If you're visiting or living in Qatar, trying authentic Qatari cuisine is a must! Here are some of the most popular savoury dishes
7 November 2016| Last updated on 21 March 2019
With a large expat community, Qatar is filled with restaurants offering cuisines from all over that world to cater to every taste.
However, Qatari cuisine is an important part of their culture and you should definitely try some of the traditional plates when living here. The food is largely influenced by Iranian and Indian cuisines.
This is a spiced rice dish that is mixed with any kind of marinated meat or seafood you may like, including chicken, beef, lamb, camel and fish. It’s one of the most popular Qatari dishes. Some may sprinkle lemon juice and rose water on top to add an extra pang to the flavour. If all the spices aren’t enough for you, a spicy salsa dip is sometimes served next to this dish.
Similar in consistency to porridge, Harees is made up of boiled or ground wheat, meat and butter. It’s a well-known dish in the GCC and very popular during the Holy Month of Ramadan, Eid and other festive occasions. For garnishing, cinnamon and cardamom are the most used.
This dish is comparable to a pot of stew. It’s a blend of vegetables, such as potatoes, carrots and beans, mixed with chicken or lamb. Bread soaked in the stew is placed at the bottom of the dish, making the bread soft and full of flavour. It’s all covered with tomato sauce and spices. You may think of it as a lasagna dish made the Qatari way.
Sometimes a breakfast, other times a dessert, it’s a savory dish with contrasting flavours of sweet and salty. It consists of fried vermicelli noodles, cooked with sugar, cinnamon, saffron and cardamom, then topped with an omelette. Some may also sprinkle various nuts on it.
This is a spicy meat and/or vegetable broth. It usually contains lots of tomatoes, aubergine, carrots and potatoes. It can be eaten by itself or you can have it with rice.
This is a dish full of fiber and essential vitamins. It’s usually prepared with zucchini, carrots, eggplant, tomatoes, potatoes and tenderised meat. Raw bread dough is usually used after being kneaded to a thin layer, cut into pieces and boiled in the stock so it can soak up all the flavour. One of the best places to try it is Meshwar Al-Khaleej restaurant in Madinat Khalifa.
This dish is a bit similar to Harees. It is rice cooked with milk, butter and flavoured with cardamom. The meat is stewed along with mashed beans.
Soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside, this is the perfect dessert. This is basically deep fried dough dipped in syrup or honey. Luqaimat is an Arabic word for “bite-sized” and it’s a very popular Arab dish, especially in the Holy Month of Ramadan. There are different ways of preparation, however Qataris usually make it with butter, milk, flour, sugar, saffron and cardamom.
These are just some of the many delicious Qatari dishes. Restaurants that serve Qatari cuisine are surprisingly few and far between, but you can find many stalls in Souq Waqif that do, such as Aljasra Traditional Food.