5 Must-Try Foods in Saudi Arabia

Interested in traveling or moving to Saudi Arabia? Learn about what you’ll find on the menu once you arrive!

The things most commonly associated with Saudi Arabia are conservative culture, religion, oil, and wealth. While Saudi Arabia is rightfully known for all of these things, you will also find that the country boasts some of the most delicious cuisine in the world.

You should also be aware that all food products in Saudi Arabia must be halal (meaning – “permissible or lawful”). Food preparation and consumption must follow the strictly enforced Islamic dietary laws, and the consumption of pork is not allowed at all.

Don’t get us wrong though, the dishes served here are incredibly tasty, and there are many must-try foods in Saudi Arabia!


Prepare your palate for these 5 Saudi Arabian dishes!

1. Kabsa

The first food in Saudi Arabia that you should try is Kabsa!

Kabsa is a rice dish that can be made with chicken, lamb, camel meat, fish, or even shrimp. It is prepared with various vegetables and spices, which all come together perfectly in one pot to create a mouthwatering blend of different flavors.

It possesses the title of ‘national dish’ in Saudi Arabia, but it can also be found throughout the Gulf States of the Arabian Peninsula. The whole dish is served on a large platter and is meant to be shared and eaten using your hands. Across the Arabian Peninsula, kabsa is also known as machboos.


2. Thareed

Thareed or Tharid is a traditional stew-like dish made up of thin bread, broth, meat (usually lamb), vegetables, and spices. Thareed is one of the most popular traditional foods in Saudi Arabia, and it is often referred to as the Prophet Muhammad’s favorite dish.

It is a hearty dish, and this meal can be consumed alone or with a side of rice. It is usually a staple on the Saudi table during the holy month of Ramadan.


3. Shawarma

Shawarma is a popular dish found throughout the Middle East, and if you’re considering moving to Saudi Arabia to teach, you will find this dish is no exception there.

Shawarma is a dish that consists of meat cut into thin slices and slowly roasted on a turning spit. The meat can be anything from lamb, mutton, chicken, beef, turkey, to veal. Shawarma can now be found globally, and you can even try to make your own dish at home.


4. Falafel

Falafel is a deep-fried ball or patty made from ground chickpeas, fava beans, or both. It is commonly served in a pita bread, which acts as a pocket, or wrapped in a flatbread known as taboon. The falafel balls are topped with salads, pickled vegetables, hot sauce, and drizzled with tahini-based sauces.

Falafel balls may also be eaten alone as a snack or served as appetizers at a dinner party. Falafels have now become a common dish as a replacement for meat and as a form of street food around the world.

Even if you have never been to the Middle East, it’s likely that you’ve heard of or tried Falafel in your home country. Now it’s time to try it in a more traditional way, straight from the source!


5. Jereesh

Jereesh is one of the oldest traditional dishes in Saudi Arabia which dates back hundreds of years. This easy-to-make meal is made with boiled crushed or coarsely-ground wheat, rice, onion, and spices in addition to meat and broth. It may seem like a peculiar combination of ingredients, but it can be classified as a dish somewhere between porridge and dumplings. It is also very popular during the holy month of Ramadan.


Get started on your journey to Saudi Arabia

Looking for a job in Saudi Arabia? We recruit qualified educators for a number of prestigious schools in the Middle East, and we have some particularly exciting teaching opportunities in Saudi Arabia.

Whether you decide to visit Saudi Arabia for a few days or stay long-term, you’ll find that Saudi Arabia is brimming with opportunities to explore, learn, and try new things.

If you’d like to learn more about teaching English abroad, browse our list of current job openings in the Middle East to explore your love of travel and education.


Learn more about Saudi Arabia


Recover your password

Send us your email and we will send you instructions to reset your password

If you remember your password