Local spices, Qatar

Attraction

Delicious Qatari Cuisine

Middle Eastern specialties and street food

Locally caught fish are always plentiful, but many other staples have to be imported. Over the years, local specialities have been heavily influenced by the flavours and recipes of India, Iran and North Africa with favourite dishes including machboos, a richly spiced stew of seafood or meat, and ghuzi, a whole roast lamb on a delicious bed of rice and nuts. Traditional sweet dishes include fresh fruits and locally grown dates, as well as desserts like khabees, semolina flavoured with rose water, nuts and spices, and umm ali, an Egyptian treat that’s much like bread pudding.

Coffee is also a key part of Qatar’s food and drink scene; served in tiny cups, it’s always sweetened and often spiced with notes of saffron and cardamom and a speciality is qawha helw, flavoured coffee with orange essence. If you’re more of a tea-drinker, we recommend trying a cup of chai karak, a sweet black tea infused with cardamom and sugar.

Street food can be found throughout Qatar, particularly in busy market places such as the Souq Waqif. Here, you’ll find many food stalls selling biriyani-style meals including machboos. Other favourites include:

Kousa Mahshi

This Middle-Eastern favourite sees courgettes stuffed with lamb, mint and garlic and often with cinnamon flavoured rice too.

Wareq Enab

Another stuffed vegetable dish, you’ll find this served everywhere in Doha as grape leaves are filled generously with lamb, rice and spices.

Mathrooba

Enjoyed as a hearty treat to break the fast of Ramadan, this spiced, creamy chicken dish is a favourite among the locals.

Tabbouleh

A firm favourite, this fresh bulgur wheat salad is flavoured with mint and parsley, then tossed in olive oil and lemon before being served as part of a mezze. Healthy and delicious.