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Saudi Arabian Cuisine : Foods in Saudi Arabia

Updated on May 17, 2011

Saudi Arabian Cuisine : Foods in Saudi Arabia

Now let us go to a oil rich kingdom - country in which its oil resources is deemed the source of its wealth -- the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It gets the revenues from oil and is able to sustain a welfare economy. Saudi Arabia employs many contract workers, engineers, experts in oil technology form all over the world. It would be very interesting to know what kind of food they eat.

Saudi Arabian cuisine is a by product of the physical environment topography, climate) plus their religion (respect for the pork) and the influences of the nearby countries. Included are laws of halal -- pork are forbidden as food. Alcoholic drinks are not allowed, so foreigners will find it hard at first to stay. There are international fastfood chains in Saudi like McDonallds, Pizza Hut and Burger King etc. They also have coffeehouses which serve as a venue for socializing and smoking hookah and they served tea and coffee.

Saudi Arabia is a large country (fourteenth largest state) comprising more than the majority (80 %) of the portion of Arabian peninsula. The exact number of the size of Saudi Arabia is still in contention due to the fact that it is not well delineated specially to the south.

Kabsa is a national dish made of rice, usually with meat of sheep, chicken meat ingredients plus some vegetables (with spice)

image from wikipedia commons
image from wikipedia commons

Some Facts About Saudi Arabia

It is bounded by the following countries :

  • UAE, Kwait, Iraq, Jordan, Qatar, Yemen, and the two seas Red and Caspian sea

Culture in Saudi Arabia :

Most of all Saudi Arabians are Muslim and so they follow the teachings of Allah. Their motto is - There is no god other than Allah, and Muhammad is his messenger - from the Islamic basic tenet.

  • Modesty among women is encouraged and enforced and prohibition of basic lifestyle which some Western people are accustomed to are not allowed.Women followed the hijab principle -- modesty in clothing
  • Freedom of speech is still limited
  • There are limitations to behaviors and lifestyle like smoking, public display of affection, drinking alcohols and eating pork
  • Women's behavior and way of life follows a basic pattern -- they are dressed and covered all over. They are not allowed to drive.


  • Saudi Arabia is the number one importer of sheep
  • Number one consumer of chicken -- they eat chicken a lot as pork is not allowed
  • Consume lamb as important part of dishes plus goat (in some part of Saudi)

The image is taken in the middle and eastern part of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia

image courtesy of wikipedia commons
image courtesy of wikipedia commons

Topography and Climate :

It is generally hot the whole year round. The south and the western portion is the one which is more considered plant friendly region (green), the climate is relatively nicer, not so hot.

The type of land is varied :

  • There is a mass of land -- a plateau of the Nejd on the western side (stretches along the Red Sea),
  • Asir is apart of mountains and is considered a nice place to cool off
  • Eastern side -- stones, rocks and sands
  • southern part is -- no life at all
  • almost four fifth of the land is desert and only .2 percent is arable -- meaning land which is fertile
  • There are three desert in Saudi Arabia

Mecca is the center of worship -- Muslim religion originated in Mecca -- a holy place for Muslims around the world

Saudi Arabian cuisine influences

  • Topography that is why ingredients, herbs vegetables are limited including fruits.
  • Only ferns and cactus are grown and so herbs are limited
  • They eat meat form lamb and chicken, but because of religion they don't eat pork.


LAWS pertaining to FOOD

  • Halal Laws -- alcoholic beverages and pork meat is not allowed to eat and they should respect animals -- they are careful when butchering animals.

Saudi Arabian Cuisine

  • They eat chicken a lot and they are known to consume chicken
  • Kabsa is the national dish made of rice and other spices plus veggies and there are lots of variations also in nearby countries.
  • They partake chicken and lamb which are cooked in pit (for lamb and chicken are also grilled.
  • They eat garbanzos -- chickpea
  • They also eat falafel -- a patty made from dried garbanzos
  • Taboon bread or lafa is also eaten most in the middle eastern countries and in Saudi Arabia
  • Another bread which is flattened khobz is eaten
  • The tea usually black tea is important part of the Saudi Arabian beverage as they use it to entertain guests and it is without the creamer
  • Lamb its meat - is usually part of food which is served when they have visitors.
  • Shawarma is also eaten -- spit cooked meat of the lamb. I love this one and this is gaining popularity in some parts of the world
  • Mutabbaq is a food eaten in Saudi Arabia and some Muslim and some countries -- diced and chopped lamb meat with eggs, onion plus garlic and is curried.
  • They eat fatir bread made of barley


Basic Ingredients are :

  • Horse bean or fava bean
  • Rice grain - basmati
  • yoghurt -- dairy products

Spices :

  • onions
  • garlic

Taboon bread -- lafa which is eaten in Middle east and Saudi

Falafel -- patty which is fried garbanzos, round shaped
Falafel -- patty which is fried garbanzos, round shaped
shawarma - lamb meat cooked in spit
shawarma - lamb meat cooked in spit
Ful Medammas -- mixture of horse beans and oil (olive) with ingredients and lime juice eaten in the morning
Ful Medammas -- mixture of horse beans and oil (olive) with ingredients and lime juice eaten in the morning
khobz -- flattened bread and is unleavened
khobz -- flattened bread and is unleavened


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    • MM Del Rosario profile image

      MM Del Rosario 6 years ago from NSW, Australia

      i live in Saudi Arabia for almost 3 years and I like eating the Kabsa and I enjoy their sweets... I was once invited to a Saudi home and it was indeed a very different experience on how they eat ...

    • filipinofoods profile image

      filipinofoods 6 years ago from Philippines

      Interesting hub! I love arabic foods especially Kabsa!

    • rprcarz50 profile image

      rprcarz50 7 years ago

      Thank you for another wonderfully written Hub ! Now these are foods that aren't so appealing to me . Especially not the breakfast, but the Hub was fun as always.


      As always also a2z50

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

      Interesting hub on Saudi Arabia and most of the food looks very good.