13 Dishes of Saudi Arabia: These regional dishes are steeped in tradition and flavour

13 Dishes of Saudi Arabia: These regional dishes are steeped in tradition and flavour

The Kingdom's Culinary Arts Commission has revealed the nation's signature dishes, each celebrating the diversity and cultural richness of each province
09 January 24

Saudi Arabia is known around the world for its expansive, natural landscapes and ancient heritage sites juxtaposed by the Kingdom's futuristic foresight and proposed projects.

Home is where the heart and belly is full. Often overlooked in favour of the very healthy selection of internationally acclaimed dining experience, the true heart of the Kingdom is shaped by the diverse array of delicious local dishes.

Given its geographical location alongside the nation's thirteen different provinces, Saudi Arabia is a melting pot of heritage, culture and culinary experiences. And, with this in mind the Culinary Arts Commission of Saudi Arabia recently announced the top dishes that represent each region or province of the Kingdom as part of the National and Regional Dishes Narratives initiative.

In January of 2023, the commission declared that Saudi's national dish was to be Jareesh: a savoury porridge dish made using wheat or bulgar that is usually seasoned and served with meat, and the Kingdom's official national dessert was to be Maqshush: a sweet dish typically served for breakfast made with wheat flour, ghee and topped with honey or sugar.

The Culinary Art Commission have recognised these dishes as those that best represent the heritage and heart of Saudi Arabia.

Let's take a look at the list. How many have you tasted?


Muqana Bread: A dough is made of whole wheat flour that is then rolled out on a stone slab and cooked over firewood until it becomes golden brown.


Al-Bukayla: A sweet paste of blended dates with flour, usually served with ghee in a dip in the centre.


Al-Kleja: A whole wheat cookie is stuffed with mixture of sugar and warming spices such as cardamom and cinnamon.

Asir / Aseer

Al-Haneeth: A slow roasted lamb dish, baked in an underground, clay oven with traditional spices and served with rice.

Eastern Province

Hassawi Rice: A rice dish recognised by its distinctive red colour that is native of AlAhsa and eaten post-fasting for suhoor.


Keubaibat Hail: Vine leaves stuffed with rice, cooked meat seasoned with onions, tomatoes and spices, topped with sliced lemons and pomegranate seeds.


Al-Maghsh: Meat is placed in a stone pot and cooked in a clay oven.


Madini Rice: Rice is boiled in stock and ghee, and often served with traditional lamb cuts flavoured with warming spices, tomato and saffron.


Saleeg: A creamy, rice dish typically made with local milk served with chicken and a healthy sprinkle of salt.


Al-Ruqsh: Spiced meat is served on top of bread pieces in a stone pot, and topped with meaty broth.

Northern Border Region

Al-Mulayhiya: A dish of meat and meat broth with rice, garnished with pine nuts and parsley.


Al-Margaouq: Small circular discs of wheat dough (similar to dumplings) are boiled in a broth of meat and vegetables.


Al-Sayadiah: A sauteed rice dish where rice is browned with onions and oil, served with local fish.