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Exploring Food Culture Of Saudi Arabia

Hainini, Falafel, Saleeg and many more traditional Saudi dishes you can try on your next trip to Saudi Arabia.

  • 02 Jan 2022
  • min read

One of the exciting things to look forward to when travelling to a new country is checking out local food and tasting a new cuisine. It is interesting to experience what type of food people eat in different parts of the world.

So before you grab your bags, your Saudi Arabia travel insurance papers and passport duly stamped with the Saudi Arabia Visa and head to the airport, here’s a bit about the food culture you will find there.

The cuisine varies from province to province, although some dishes are found across the Kingdom. A typical Saudi meal is a blend of wheat, rice, milk, chicken or lamb, dates, yoghurt, potatoes, delicately flavoured with rich aromatic spices. 

Take a look at some of the traditional Saudi dishes that are definitely worth a try when you’re visiting Saudi Arabia.


The Arabic name ‘Mutabbaq’ literally means folded. And that’s exactly what this street food is – a folded, fried pancake stuffed with a lightly spiced mixture of minced meat, eggs, tomatoes and onions. It looks something like a fluffy omelette folded and cut in squares. You will find this dish almost everywhere you go in Saudi Arabia. It is affordable, quick and filling when you’re on-the-go.


Another popular street food is sambusak or ‘samboosa’. This deep fried snack will immediately remind you of our Indian favourite, the samosa! In Saudi it is made with a variety of filling such as minced meat, cheese and vegetables. If your taste buds are not feeling very adventurous towards foreign dishes, this is the perfect local snack to try out.

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You may have tasted Falafel in India as this popular Arab street food is now available at many Middle-Eastern cafes and fast food joints. But nothing like savouring the authentic Falafel right in Saudi Arabia. This deep-fried round snack is made of faca beans or ground chickpeas and served with pickled veggies. A great evening bite for the hungry tourist! 


This traditional dish is a wholesome combination of rice mixed with meat, vegetables, potatoes, flavoured with spices like black pepper, cloves, cardamom, saffron, black lime, bay leaves and nutmeg. Considered as the national dish of Saudi Arabia, Kabsa is an intrinsic part of the region’s culinary heritage. This surely makes it a must-try Saudi speciality!


Saleeg is a delicate white rice based dish cooked with broth and milk. It is usually served with a chilli tomato sauce called ‘duggus’ along with pickled lemons. Saleeg is had as a winter comfort dish. While you will find many variations, it originally belongs to the Western Province of Hejaz.


Hainini is a delicious melt-in-the-mouth dessert made with world-famous Arabian dates. It is a preparation of flour, butter and dates, mildly spiced with cardamom and saffron. Enjoy this sweet treat with a steaming cup of Arabic coffee. This is one combination you don’t want to miss during your food tour of Saudi Arabia.


Whether you are a vegetarian or non-vegetarian, Saudi Arabia has a lot of delectable food options to offer tourists that will also fit easily into any budget. And while you calculate the expenses of a trip to Saudi, don’t forget to buy  travel insurance that will protect you in case of any unfortunate loss during your overseas travel.

  • Traditional Saudi Dishes
  • Saudi Arabian Dishes
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