Everything about a trip to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia spells exotic and generous. And the cuisine of this land is no exception. A blend of wheat, rice, milk, chicken or lamb, dates, yoghurt and potatoes, delicately flavoured with rich aromatic spices, is typically what Saudi food consists of.
The cuisine varies from province to province, although some dishes such as the national dish of Saudi Arabia are found across the Kingdom.
The warmth, generosity and sense of sharing that are the hallmarks of Saudi Arabian culture are amply reflected in the food of the people here as well. And perhaps the best example of this culture is a dish called Kabsa. Any culinary trail to explore Saudi Arabia’s food culture would be incomplete without a proper mention of Kabsa which is considered as the national dish of the kingdom, and with good reason.
To understand what makes Kabsa so special, let us see what goes into the making of this dish. At its heart the traditional Kabsa is a simple preparation of wholesome, hearty Saudi food staples of rice and meat, cooked with potatoes and vegetables. All these main ingredients are brought together with the warmth of aromatic Arabian spices such as black pepper, cloves, cardamom, saffron, black lime, bay leaves and nutmeg. This spice mix is what lends that beautiful distinctive flavour to the dish. One mouthful and you immediately get a feeling of immense satisfaction.
The secret of a really good Kabsa is selecting and using the finest of ingredients from fragrant long-grained basmati rice to the best of spices and skill of cooking the dish to perfection so as to bring out its perfect rich flavours and texture.
Kabsa is an intrinsic part of the region’s culinary heritage as it is arguably the best representation of traditional Arabic cuisine. Kabsa truly does justice to its popularity and pride of place as Saudi Arabia’s national dish. And that surely makes it a must-try Saudi speciality!
As one of the most popular and traditional Arabic dishes and of course being the national dish of Saudi Arabia, Kabsa is widely available across the country from Jeddah to Riyadh. You can definitely sample this dish at fine dine restaurants and food courts. However the most authentic experience to try the traditional Kabsa would be at the home of a local. Make friends with your local guide and see if you are lucky enough to get invited to dine with his family.
While in Saudi Arabia, you should also try out some of the other authentic Arabic dishes such as falafel, saleeg, hainini and mutabbaq.
When you plan for your trip to Saudi Arabia, you should ensure that your travel checklist includes buying travel insurance. Having Travel Insurance for Saudi Arabia is as important and mandatory as having a valid passport and getting your Saudi Arabia Visa. Make sure you buy travel insurance before you leave from India because it is a necessary travel safeguard to protect your finances in times of unforeseen crisis. Insuring your overseas trip will allow you to explore the sights and sounds of a foreign country with total peace of mind, knowing you are covered just in case any mishap occurs such as loss of luggage or even if your trip itself gets cancelled.
If you would like to know more about places to see and things to do in Saudi Arabia, the best time of year to visit, how to budget and save for your trip and other handy travel tips, get hold of our Saudi Arabia Travel Guide .