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Traditional Foods to try in Saudi Arabia

The Authentic Arabian Flavors


Kabsa is a rice dish that has been influenced by Indian and Persian biryanis. It requires making stock by cooking fish or meat along with rice and spices in water. People often use lamb, shrimps, chicken, camel and fish meat to prepare the dish. The dish is served piping hot on a large platter with salad.

Hanith – Authentic Abha dish

Local dish of Abha, Hanith is famous not only for its flavors but also for the unique preparation method. While preparing the dish, mutton is put into a pit layered with charcoal and Marakh tree leaves. The meat is left to cook for two to three hours with the pit being covered by a thick cloth. Nuts and resins serves as the garnishing for this local delicacy.

Dajaj mashwi – Saudi Chicken barbecue

Made with boneless chicken breasts, this is a popular barbeque dish in Saudi Arabia. The thin slices of meat are marinated with spices and grilled on a barbeque. The marinating mixture includes salt, paprika powder, ginger, lime juice, onion, garlic, black pepper and oil. Arabians serve it with a side mixed salad and tasty garlic dipping sauce.

Tharid – Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) favorite

Popularly known as a spicy lamb stew, Tharid is consumed with thick barley flatbread. Many teachings in the Hadith and legends say that Tharid was among the top favorite dishes of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The dish finds its origination in pre-Islamic times. These days many prepare Tharid with different kinds of halal meats and seasonal vegetables. It is one of the most enjoyed dishes after Muslims break their daily Ramadan fast in the evening.

Harees – Delicious wheat and meat dish

A plate of Harees is a staple and most popular dish in Saudi Arabia among Muslims fasting during the month of Ramadan. The dish consists of meat and coarse wheat. The dish originated in Saudi Arabia and spread widely in Middle East and rest parts of the world. Over the time people have experimented with the authentic ingredients and recipe, cooking it in a few different ways and giving it various names.


Originating from the Ottoman Empire era, Shwarma is greatly famous in the Middle East and nearby countries. It uses skewers to cook meat to perfection. Depending on the preference, people use chicken, lamb, beef, turkey, or other kinds of meats. The dish gets its flavors from the slow cooking process, where the meat is cooked in its fat and juices.

Typical food in Saudi Arabia

Traditionally breakfast in Saudi Arabia is often simple. People consume qahwa, bread with cheese, dates, fruits, camel milk, etc. in the morning. They start their day with light breakfast and eat heavy lunch. Generally, Saudi Arabians eat Kabsa, grilled meat, roasted chicken, tangy salsa or a fish delicacy with rice for the lunch. For dinner, people often choose a light chopped salad, a sumptuous bowl of soup, and Saudi platter. The top preferred beverages in Saudi Arabia include fresh mango and orange juice, different types of tea, and coffee.

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