Exploring the local food scene of a country greatly helps in understanding and experiencing it better! Qatar is no different. Apart from exploring the art scene, culture, adventure & sports activities, shopping and visiting the many attractions here, there are a few delicacies that you must try when you are here or are visiting Qatar for the first time!
The ILoveQatar.net (ILQ) team has these recommendations for you, along with the places you can try the dishes from! Let’s dive into some deliciousness so that you can plan your culinary itinerary!
Machboos is a very famous rice-based dish and is a staple in Qatar. It is prepared with a variety of marinated meats or seafood of your choice. It may have rose water or lemon juice sprinkled before serving to add an extra flavour. It is usually served with a spicy salsa dip that pairs well with the rice! You can try making it using our recipe!
An extremely popular dessert, Umm Ali is similar to bread pudding. This popular Arabic dessert is made of puff pastry sheets and milk, served with a topping of nuts as well as raisins. There are many places to try it but Sheraton Grand Hotel’s Umm Ali takes one of the top positions and is also a very popular choice amongst the locals!
If you love cheese, then you are in for a treat! Kunafa is what cheese dreams are made of and it is a rich dessert made with sheets of filo pastry or semolina dough that is soaked in a sweet syrup, and is layered with cheese, nuts or even clotted cream! Is your mouth watering already?
The word “mezze” in Arabic means sharing. An Arabic mezze is a combination of small plates, that usually has hummus (a dip made from mashed chickpeas and contains tahini, lemon juice, and garlic), mouttabal (a dip made with eggplant and tahini), baba ganoush (a dip made with roasted eggplant), tabbouleh (an Arabic salad made with parsley, tomatoes, mint, onion and seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice and peppers), which is served with Arabic bread and pickled vegetables. This is a great platter to share with your friends and family! If you're eating it at Turkey Central make sure to ask for the flavourful tomato bread. You can thank us later!
Saloona is a spicy stew prepared with either meat or vegetables or both. The dish contains a lot of tomatoes, aubergine, potatoes, carrots, and many other vegetables. The dish can be eaten by itself or with rice to form a complete meal.
This is an iconic drink of Qatar and we've included it in the list of foods as no meal is complete without it here. One of the most popular drinks among locals and residents alike, Karak is a must-try beverage and we bet you will fall in love with it at first sip! This sweet concoction or tea is flavoured with spices, condensed milk and cardamom. Saffron and ginger are also added to it sometimes.
You might have already tried this in some form or the other. Samboosa is a pastry that is filled with vegetables, meat, cheese or other ingredients and is deep-fried until it is perfectly golden brown. It goes well with a cup of tea, Karak or is even served as an appetizer.
Luqaimat is an extremely popular dessert that is soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside. The word Luqaimat is derived from an Arabic origin which means bite-sized and Luqaimat is usually in the shape of small bite-sized balls. While there are many ways to prepare the dish, people in Qatar like to prepare it the traditional way with butter, milk, flour, sugar, saffron and cardamom. The batter is then deep-fried and dipped in a sweet syrup or honey before serving. If you'd like to make this yourself, follow our recipe here!
Another warm and comforting dish is Thareed. Similar to a pot of stew, Thareed has a fine blend of vegetables like potatoes, carrots, beans, and meat like chicken or lamb. This popular Qatari dish is served with bread that perfectly soaks up all the delicious juices and gives you that perfect mouthful. The dish can be compared to a lasagne that is prepared in a Qatari way.
READ MORE: Thareed - a vegetarian twist to a traditional Qatari dish
Regag is an Arabic version of a crepe. These thin and crispy pancakes are folded into a cone shape and is usually eaten with a hot cup of Karak or tea. You can also add your favourite toppings to it and choose from cheese, honey, Nutella, eggs, mhyawa (fish-paste) and more! Are you excited to try this?
You cannot leave Qatar without trying some authentic Arabic Koftas or Kebabs. It remains one of the most popular and versatile foods in Qatar. Many restaurants in Doha serve excellent grilled meat along with a variety of bread, the taste of which will linger in your memory for a long time!
If you haven’t tried Shawarma yet, you need to make it a point to try it in Qatar. Once you taste this awesome dish, you will know why it is so popular and a much-loved food here! The name is said to be originated from a Turkish word meaning ‘turning’. To prepare the shawarma, a block of meat is placed on a rotating skewer and small pieces of meat are shaved off and are filled in a wrap along with sauces and pickled vegetables. Try it and let us know what you think!
Falafel is a deep-fried ball or a patty made from ground chickpeas and fava beans. It is a popular dish in Qatar and is served with a sesame dip called tahin or tahini. Falafel is usually served sandwiched in pita bread. Many restaurants in Doha offer yummy falafels that make a great snack or a meal!
Aseeda is a delicious sweet made with flour, butter, sugar or honey and oil. This rich dessert is eaten during the festive season although it is available throughout the year in traditional restaurants and cafes. Try it and let us know how you liked it! Desert Rose Cafe has a pumpkin version of this that you can try.
Harees is made with boiled or ground wheat and meat. The consistency is similar to that of porridge and is one of the most popular dishes during the month of Ramadan, Eid, and other festive occasions here. Cinnamon and cardamom are some of the most common spices added in a Harees. This hearty and healthy dish will give you all the cosy vibes you need! If you'd like to make it yourself, just follow this recipe!
Slightly diverting from the sweets trail, we now move on to Balaleet. This is a dish that has contrasting flavours of both sweet and savoury. This traditional dish is a popular breakfast choice and is made of vermicelli, cardamom, sugar, and even rose water or saffron. It is usually served with an omelette on top.
How many of them have you tried? Let us know in the comments section, and don't forget to like and share this article - it keeps us going!
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