Top 12 Traditional Foods In Kuwait

traditional food in kuwait
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Located on the spectacular Persian Gulf, Kuwait is a fabulous Arab country known for its beautiful islands, rich cultural heritage, and oil reserves. It is world-famous for being home to the biggest petroleum industry on the globe. Kuwait City is popular for being the capital of the country, and it’s famous for its impressive modern architecture, such as skyscrapers, fascinating water towers, and splendid Kuwait Towers. The Tareq Rajab Museum is a popular tourist attraction, housing an incredible collection of Islamic art and ethnographic artifacts as well as family-friendly places of interest like amusement and theme parks. Besides the petroleum industry and stunning architecture, Kuwait is also popular for its traditional cuisines and it features numerous food joints, eateries, restaurants, and lavish international food chains offering fine dining experiences. Traditional Kuwaiti delicacies are scrumptious and full of flavors that you would crave to taste. So, if you have a trip to Kuwait on your mind for the upcoming vacation, enrich your travel and cultural experience by eating savory authentic Kuwaiti food. Continue reading to learn about the top traditional foods in Kuwait.

1. Balaleet (sweetened vermicelli with omelet)

Homemade Balaleet, 2023
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Mohamed Toorani used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Kuwait not only has several great places to stay for a comfortable sleep, but it also has some of the best food items on offer. For example, Balaleet, often a breakfast food, is a traditional Arabic food in Kuwait known for its unique combination of sweet and savory flavors. This beloved Emirati dish consists of vermicelli noodles mixed with sugar and aromatic spices such as saffron and cardamom, then topped with a savory omelet made from eggs, onions, and sometimes even ground meat. The contrast between the sweet and spiced noodles and the savory omelet creates a delightful harmony of flavors and textures that is both comforting and satisfying.

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2. Machboos (rice specialty served with sauce)

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Miansari66 used under CC0

You simply can’t miss tasting Machboos when in Kuwait. Machboos is a prominent delicacy here, and it’s often regarded as the national dish of Kuwait. It’s a savory rice-based traditional Kuwaiti specialty that is prepared by using fragrant basmati rice spiced with a variety of spices and mutton, or chicken. First, basmati rice is cooked with rosewater and saffron. Meat is slowly cooked separately. The cooked rice is then topped with the cooked meat. Machboos is served with a tasty red sauce called Daqqus, which is prepared by using garlic, tomatoes, and black pepper.

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3. Quozi (stuffed lamb served on spiced rice)

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Another traditional delicacy in Kuwait which you should certainly try is Quozi, also called ‘Ghozi’ or ‘Goozi’. Quozi is a delectable rice-based cuisine, which is prepared by stuffing the whole lamb with vegetables, nuts, rice, and spices and slow cooked over a submerged or closed oven. The stuffed lamb is then served on the bed of spiced rice. In certain Middle East areas, Quozi is prepared by burying in a pit comprising burning coal to spice it up with the smoky flavor. Traditionally, this dish is served at significant ceremonies, such as a wedding.

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4. Muttabaq Samak (Kuwaiti fish & rice)

Don’t miss devouring scrumptious Muttabaq Samak when vacationing in Kuwait. Muttabaq Samak is a delicacy where fish is served on delicious rice, which is cooked in nicely spiced fish stock. You can find numerous variations of this cuisine in various regions of the Gulf. In Kuwait, Muttabaq Samak is served with Zubaidi fish (i.e. pomfret), which is well-known as the national fish of Kuwait.

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5. Tashreeb (flatbread in meat stew)

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What does one need right after checking himself into one of the 5-star hotels in Kuwait? Some heartwarming tashreeb for the body and soul. Tashreeb is a cherished traditional dish in Kuwait, deeply rooted in the country’s culinary heritage. This flavorful dish is made by layering torn pieces of khubz (Arabic flatbread) with a rich, aromatic meat or chicken stew. The bread soaks up the savory broth, transforming it into a deliciously soft and spongy texture that’s a hallmark of tashreeb. The dish is often seasoned with a blend of aromatic spices and herbs, including cardamom, saffron, and cumin, infusing it with complex flavors.

Tashreeb’s popularity in Kuwait is not only due to its delectable taste but also because it symbolizes the region’s strong sense of community and hospitality. It’s often prepared for gatherings and celebrations, reflecting Kuwaiti culture’s warm and welcoming nature, where sharing a meal like tashreeb with friends and family is a cherished tradition.

