Bahraini cuisine

The cuisine of The Kingdom of Bahrain consists of dishes such as Biryani, Harees, Khabeesa, Machboos, Mahyawa, Maglooba, Qouzi and Zalabia. Qahwah is the national beverage.

Bahrain is a small island state near the western shores of the Persian Gulf. Much of the Cuisine of Bahrain is a mixture of Arabic, Persian, Indian, Balochi, African, Far East and European food due to the influence of the various communities present as Bahrain was an important sea port and trading junction since ancient times.


Some of the common dishes prepared in most Bahraini households are:

  • Balaleet, (Arabic: بلاليط) – Sweet saffron noodles served with a savory omelet on top.
  • Bayth elgitta, (Arabic: بيض القطا) – A fried cookie filled with a mixture of ground nuts and tossed in powdered sugar. It was named after the egg of the crowned sandgrouse (common to the area) due to its similar shape.
  • Biryani, (Arabic: برياني) – A very common dish, which consists of heavily seasoned rice cooked with chicken or lamb. Originally from the Indian sub-continent.[1]
  • Figata, (Arabic: في قاعته) - White rice cooked with tomatoes and potatoes and eggplant in the bottom of the pan.
  • Gabout(Arabic: قبوط), – stuffed flour dumplings in a thick meat stew.
  • Gers ogaily, (Arabic: قرص عقيلي) – a traditional cake made with eggs, flour, sugar, cardamom, and saffron. Traditionally served with tea.
  • Ghuraiba – Brittle cookies made from flour, butter, powdered sugar and cardamom. It's usually served with Arabic coffee.
  • Harees, (Arabic: هريس) – Wheat cooked with meat then mashed, usually topped with cinnamon sugar.
  • Jireesh (Yireesh) (Arabic: جريش), – A mash of cooked spelt with chicken or lamb, tomatoes, and some spices.
  • Khabeesa (Arabic: الخبيص) – Sweet dish made of flour and oil.
  • Gaimat, (Arabic: قيمات) – Fried yeast dumplings soaked in saffron syrup (sugar, lemon, and saffron).
  • Machboos, (Arabic: مجبوس) – A dish made with mutton, chicken, or fish accompanied over fragrant rice that has been cooked in chicken/mutton well spiced broth.[1]
  • Mahyawa (Arabic: مهياوة) – a tangy fish sauce
  • Maglooba (Arabic: مقلوبة) - Rice cooked with meat and potatoes and eggplant
  • Margoog, (Arabic: مرقوق) – Vegetable stew, usually containing squash and eggplant, cooked with thin pieces of rolled out dough.
  • Mumawwash, (Arabic: مموش) – Rice cooked with Green lentils and can be topped with dry shrimp.
  • Muaddas, Rice cooked with red lentils and can be topped with dry shrimp.
  • Mutabbaq samak, (Arabic: مطبق سمك) – fish served over rice. Rice is cooked in well-spiced fish stock.
  • Qouzi, (Arabic: قوزي) – Bahraini dish consisting of a roasted lamb stuffed with rice, meat, eggs, and other ingredients.
  • Zalabia (Arabic: زلابية) – fried dough soaked in syrup (sugar, lemon, and saffron) it has a distinctive swirly shape.

Typical Bahraini beverages

Qahwah is the national beverage, while tea is drunk for hospitality. Other popular beverages include laban (a kind of salty buttermilk), yoghurt drinks, and soft drinks.

Bahrain produces only a small amount of its food requirements due to limited land space, and imports much of its food.[2]

See also


  1. 1 2 Riolo, 2007, p.23 - 24
  2. Cuisine in Bahrain. Allo' Expat Bahrain (Website). Accessed April 2011.

  1. Sarah Al-Hamad (2008). Cardamom and Lime: Recipes from the Arabian Gulf. New Holland Publishers. ISBN 978-1-84537-988-9.
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