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Top Saudi Arabian Foods That You Should Not Miss

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Due to its desert climate, Saudi Arabia has cultivated a unique and flavorful cuisine over the centuries. The Saudi food culture reflects the past nomadic and tribal lifestyle of the kingdom's people. Traditional dishes make use of basic yet sublime ingredients like meat, milk, spices, rice, dates, and fruits.

While Saudi Arabian cuisine has adopted modern influences, locals still cherish and preserve its authentic flavours as a matter of pride and hospitality. If you have a Saudi Airlines Booking and you’re visiting this amazing destination, you should look forward to an array of delectable dishes served with warmth and respect.

Typical Saudi Food

Traditionally, breakfast in Saudi Arabia is a simple affair consisting of qahwa (Arabic coffee), bread with cheese, dates, fruits, and camel milk. Saudis tend to start the daylight, saving their appetites for a hearty lunch of kabsa (spiced rice), grilled meats, roasted chicken, tangy salsas, or fish with rice.

Dinner is often a light meal like a chopped salad, a wholesome soup, and a classic Saudi platter. Popular beverages include fresh mango and orange juices, different teas, and fragrant Arabic coffee.

Don't Miss These Traditional Saudi Dishes

Tharid – The Prophet's Favourite

Packed with spices and eaten on thick barley bread, tharid is said to have been Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH) favourite meal. Tharid, which has pre-Islamic roots, is still very well-liked, particularly when it comes to breaking the Ramadan fast. Today, different halal meats and seasonal vegetables are used to make it.

Harees – Wheat and Meat Delicacy

Harees, a traditional Ramadan dish, is made with meat and finely pounded wheat. This modest yet filling meal originated in Saudi Arabia and has since spread, although with regional modifications, across the Middle East. Individuals persist in experimenting with the initial components and techniques.

Kabsa – The National Dish

Saudi Arabia's signature rice dish is kabsa, which was influenced by Persian and Indian biryanis. In order to make a tasty stock, it entails boiling rice with meat or fish. Common kabsa proteins include lamb, shrimp, chicken, camel, and fish, all of which are presented beautifully on a tray with a side salad.

Dajaj Mashwi – Arabian Chicken Barbeque

These skewers of barbecued chicken are a mainstay of Saudi barbecue. Before being perfectly grilled, boneless chicken breasts are marinated in a zesty mixture of spices, salt, lime juice, garlic, and herbs. Garlic dips and mixed salads are served with dajaj mashwi.

Maamoul – Stuffed Cookies

Ma'amoul are delectable semolina biscuits filled with walnut, pistachio, and date fillings. These delicious treats in the form of domes are made for special celebrations and holidays, sprinkled with powdered sugar, and served with Arabic coffee and tea.

Gursan – Hearty Meat Soup

Gursan is the perfect example of the Arabian people's love of hospitality. This hearty soup has thin, crunchy slices of bread and bits of pork in a delicious broth. Serving it communally, it's a beloved national favourite.

Hanith – Authentic Abha Dish

Originating in Abha, hanith is renowned for its flavour and unusual preparation method. After being buried in a pit filled with marakh tree leaves and charcoal, the mutton is covered and simmered for two to three hours, absorbing amazing smoky aromas. Edible garnishes include nuts and resins.

Kozi Samak – Yogurt Jeddawi Fish Curry

This creamy Jeddah speciality consists of hamour fish cooked in a rich stew made with yoghurt, tomatoes, onions, and saffron. Serve the mixture over rice or pasta and top with nuts, raisins, and cooked eggs for interesting sweet-sour overtones.

Shawarma – Classic Middle Eastern Street Food

The renowned shawarma is an essential component of any Saudi culinary guide. Although they originated from Ottoman Turkey, meat wraps are a popular dish in the Arab world. A portable supper of vegetables and garlic sauce paired with shaved meat from a vertical rotisserie is the ideal combination.

Influences on Saudi Cuisine

Spices, rice, dried dates, and black limes were all ideal for the nomadic lifestyle since they were robust but lightweight. Camel meat and milk were also staple meals since camels were readily available. While Islamic dietary laws prohibit alcohol and pork, the halal code governs animal sacrifice and blessings. These ingredients give traditional Saudi food its distinct taste.

A Riyadh Food Tour

The best place to sample Saudi Arabian cuisine is in Riyadh, the nation's capital. As a customary greeting, start your day with a fragrant cup of Arabic coffee (qahwa) and some tahini or dates. For lunch, try the well-known kabsa rice dish, which is seasoned with cinnamon, saffron, and cardamom and served with soft meats like lamb or chicken.

Eat some fresh dates as a snack; dates are significant to Saudi Arabian religion and culture. No supper is complete without the ubiquitous mabshoor bread to mop up stews and curries. Make room for decadent desserts like sugary saffron rose-flavoured flour halwa puddings and creamy layered pastries known as kunafa.

An Evolving Tradition

Over decades of cultural blending, Saudi food has changed continuously, despite its origins in old Bedouin customs. The Arabian Peninsula saw a wide range of gastronomic influences from India, Persia, Turkey, and other regions due to its advantageous position on the spice routes. For instance, the famous rice dish kabsa is inspired by Persian and Indian biryani cuisine.

Particularly in cosmopolitan centres like Riyadh and Jeddah, Saudi Arabian cuisine has adopted more international tastes and fusion sensibilities in recent decades. Modern methods and foreign components are combined with traditional Saudi tastes by trendsetting chefs in an experimental way. But home-cooked dinners continue to centre on cherished family recipes that have been handed down over the years.

Coffee and Tea Rituals

Enjoying the wonderful coffee house culture of Saudi Arabia is a must-dine experience. Arabic coffee serving customs are deeply ingrained in history, including elaborate dallah pots, intense brewing techniques, and small cups without handles. Saudis also take great pleasure in the popular Arabic tea with Chinese influences that are spiced and mint-flavoured.

These customary drinks are closely associated with Saudi hospitality and social interactions. When accepted as guests, visitors may anticipate a warm welcome along with steaming glasses of gahwa or shay and dates. Engaging in these group coffee/tea customs offers a deliciously genuine experience of the Kingdom's past. 


Saudi Arabian food will surprise and please you at every turn, with dishes ranging from deep stews and distinctive sweet sweets to fragrant rice pilafs and juicy grilled meats. On your next vacation to the Kingdom, make sure to savour these classic flavours—you'll be happy you did!

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