Like every country, Saudi Arabia also has a rich past with a glorious heritage. Food is one important part of a country’s heritage and speaks volumes about the land’s culture and tradition. In Saudi Arabia, due to extreme heat, scarcity of water and lack of fertile soil, growing vegetables and fruits was difficult. The natives usually relied on herding sheep, goat and camels, which played a significant role in shaping up the traditional Saudi cuisine.
With the advent of technology, Saudi Arabia has now been able to grow a lot of fresh produce, however, traditional Saudi cuisine remains unchanged till date. Authentic Saudi food consists of a lot of rice, milk and its by products, meat and flatbreads. With simple ingredients and less spices, Saudi cuisine boasts of richness in flavor.
When in Saudi Arabia, make sure to try out a few of these great Saudi plates. There are a plethora of restaurants from economical to high end that have on fare the following Saudi delicacies:
Kabsa is often touted as the national dish of Saudi Arabia. It is made of rice, meat or chicken, and a mixture of simple spices that give the dish a distinct smell and flavor. It comes with a side of tomato and coriander sauce, and a yoghurt and Tahini (sesame) dip.
It is usually made with all kinds of red meat like goat, cow, or camel that is slow cooked in a deep underground hole for hours with bare minimum spices, bringing out the flavor and giving it a unique taste. It is also served with flavored rice, tomato and coriander sauce, and yoghurt dip.
It is a pan-fried multi-folded bread stuffed with bananas and cream or mincemeat and egg. It is a popular dish among the locals and expats, and can be eaten at any point of the day — breakfast, snack or dinner. It is served with lemon and green chilli.
It is often known as the warm dish of winter in Saudi Arabia as the white rice is cooked with broth and milk, and served with big chunky pieces of grilled chicken on top and pickled lemon on the sides. It tastes best when eaten hot.
Commonly known as a pudding, it is one of the most popular dishes of locals for breakfast. It is made with overripe bananas, some stale bread, honey and nuts. It’s rich and fulfilling but compared to other dishes one needs to develop a palate for it.
A porridge kind of dish that is made in every household in Ramadan but is available in restaurants throughout the year. It is made of coarsely grounded wheat, meat stock, meat, rice, onion and a few spices.
7- Foul Tameez
A simple and delicious dish that can be found on every poor and rich man’s table. It is usually consumed for breakfast but if you fancy something light and fulfilling then foul tameez is a go-to dish. Tameez is a flat bread cooked with sesame seeds on top in a pit, and foul is slow cooked fava beans with tomatoes, onions and a few spices. It is generously drizzled with olive oil before being served. Unlike most dishes that can be replicated at home or found in other countries, foul tameez cannot easily grace and grease everyone’s cooking pot.
8- Al Baik
This is not a traditional Saudi dish but it is an indigenous brand that has overtaken the palates of the kingdom’s residents, citizens, tourists and pilgrims for the past few decades. It’s an all time favorite among people of all groups and seldom anyone says no to it. It can only be found in Saudi Arabia, and to be more specific in the Western Province of the kingdom. It is just fried chicken pieces served with fries and garlic sauce, but no one makes it like Al Baik.
Written by: Sadiya A Nadeem