trying out tharid to national dish of the country, kabsa, there is no dearth of delectable dishes here. So, get ready to on a gastronomic voyage in Saudi Arabia on your next trip.
Some of the best desserts to try in Saudi Arabia are:
Saudi Champagne is the most famous drink to try in Saudi Arabia which is a non-alcoholic beverage and is made mixing different ingredients like orange, apple, mint, lemonade, lemon, 7up and ice cubes.
Some of the most popular restaurants in Saudi Arabia are:
- Nozomi, Riyadh
- Al Majlis, Mecca
- Lusin, Riyadh
- Al Khayam, Jeddah
- Al Nakheel, Jeddah
- Spazio 77, Riyadh
- Khayal Restaurant, Jeddah
Some of the best and must visit cafes in Saudi Arabia are:
- XOXO Cafe Roastery
- Medd Café and Roastery
- The Art Café
- Cup and Couch
- Vogue Café
- First Crack
- Capri Cafeé
Martabak is a pancake like dish which can be stuffed with different ingredients like grounded meat, vegetables, curry, garlic, onion, pepper or egg depending on the location or preferences. It is quite famous in all the Middle Eastern countries especially Saudi Arabia.
Martabak and Saleeg are the best dishes which one should definitely try when in Saudi Arabia.
The national dish of Saudi Arabia is Kabsa which is a rice dish made reusing the water that was used to cook fish or meat. This way, the spices and other ingredients leaves an aromatic touch to the dish, enhancing its flavors. Kabsa can be prepared with lamb, fish, chicken or shrimps as per individual preference and is cooked in different spices nutmeg, cardamom, saffron, cinnamon and others to enhance its flavors.
Some of the best restaurants to visit in Riyadh with family are:
- Zafran Indian Bistro - Turki Square
- Zafran Indian Bistro - Levels Mall
- Azure Restaurant
- Najd Village
- Romano’s Macaroni Grill
Some of the must-try street food items in Saudi Arabia are:
- Malabari Parantha
November to February is considered the best time to plan a trip to Saudi Arabia when the temperature is mild and comfortable for different activities.