10 Arabic Dishes to Try When you visit Qatar

10 Arabic Dishes to Try When you visit Qatar

Last Updated on March 1, 2023

If there’s one thing that will never be gone in people’s travel itinerary, it’s eating. Sure, you need the energy for your trip, but many people also put extra effort into seeking dishes unique to the place to have a “taste” of the culture. When traveling to Qatar, you’ll find that many restaurants and food stalls like those found in the best shopping mall in Doha offer not only Arabic dishes but also cuisines from all over the world. This is because the nation has a big expat community.

However, the native Qatari flavour isn’t lost in this sea of gastronomic wonders. In fact, you’ll still find plenty of Arabic dishes that embody the country’s culture and traditions. You just have to know what you’re looking for.

If you’re planning to visit the country soon, here are the ten best dishes you need to try at least once to make sure you don’t miss out on the Qatari culinary experience:

1. Kebab


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One of the most popular foods in Qatar, kebab is offered in many restaurants in Doha. It is also considered quite versatile because of the way it is prepared and served – with the ingredients grilled and skewered.

A kebab consists of diced or sliced meat (sometimes also ground-up meat formed into balls) along with a selection of vegetables, fruits, and varieties of accompaniments that may vary depending on the specific kebab recipe. It is also often served with different types of bread.

Kebab is a popular dish all over the world, with dozens of variations in countries like Turkey, Pakistan, Israel, Iraq, Iran, and many others. However, you’ll find plenty of stalls and restaurants all over Qatar that offer this mouthwatering dish at reasonable prices.

 2. Saloona

Considered a classic Arabic stew, saloona is a staple in many family dinners in Qatar. It is quite famous in the country because it can be made with whatever ingredients you have on hand.

For that authentic Arab taste, the primary ingredients include lamb, beef, or fish, seasonal vegetables, and some garlic and ginger to taste. Many restaurants also serve saloona with a generous helping of bread that soaks up the broth leading to a fireworks display of flavour in every bite.

 3. Harees

Also known to the natives as harissa, harees is a dish with a consistency that ranges from as sticky as porridge to as thick as a dumpling.

Basically, this dish is made from coarsely ground, cracked, or boiled wheat combined with a choice of meat. It may also contain spices like cardamom and cinnamon for added flavour.

A single serving of harees is packed with nutrients, which is why it is a popular meal for Muslims who break their fast at Iftar (sunset) during Ramadan.

4. Madhruba or Madrouba

Madhruba – which means “beaten porridge” – is a Ramadan favourite made from rice, butter, milk, and a wide range of spices. The ingredients are cooked together until they become mushy with a consistency very similar to porridge.

Aside from cardamom, it can be seasoned with a wide variety of spices and flavourings, such as cumin, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, garlic, cloves, and black pepper. It can also contain chicken and other types of meat with mashed beans, all stewed together for a flavourful feast.

5. Thareed

Another Ramadan dish you must try is thareed. Similar to a pot of stew, it usually contains carrots, onions, potatoes, beans, and other vegetables with lamb or chicken.

It is also often dubbed as the Arab lasagna because of the tomato sauce and spices added and the bread placed at the bottom of the dish that soaks up the stew’s juices for more flavourful bites.

 6. Baleleet

Think it odd to combine vermicelli and omelet in one dish? Try a single helping of baleleet, and you’ll never think of it the same way again.

Known as a breakfast staple in Qatar, baleleet can be consumed hot or cold, depending on the diner’s preference. It can also be served as a dessert and comes with a wide array of flavours that tourists would absolutely love from the very first bite.

This popular pasta dish contains saffron, sugar, and rosewater that, when combined with the omelet topping, offers a unique sweet and savoury taste. Ultimately, this Arab dish makes for a praise-worthy breakfast in Eid-al-Fitr celebrations.

7. Mahalabia


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Another dessert dish you must try when visiting Qatar is mahalabia. This pudding-like treat is made from the milk of ground rice and can be made with many flavours and toppings.

Known by many names such as muhalabia, mahalebi, muhallebi, mohallabiah, and muhallabiyeh, this dessert is traditionally infused with rose water to taste. However, it can also be enhanced with orange blossom. It is very light and easy to eat, making it a great choice as a final course of a genuine Qatari dinner. 

8. Warak enab (stuffed grape leaves)

Although cooked in many other countries around the world, another dish you shouldn’t miss on your trip to Qatar is warak enab or stuffed grape leaves.

It’s most common in Middle Eastern cuisines and can be made with just about any type of grain or rice, meat, and spices. However, nothing compares to the Qatari version made from rice and lamb and seasoned with pepper, garlic, and coriander.

Here’s a pro tip: Ask for fresh lemon slices of lemon when you order warak enab if they aren’t already included in the meal. The resulting meal is to die for.

 9. Shawarma

Although its name is believed to be the Turkish word for “turning,” shawarma is probably the most globally recognised Middle Eastern dish. In fact, it’s quite rare to find someone who hasn’t tasted this bundle of savoury goodness at some point in their lives.

Still, the Qatari version may not be the same as what you have in your country, so don’t forget to grab a bite when you visit the country.

Shawarma is made from meat pieces carved from a block on a rotating spit. The meat shavings are placed on a thin piece of bread with pickled vegetables and sauces and rolled before being served.

10. Fatayer

Looking for bite-sized Qatari food to eat as you tour the country? Fatayer is just what you need.

These triangular pastries made of bread dough are filled with yummy ingredients, ranging from meat, cheese, and spinach. These are usually made for picnics and parties in the Middle East and are sure to delight even the pickiest eaters.

Taste the flavours of Qatar

Food is a crucial part of any culture, and that’s not going to change anytime soon. 

Regardless if you’re going on a full-blown cross-country gastronomic trip or are sticking to the food court in Doha Festival City, the dishes listed here will help ensure that you have a complete Qatari culinary experience.

 You may also like 20 Top Staple Foods From Around The World – Infographic.

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