Tourists heading to a Bahraini holiday need to remember a few things: The locals love to celebrate holidays with family, greet visitors, feed them and talk to them about their life and culture. The island kingdom of Bahrain is a cauldron of different traditions, and although it embraces the influences of the various cultures that have taken refuge within it, its indigenous reserves of delicacies remain unchanged and preserved over the years. Another famous food is muhammar (sweet rice), which is served with cinnamon sugar.
National snacks include samba and fragrant, delicate cookies. The fragrant, light saffron noodles, served with a spicy omelets on top, are often prepared for dinner. Another important part of Bahrain’s cuisine is fresh Gulf fish, of which Hamour (perch) is king, usually served grilled, fried in boiling olive oil or steamed. Other popular varieties of fish include Safi (tastes like rabbit meat), Chanad (mackerel) and Sobediti (bream).
Coffee, called Gahwa, is considered part of the traditional reception. Bahrainis offer Gahwa to guests with aromatic pastries or with oriental sweets, the range of which will surprise even the most spoiled gourmets. Chocolate fudge with a cup of coffee is a must-try for every tourist visiting this country.
Balalete is an unusual food from the east that combines sweet and savory flavors together in one rendition. The noodles are topped with chopped sweet and cardamom caramel tendrils, making it a complete, satisfying meal. Trying the dish for the first time may take a little getting used to for some travelers, but once one gets the hang of it, this fabulous meal will be enjoyed.
Lunch for most residents involves enjoying a huge plate of rice and meat. Machboos is a national dish that is prepared mainly at home or in restaurants. With the sea bringing in the freshest catch every day, Machboos is something all tourists should try. The best Machboos served which can be found at Tabreez in Adhari. It’s an absolute favorite among local Saudi citizens who frequent the city’s restaurants.
Sambusa is another mouth-watering snack that is perfect for any occasion and city dwellers never have a get-together without Sambusa. Fillings for the Arabic snack range from meat, chicken, vegetables and cheese. There are also traditional dishes of Arabic, Indian and Pakistani cuisine.
Rice is extremely popular. One of the most common recipes includes chicken, limes, tomatoes, cilantro, parsley, turmeric, garlic, ginger, chili pepper. To prepare tikka kebab, prepare two marinades at once: from ginger and lemon juice and from beets and yogurt. Different types of meat are used for cooking. Thanks to the marinade, it acquires a beautiful, rich color and aroma.
All ingredients are pre-fried, gradually adding, then simmered for 40 minutes. The preparation uses rice and vegetables with the addition of many spices (available in the form of ready-made mixtures). Chicken, goat, camel, beef, fish or shrimp are used. Meat is most often prepared using the mandi technique using a tandoor. For a dish called gozi, the whole lamb is cooked in the oven with rice, vegetables, nuts, and spices.
Tabbouleh salad is typical of many Arab countries. For it, vegetables (tomatoes, cucumbers, onions) are finely chopped with a lot of greens, and bulgur is also added.
Bahrain is a true paradise for those with a sweet tooth. In addition to baklava and sorbets, traditional for many Arab countries, other dishes are also prepared here. Habis or habisa is a traditional dish made from flour and vegetable oil, which is often served for breakfast, especially on religious holidays. The recipe was first mentioned in a 10th-century cookbook.
Jalebi came to Bahraini cuisine from India. Externally, the dish resembles Turkish kunefe: strings of dough are deep-fried using melted butter. When the sweetness is ready, pour sugar syrup, rose water, and lemon juice. The recipe dates back to the 13th century. Maamul is a cookie made from flour or semolina. It is often prepared for the end of the holy month of Ramadan and served to guests with coffee.
Umm Ali (Mother Ali) resembles a pudding made from short crust pastry with the addition of milk, sugar, nuts, and raisins. The dish should be eaten warm. The history of the creation of the dish is accompanied by a dark legend – the wife of the Sultan of Egypt prepared it for the death of the Sultan’s second wife.
Mahalabiya or mahaleb is an ancient dish invented by a Persian cook in the 7th century. This is a milk pudding served with rose water and chopped pistachios. Pudding is made from rice, sugar, rice flour, and milk. Han rush is a local mini donut with saffron and cardamom. It is drizzled with honey and eaten while still warm.
There is no ban on alcoholic drinks, despite the fact that the country is Muslim. The most popular are beer and arak (aniseed vodka). Coffee is extremely popular, without which not a single conversation or feast is complete. Coffee is prepared in various ways. One of them is with the addition of saffron, cardamom, and rose water.