Traditional Food In Qatar

Despite limited agriculture, traditional Qatari food can be surprisingly varied. While locally caught fish are always in plentiful supply, many staples have to be imported. Over the years, local dishes have been influenced by the cuisine of the Indian Subcontinent, Iran, the Levant and North Africa.

They include: machboos, a stew of richly spiced rice with seafood or meat, mutton served with yogurt; ghuzi, a whole roast lamb on a bed of rice and nuts; and stuffed boiled sheep or goat served with seasoned rice.

This centrepiece of the meal is generally accompanied by a variety of side dishes, including chicken, fish and vegetables and salad. Locally grown dates, fresh fruit and desserts such as halwa or Umm Ali round off a typical Qatari meal. Souq Waqif and Katara are both highly recommended places to visit for tourists looking to experience Qatari food and Arabic coffee.


Saloona is basically spicy meat and/or vegetable broth. It usually contains tomatoes, aubergine, carrots and potatoes. People eat it by itself or with rice.


One of the most popular dishes in any Qatari home is machboos, or Kabsa, which is basically rice cooked with delicious spices and any kind of meat – chicken, lamb, shrimp, camel or fish. It looks similar to biryani.


A Ramadan favourite, madhruba, also known as ‘beaten porridge’, is a combination of rice, milk, butter and cardamom that is cooked together until it becomes mushy. Chicken and other types of meat are stewed along with mashed beans.


Usually made during Ramadan for a dessert-filled evening, this dish is a mixture of butter, milk, flour, sugar, saffron and cardamom. These ingredients are used to create little dumplings, which are then deep-fried and dipped in sugar syrup or honey to increase the sweet factor. Soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside, this dish is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.


Whole roasted lamb served on a generous bed of rice, vegetables and flavourful nuts create this extravagant dish.


Another Ramadan special and similar to a pot of stew, thareed, often called the Arab lasagna, includes vegetables such as carrots, beans, onions and potatoes cooked with chicken or lamb and mixed with tomato sauce and spices. Bread is placed on the bottom of the dish, soaking up the stew juices and making the bread soft and flavourful.


This dish is full of fibre and essential vitamins. It’s usually prepared with zucchini, carrots, eggplant, tomatoes, potatoes and tenderised meat. Thin layers of dough are cut into pieces and boiled in the stock so that it can soak up all the flavour.

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