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6. Gers Ogaily (Perfume cake)

Are you fond of cakes and wish to take traditional Kuwaiti cake? If yes, you should not miss eating Gers Ogaily, which is also popular as Perfume cake. Gers Ogaily is a well-known traditional cake in Kuwait that is characterized by its aromatic fragrance due to its ingredients, namely saffron, rose water, cardamom, and toasted sesame seeds. This mouth-watering sponge cake is baked in bundt cake pan. Eating this exotic perfume cake is a perfect way to end a meal. You will love relishing this light and fluffy cake.

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7. Khubz (Arabic flatbread)

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Obaid Raza used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Do you wish to taste traditional bread in Kuwait? Then you should try Khubz, which is an Arabic bread or pita prepared using wheat flour and then baked in a hot oven. It is also popular as ‘Khoubz’, ‘Khubez’, or ‘Khubooz’ in the Middle East. This Kuwaiti traditional food is well-known as a staple food of the local diet here. It is eaten with scrumptious hummus, which is a traditional dip of the Middle East. Hummus, which is served with Khubz, is prepared using mashed chickpeas and blended with olive oil and spices and garnished with caramelized onions, coriander, tomato, or sautéed mushrooms.

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8. Jireesh (Kuwaiti cracked wheat soup)

Jireesh is another traditional delicacy of Kuwait which you simply can’t miss to taste. It is popular as Kuwaiti cracked wheat soup which is prepared from mashed wheat cereal and cooked with lamb or chicken, onions, tomatoes, and spices, such as bay leaves, cinnamon stick, and raisins. This delicacy gifts you an earthy and sweet flavor, which develops due to the presence of sweet raisins. Jireesh is popular in Kuwait as a comfort food of the country. It’s cooked at home during special occasions like fasting.

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9. Maglooba (upside-down rice cake)

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Bazel used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Have you heard of the traditional rice cake devoured in Kuwait? Yes, Maglooba, also popular as Maqluba, is a savory cake prepared using rice, meat, and eggplant. It is cooked slowly in a circular flat pot and, once cooked, it’s turned upside-down to get delectable rice, meat, and vegetable cake. Its name, Maqluba, means ‘flipped over’ and it signifies its peculiar presentation. The traditional Kuwaiti cuisine of this Middle Eastern country fully satisfies your appetite and is easy to store. It is often served during family events and banquets.

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10. Margoog (meat stew)

Want to taste a scrumptious traditional stew in Kuwait? If yes, make sure you try Margoog. It is a well-cooked traditional stew of vegetables and lamb with pasta discs of whole-wheat. Usually, Margoog comprises eggplant, squash, and meat cooked with thin pieces of rolled-out wheat dough. Traditionally, it is served by pouring over the thin flatbread or baked/cooked with rolled-out dough. Have margoog for your meal here.

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11. Gabout (stuffed dumpling in meat stew)

Are you craving to devour mouthwatering dumplings when holidaying in Kuwait? If so, then don’t miss trying Gabout here. Gabout is well-known as a Kuwaiti national meal which you should definitely try when touring through the country. This traditional Kuwaiti cuisine is prepared by cooking delicious stuffed flour dumplings in a scrumptious thick meat stew. You can find chicken gabout and meat gabout to choose and have for your meal here.

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12. Harees (wheaty-meaty delicacy)

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Miansari66 used under CC0

Are you keen on trying out the traditional soup-like cuisine of Kuwait? Then, make sure your meal here includes Harees, which is a thick soup-like delicacy garnished with cinnamon sugar. It is prepared by using boiled, cracked and well-ground wheat and then blended with meat and mashed. Harees is comfort food in Kuwait which helps you to stay warm in the cold months of winter here. It’s a popular cuisine in Kuwait and is usually prepared and devoured in the month of Ramadan.

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Please your taste buds with traditional Kuwaiti food

10 Delicious Traditional Kuwait Food
Source: Pexels

Kuwait is famous for its food joints and abundant restaurants, greeting visitors to taste authentic flavors of Kuwaiti cuisines and Persian food. While you’re exploring the city and looking for great finds, make sure you stop once in a while and taste these 10 savory traditional Kuwaiti food during your next trip to this beautiful Arabic country.

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Frequently asked questions about traditional foods in Kuwait

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Manjiri Kochrekar is a travel blogger from India. She loves exploring and learning various destinations, their history, culture, and peculiarities. Writing is her passion, which means she enjoys...Read more

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