Saudi cuisine, the dishes you should taste

Saudi cuisine

Table of Contents

The popularity of Saudi cuisine is increasing worldwide, thanks to the variety of aromatic spices, juicy meat stews, and delicious breads and sweets.

Most of the foods you find in Arabia today have been around for thousands of years, when nomadic tribes and peoples had only their livestock and crops to feed them. Hence, Saudi cuisine is steeped in history and tradition, with many foods in Saudi Arabia influencing many other countries and cultures.

Dining etiquette is very important in Saudi Arabian culture. When you eat dinner at home or in a restaurant, you most likely eat “Saudi style,” which means you use your hands to pick up and eat the food.

As a well-known rule, you should only use your right hand to eat. Saudi food is mainly based on rice, meat and spices. There are also vegetables in these dishes, but not as much as meat.

1. Almandi: Saudi cuisine

This is a very simple type of kebab because it includes rice and meat, which will be lamb or chicken. It is equally popular in Oman, Yemen and other Middle Eastern countries. The cooking process is also unique in that it is done inside a special oven called Tandour (Arabic: al-Tandur).

This food is often seen during holidays and celebrations and is the food of Saudi Arabia.

The mixture of spices used in cooking this dish is called bharat.

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saudi cuisine

2. Mertabak

Mertabak is a type of fried pie or cake similar to roti (Indian flatbread) that is often served as a side dish.

   It is served in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Although the fillings may vary, some of the most common include minced meat, eggs, garlic, onions, peppers, curry, and ghee.

Fresh herbs such as cilantro and mint are often used for flavoring. The focaccia dough must be very thin and requires a lot of experience, the different name of this Saudi cuisine dish is al-Mutabaq which is an Arabic word meaning folded, due to the fact that during cooking the soft dough folds around the stuff and forms a package.

Saudi cuisine

3. Tharid

This food is like broth, and its name is thareed, and it means to cut and to crumble flatbread in broth. Flat bread called raqaq is added to this broth. While the non-vegetarian variety includes meat sauce (mostly mutton), the veggie-only variety is vegetable soup. The importance of this food is in its fast consumption during the holy month of Ramadan, when Muslims fast during the day and eat after sunset.

This is the favorite food of Prophet Muhammad.

The bread is dry, but softens when mixed with the soup. It is like broth, but sometimes they add zucchini or carrots to it according to taste.

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saudi cuisine

4. Saudi Kabsa {chicken and rice}, Al-Kabsa Saudi

  This dish is also known as the national dish of Saudi Arabia. Kabsa is the main dish of chicken and rice not only in Saudi Arabia but throughout the Arab world.

Kabsa is prepared from chicken cooked in spicy tomato and spicey broth. This chicken is taken out and fried or grilled, and the broth is used to cook rice. This saudi cuisine dish can be cooked with chicken, lamb, camel meat, fish or even shrimp.

The fish or meat is usually placed on top of the rice and the whole meal is served on a large plate designed to be eaten with the hands in a group setting.

Saudi cuisine

5. Qarsaan: Saudi cuisine

Qarsan is one of the national dishes of Saudi Arabia, which is prepared by placing pieces of dry, paper-thin flatbread on top of meat and vegetables in broth so that the pieces of bread absorb all the delicious juices. The end result is not a soup, but a thick, nutritious and hearty meal, which is why this saudi cuisine dish is so popular across the country.

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saudi cuisine

6. Harees

Haris is a staple food during the holy month of Ramadan in many Middle Eastern countries, a filling meal that combines pounded wheat and meat. This saudi cuisine dish once originated in Saudi Arabia but has since spread throughout the Middle East and India.

Many cities in the region have created their unique variety by using local ingredients and naming local dishes. In Middle Eastern countries, it is usually made from coarsely ground wheat, which is mixed with water, butter, and meat, and then cooked well and slowly overnight until the morning until it sets well. Sometimes, the collective participation of several people is used to cook Haris.

hariis Saudi cuisine, the dishes you should taste touran travel agency

7. Homs

  This is an saudi cuisine dish that I’m sure you’ve all heard of! Hummus is a very popular food all over the world, but it’s delicious everywhere! It is cooked and mashed with chickpeas and mixed with various oils and spices.

