Qatari National Food or Staple
Is there such a dish that would distinguish Qatar from neighboring countries or continents.
I am not referring here to general Middle Eastern style fast foods, like ful & falafel, or shish-kebabs, kafta, hommos, shish-taouk, kebbeh and the rest.
I would like to know if there is something like the equivalent of Couscous for a Maghrebian, or Maghrabeyya for a Lebanese or Molokhiyya for an Egyptian for that matter...
Can you eat good quality, Mediterranean style 'grilled' fish at a restaurant?
What would be the Qatari menu for a feast like Eid el-Fitre (la grande bouffe), for example. Thank you.
Just to add to Mr.Niceguy eateries.
Best Fish, Golden Fish, both under same management, have excellent fish grilled or fried. Also, try the Sheraton Sea food night on wednesdays, excellent. large prawns, fish steaks, lobsters, crayfish, crabs, etc etc. the list is endless. but worth a try.
I often eat fish out. Sterling restaurant and any place calling itself 'Broasted-" does very good fish and chips. And when I say 'fish and chips', I mean nice fresh fish with a slightly peppery batter, salad bread and decent french-fried potatoes. Good fish too at Garveys, Rugby Club, Sandwich Cellar and Rick's; plus fish curries and soups at the Indian places like Garden, Star and Caravan. And the big supermarkets sell grilled fish from their hot food counters.
Thanx dweller/Giasi/ Super,
for your helpful insights.
I understand fish could be a problem in fast foods, cuz it has to be absolutely fresh with zero odor, beautiful dead eyes, big turn-over, etc. Fish and chips is the easy way out for fast food outlets, but may be that culture hasen't been imported yet. On the other hand, Mediterrenean way of grilling fish that goes with outdoor eateries (like in Spain, Greece or Egypt) may be not there either.
Lastly, would it be recommended to eat 'frequently' seafood extracted from the Gulf waters...? (unless it's flown in from international sources?)
I agree super. Doha eateries really dont take advantage of the abundance of seafood. People seem to be obsessed with meat and chicken.
I am always surprised about how little fish features in the diet here. None of the fast food restaurants offer it (Arabic ones as well as others) and yet we are surrounded by the sea.
Anywhere esle in the world with this kind of location would have a diet totally dominated by seafood
Moudir, Most of the cuisine in this part of the world developed out of bedouin lifestyles, so goat and camel meat is often eaten and easily stored and transported pulses, rice and flour along with spices. Coastal regions relied heavily on fish.
I am not a qatari, but ill try and give you a very brief list of the main traditional gulf dishes.
Ghouzi - a dish of a whole lamb baked over rice whereby the rice absorbs all the meats juices, however, this dish originated in iraq.
Machboos - a dish much like biriyani where meat (lamb, chicken or fish) is cooked together with the rice.
Harees - a dish of wheat and meat where they are slowly cooked together and continuosly beaten to make a porridge-like consistency and a homogenous consistency.
Thareed - a dish of meat stew mixed with small pieces of thin unleavened bread
Other foods revolved around the readily available dates and milk from livestock. As trading became more common, spices and foreign dishes (like biriyani) were added.
The above dishes are all from the UAE, but gulf cuisine has very similar roots and i have eaten these here.
As you said, maybe a Qatari could post more info.
We visited a camel racing camp in the years before the Shahaniya camel racing course and camp was built.
There were no women in the camp but we had roast mutton (cooked underground), rice (served with yoghurt), salad, water and tea.
I imagine that is probably typical food but am not sure.
We also had a run out on a racing camel (only about 200 yards) in the dark with about 30 4WD's lined up with headlights on so that we could see the track.
Right Mr. Niceguy,
I was hoping to hear from 'real' Qataris also on this site :)
As you know, there are here, 'cultural promoters', 'preachers' qualified and unqualified, 'morality squads', 'decency advocates', 'self-proclaimed experts', etc. etc., but suddenly, all these people seem not to be acquainted with Qatari social environment. Isn't that ironic...? :)
To be fair on my fellow posters, Qatari society is very family based and they're a bit protective so though some people get invited to the occasional wedding, no foreigner will ever be invited into a Qatari home, so how would we know what they eat? I only know about machbous because I lived in canteen conditions for the first year I was here, and I occasionally talk about food and cooking with my students.
Hallelujah Mr Niceguy, thank you !
I had given up hope about hearing anything on this topic. I thought they all ate fish & chips or KFC...!?!?
I agree that the topic might have been a bit boring, as it gave no room for borderless preaching or soliloquizing (when nobody is listening...)
My point was not to find out what kind of food one could expect to find in Doha restaurants, but rather to know how interested expats are in local culture and what locals cook for their feasts... regrettably not too many people on this site know anything Qatari culinary habits...
Qatar's only distinctive traditional dish is 'machbous'. It's spiced rice combined with meat and/or seafood and traditionally served from a large communal platter. I've never seen it in restaurants but work-place canteens sometimes do it. The restaurants here mostly do Lebanese or Turkish style food, not least because most of them ARE Lebanese or Turkish. Fish is invariably excellent.