Saudi Arabia, like any other country in the world, is renowned for its original cuisine, which travellers should experience, even if they are only travelling to Makkah and Madinah. Be aware that there won't be many genuine locations close to the mosque itself if you're just there a few days before Umrah.
Stay at the Fairmont Makkah Clock Royal Tower
The renowned Fairmont Makkah Clock Royal Tower Hotel serves as an emblem of hospitality for people from all over the world who have gathered to pray, ponder, and contemplate. It is located just steps away from the holiest shrine in Islam. The centrepiece of the King Abdulaziz Endowment Project's Abraj Al Bait Complex is the 76-story Makkah Clock Royal Tower, the world's largest concrete structure.
With 76 lifts making it simple to get to and from Al Masjid Al Haram, guests can take in unrivalled spectacular views in all 945 rooms and suites due to the building's towering height and proximity to the mosque.
In addition, the hotel has ten mouth-watering dining options, from cutting-edge Asian fusion to Makkah's first five-star Saudi restaurant. A 24-hour business centre, a fitness centre for both men and women, a Kids Corner play area, over 3200 square metres of flexible event space, and eight cutting-edge conference rooms are among the other features.
With perks like a private lobby and round-the-clock butler service, Fairmont Gold offers visitors a “hotel within a hotel” experience for the pinnacle of opulent service and seclusion. In this exquisite environment, a seamless blend of modern luxury, Arab hospitality, and hallmark Fairmont service creates an exceptional experience.
Some Food to Try
However, if you are there for a longer period of time, you might want to look for these foods to try. This list includes some food items that aren't traditional to Saudi Arabia but are so beloved by the people that they are now regarded as part of the country's cuisine despite not being of Saudi origin.
This dish is Saudi Arabia's national cuisine so it's one that you simply have to try when in the Kingdom. This meal is spicy rice cooked mostly with chicken; however, it can also be made with other meats. It is usually served on a large platter and relatives or close friends eat the dish from the same plate.
The salad served as a side dish, rocket salad, gives a lovely twist of freshness. But the condiment—a tomato-based sauce or dip with a dash of spice is what makes this dish stand out. Locals, whether they are Saudi or not, often consume kabsa daily. You'll find kabasa eateries in every neighbourhood.
The popular local delicacy, jareesh, is named after the city of Qassim. Meat, yoghurt, and crushed wheat are its main components. It is similar to some varieties of haleem that you find across the world (a kind of a meat pudding). Jareesh is the national dish of Saudi Arabia, according to the Saudi Culinary Arts Commission. This cuisine has been around for many decades, even centuries and is a representation of their culture and heritage. It comes in two versions: white and red.
On this list, saleeq is perhaps the most traditional and uniquely Saudi food. It's almost exclusive to Saudi homes and is seldom encountered in eateries. The dish known as saleeq is native to the Hijaz area of western Saudi Arabia. Consisting of creamy rice with roast chicken, it is now making its way into restaurants.
After the rice has cooked in the chicken broth, roast chicken is placed on top, and milk is stirred in to make it creamy. Although it sounds simple to make, there is a class in that simplicity. Like the above Kabsa, it is served with other condiments as well. This is a very distinctive food that is probably unmatched anywhere else in the entire world and is exclusively found in this nation.
This is a Yemeni meal that is appreciated by people in the region. Rice is served with tender meat, another must-have; however, other countries in the world also have this cuisine. Hashi is meant to be a special supper every week, but Kabsa is meant to be eaten every day.
This is another rice and chicken dish. Shawaya chicken essentially refers to the method of cooking the chicken. And in actuality, it's possibly a variant of Kabsa. The chicken can be cooked slowly (Kabsa or Mandi chicken), chargrilled (named Madhbi, our fave), or cooked in the centre (called Shawaya chicken).
In Saudi Arabia, hakish is a delicacy made from camels. It is highly sought-after in the nation and is most often cooked for special events. Like the Kabsa, it comes with rice. If you've never tried camel before, it is similar in texture to goat meat if and depending how it's cooked, can be a bit tougher.
In addition to savoury foods like stews and curries, this traditional Saudi delicacy is a must-try. Mabshoor is a bread prepared with wheat, water, and yeast.
Kunafa is another well-liked traditional dessert you should not miss; it's cheesy, crispy, and gooey. Kunafa is a buttery delicacy composed of layers of pastry filled with cheese or thickened cream. Traditionally, kunafa is offered throughout Ramadan, along with other traditional sweets like warbat and loqiamt.
If you're visiting Makkah, make sure to try at least one of these foods!