Saudi cuisine

8. Al-Saliq: Saudi cuisine

  Originating from Hejaz, Saliq is a traditional saudi cuisine dish of rice consisting of short grain, creamy, porridge-like rice and grilled meat. In fact, it is like Persian rice pudding or (Shir Berenj) with grilled meat on it.

Chicken is the most common choice of meat and is usually cooked in water and spices before grilling.

In this saudi cousine dish, a combination of stew in which meat is cooked and hot water is used. Then the cooked rice is mixed with milk and butter or filtered butter and cooked until it reaches the desired consistency.

9. Al-Mahlabi

It’s kind of milk pudding, like rice pudding! This milk pudding may look different depending on taste, color and appearance. At first, it was an Iranian delicacy (Persian rice pudding or Shir Berenj) that became popular in Saudi Arabia.

Milk is flavored with rice flour and sugar, and sometimes it is scented with the addition of rose water. In Israel, they pour grape juice instead of milk.

saliq Saudi cuisine, the dishes you should taste touran travel agency

10. Al-Jalma

  Jalma as a part of sauidi cuisine is a type of lamb that is traditionally prepared in the Asir region of Arabia.

It consists of very small pieces of lamb cooked in fat, onions and a mixture of Arabic spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, coriander and black pepper.

This saudi cuisine dish is usually served with rice or flat bread so that the bread absorbs the salty sauce. This special dish is usually prepared on festive occasions such as Eid al-Adha.

Saudi cuisine

11- Mofteh (مفطح)

Muftah is a popular saudi cuisine dish in Saudi Arabia and is one of the main dishes served at weddings, special occasions and parties. Muftah is also known in other Persian Gulf countries such as Kuwait and UAE.

Muftah consists of grilled lamb meat with rice and spices. The lamb meat is cut into large pieces and then seasoned with muftah spices. Then they put the meat in a big pot called Mandi with rice and cook it for a few hours on low heat until the meat is cooked and the rice gets its flavor.

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Serve warm with Arabic bread and salad. This is one of the delicious and nourishing foods that many people in Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf countries cook.

Saudi cuisine

12- Mataziz: Saudi Cuisine

Mataziz is a popular Saudi meal consisting of small, long pieces of dough and lamb or beef served with broth and rich vegetables. Mataziz is one of the main dishes of the Najd region in Saudi Arabia, and it is one of the delicious and nutritious dishes that many Saudi people prefer.

Mataziz is made by cutting the dough into thin slices and adding it to the pot in which the meat is cooked, along with broth and vegetables such as tomatoes, onions, and green peppers. This sauidi cuisine dish is served on various occasions such as holidays, religious occasions and social parties.

Saudi cuisine


We’ll end the list with Kalija, a popular dessert known to the Al-Qassim and Ha’il regions of Saudi Arabia. The name Kalija may come from the Persian word Koloche and is shaped like a cookie. Kalija is made from wheat filled with date molasses and cardamom and saffron are added to it. Molasses can be replaced with toffee. After that, the wheat is kneaded with molasses or toffee, cardamom and saffron, then the kalija is cut into different shapes.

Kalija is a delicious and healthy dessert. They are a good source of dietary fiber and carbohydrates. It also contains antioxidants that protect the body against diseases. Kalija can be served as a dessert at any time of the day. It is also considered one of the distinctive Saudi cuisine dishes that are served on holidays and special occasions.

Saudi cuisine

Concluding thought

In exploring Saudi cuisine, we encounter a rich tapestry of flavors, traditions, and cultural significance. Each dish tells a story of heritage and community, reflecting the culinary journey of the region through time. From the aromatic spices of Almandi to the comforting warmth of Tharid, and the communal spirit embodied in dishes like Saudi Kabsa, every bite carries a piece of Saudi Arabia’s history and identity. As we savor these culinary treasures, we not only satisfy our palates but also connect with the heart and soul of Saudi culture, where food is more than sustenance—it’s a celebration of tradition, unity, and the shared experiences that bring people together.

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