Often when traveling or living abroad, people start to miss the food that they eat at home. Aside from missing Sombat’s yellow curry, I have found that the food in Saudi has kept me content. Not only do grocery stores carry all the items I normally buy, but the restaurants are varied and quite good. Below are a few of my favorite foods. Once I return to Canada, I know that I will miss the things that are only found here. I would love to be able to share some of these items with friends and family at home but unfortunately, I don’t think chicken will stand the 20 hour journey back to Canada because it could go off or, more realistically, I would eat it!
This chicken is amazing. I eat it at least once a month, sometimes twice. It is served with pita, rice, and veggies, delivered well wrapped and piping hot. Leftovers make a great lunch. Bubba Khan calls this chicken tikka. We all call it Khan’s chicken. An entire chicken is placed on a flame rotisserie for hours. Once an order is made, it is cut open and finished on charcoal.
There are two types of carrots you can buy, local and Australian (seems far to be eaten in Saudi). These ones are the local carrots. They are sweet, crunchy and delicious. I imagine they are so good because the soil likely has a high sand content which carrots like. For most of the year they are sold bulk with all the other veggies, then around September, they disappeared and I couldn’t find them anywhere. I was upset because I eat carrots every day and these ones are particularly good. A few weeks later they popped up pre-wrapped which made me happy.
The cheese in the middle on the left is halloumi cheese. It is semi-hard, unripened brined cheese made from a mixture of goats’, sheep, and sometimes also cows’ milk. It has a high melting point and so can be fried or grilled. Halloumi is set with rennet and is unusual in that no acid or acid-producing bacteriumis used in its preparation. You have to soak it in water before you eat it. Restaurants serve it grilled in a salad, I tried grilling it but it did not turn out the same. I eat it just as it is or make cucumber, tomato, cilantro, balsamic vinegar salad with it.
Peppermint slice. This is an Australia desert made by my lovely housemate Prue. She bakes a lot and this bar is one of her specialties. It is my favorite. She exited Saudi for good yesterday and left me a huge amount of peppermint essence so I can make it myself. My grandma Doris makes this square at Christmas but we Canadians call it a mint nanaimo bar. Somehow though, Prue’s tastes different.
Margherita Pizza is an Italian restaurant in Jeddah. It makes the best pizza I have ever eaten, even better than Italy if you can believe it! Anytime we to go to dinner, I always suggest we go here.
Blended lemon mint, need I say more! I don’t know why this drink is not served in every restaurant all over the world.
This pizza like item is apparently from Lebanon but regularly eaten here and served at the cafeteria at work. The green herb is thyme which is mixed with olive oil and spread over pizza dough like bread. You can buy the ground thyme mixed with sesame seeds in bulk at the grocery store. I am going to bring some home.
Since beer and alcohol is prohibited in this country, there are many other options. This drink is a malt beverage that is made with wheat. It comes in original, which tastes terrible to me, and many other flavors such as cranberry, apple, and pineapple.
Al Baik is a restaurant that is only found in Jeddah. The chicken is famous and the restaurants are always full. When people leave Jeddah you will see them carrying bags of boxes of Al Baik chicken at the airport, no joke. Some people say the chiken is the best chicken ever, others say it is just like KFC and they don’t understand what the big deal is. We ordered it at work a few times and it actually might be (other than Khan’s chicken) the best chicken ever. It is covered in a crispy coating that is super crunchy. It comes in spicy and regular. The spicy has the spice throughout the chicken instead of on top. Every bite is crunchy, spicy, and full of mouth watering chicken.