Traditional Qatari dishes you need to try during Qatar National Day

Traditional Qatari dishes you need to try during Qatar National Day

Qatar Living
By Qatar Living

Did you know Qatari cuisine is largely influenced by Iranian and Indian cuisines?

Spices like cardamom and saffron are essential spices in delicacies like Machboos or Kabsa, a meal consisting of rice, meat, and vegetables, which is considered to be the national dish in Qatar.

If you're in Qatar, as a resident or tourist, your cultural experience will not be complete unless you try the authentic Qatari cuisines.

Expatriates and tourists in Qatar often mistake other Arab cuisines like Hummus, Tabouleh or kebabs to be authentic Qatari dishes but they are Levantine cuisines that are very popular here. 

We decided to list at least five Qatari dishes you all should try if you're in the country.

1. Thareed

This dish can be identified as what we call a pot of stew. In the blend, you will find vegetables like potatoes, carrots, onions, beans, and others. It is usually made with either chicken or lamb mixed with tomato sauce and spices.

At the very bottom of the dish, you will find pieces of bread soaked in the stew to be softened. Unofficially, some may refer to it as the Qatari lasagna.

2. Machboos or Kabsa

The Qatari Machboos will look similar to a Biriyani. It is a deliciously spiced rice dish that can be cooked with practically any type of meat you might like, to name a few: chicken, lamb, goat, beef, camel, shrimp and fish. This is one of the most popular dishes in any Qatari home.

Finishing touches include sprinkling rose water and lemon juice over it, which guarantees amazing aroma. The “pang of flavor” will leave you wanting more (which may explain the large portions it comes in).

3. Harees

Harees is a very popular Qatari dish that consists of boiled, cracked, or coarsely-ground wheat, mixed with meat or chicken (or both). Its consistency is usually that of porridge. Harees is a very popular dish known in the GCC, especially in the month of Ramadan and other festive occasions.

4. Balaleet

Balaleet is a dish known to be eaten for breakfast in Qatar but is occasionally served as a dessert course.  It is a dish that can be eaten cold or hot, depending on your preference. The array of flavors that come with this Indian inspired dish is often very appreciated by people trying it for the first time – it isn’t just sweet and savory, but can also be crunchy due to the nuts. Often you’d also eat it with a side of the omelette.

5. Mahalabiya

Mahalabiya is kind of a custard/pudding dessert dish made from ground rice milk. In a non-traditional approach, the pudding can be made from many other flavors and added with the suitable toppings. Like much of the Qatari cuisine, Mahalabiya is also infused with rose water for added taste, an alternative is an orange blossom.

This dessert is very smooth and easy to eat - light and delightful. Mahalabiya is good option to end a night with, especially with Qatari cuisine. You start with a bang and you end with one as well!


There's definitely more to Qatari cuisine than the five dishes we mentioned above. You may also try Madhrouba, Marghouga, Legaimaat (sweet) to name a few.

Finding a restaurant in Doha that serves traditional Qatari cuisine might not be as easy as you think, but there are plenty of stalls in Souq Waqif that sell these Qatari dishes.

Have you tried any of these cuisines before? Which one was your favorite?


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Cover Image Credit: daring gourmet
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By Molten Metal• 14 Jul 2020 09:17
Molten Metal

It's a repost ....... you see ....... MM is there and MM is here too ......

By Dubaimagazine• 2 Apr 2016 20:40

Bonus: food in Qatar:

By mohdhameedhasan• 11 Dec 2015 09:32

I Love to Eat chicken or mutton Machboos or Kabsa please suggest me a hotel or restaurant name to try

By mango@enjoy2• 9 Dec 2015 12:29

hhhuuuummmmm love a mutton majboos cooked with butter...delicacies as u can imaging.....

By Qatari92• 13 May 2015 05:09

you can buy Mehalabiyya from Tea Time

By US2Qatar• 22 Feb 2015 08:49

Ani, thanks. I will pm you as well, but it will be benefit others if you share the information here.

By ani_chy• 20 Feb 2015 15:21

@US2Qatar - there are some kitchens in Qatar that serve these. You will find that these kitches are not restaurants, but serve as private caterers for large orders and parties.

I stay in Wakra, and know quiet a few of me if need directions or their names..:D

By US2Qatar• 20 Feb 2015 07:18

So no one knows restaurants which serve these dishes?

By Careers1• 18 Feb 2015 09:11

Oh i've tried Yummy thareed and harees last ramadhan.. Thanks to our Qatari neighbor who shares their blessings to us. :)

By US2Qatar• 18 Feb 2015 08:03

Thank you for sharing. Can someone also share restaurants information (name & locations) to try these dishes as well?

By Riyal2Rupee• 18 Feb 2015 06:12

@ataperla, appreciate ur research,thanks.

@Prize,no doubt shity saka - he's evil.

By ali-54321• 17 Feb 2015 20:13

tell me in which restaurant i can find all this cuisine ?

By ataperla• 17 Feb 2015 13:52

and what about the Loqaimat? which is similar to gulab jamun... its nice alos

By ataperla• 17 Feb 2015 13:49

Machboos or Kabsa originally an Indian cuisine

By ataperla• 17 Feb 2015 13:47

Mehalabiyya is not a qatari cuisine!!!!!

Thareed is oily faty and yukkyyy!!

Harees i love it but does it comes with Chicken?

Balaleet is really sweet and nice i love it.

By Mrtky• 17 Feb 2015 13:33

it means -> thanks for sharing

By Prize• 17 Feb 2015 13:13

I am sorry but some people use tfs as an abuse i don't know if saka's mind is that dirty.because he often abuses innocent qlers on other forums.

By Prize• 17 Feb 2015 13:10

r u mental sakaera ? do u know the meaning of Tfs ? idiot.

By mast kalandar• 17 Feb 2015 12:34
mast kalandar

kabsa and harees have tasted but interested to try others as well ...............

By sakaera• 17 Feb 2015 11:45

Tfs. Very informative.

By Molten Metal• 17 Feb 2015 10:23
Molten Metal

You need a lot of time for that ...............

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