10 Traditional Food In Yemen

traditional food in yemen

The Republic of Yemen is a country that’s part of the Arabian Peninsula. It’s a fairly large and beautiful country that also has a rich cultural and culinary heritage. It shares many of its most popular dishes with other countries of the Arabic world, but always with its own Yemeni twist. These Halal delicacies include Maraq that’s a delicious stewed lamb dish, Matfaiya that consists of chunks of tasty Kingfish, and the crispy Malawah bread that’s filled with butter. Check out our amazing list of traditional food in Yemen, and try these dishes out at home or during your next trip to Yemen.

1. Maraq (lamb broth soup)

I made lamb stew today. Aka Maraq Hilib Ari. For lunch I served it with #rice for my siblings. And now for #iftar am serving it with #moofo.

Posted by SIKIA Cooking on Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Maraq is a Yemeni stewed lamb that’s defined by its rich flavor and thick broth. It’s a fairly spicy dish, but feel free to reduce or increase the number of spices based on your personal preferences. The key ingredients of Marag consist of a leg of lamb, bay leaf, cardamom pods, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, chopped onion, green chili, ground black pepper, minced garlic cloves, oil, salt, white flour, and water. Use a pressure cooker to make the meat tender, and prepare the broth in a separate saucepan. Before serving the dish, make sure that you’ve removed whole spices and squeeze a lemon for added flavor.

2. Fahsa (stew)

I made the recipe from the new Milk Street magazine for their take on Fahsa, a Yemeni stew. I made it with beef and want to try it with lamb. It's fantastic!

Posted by Marty Pavelka on Monday, 31 October 2016

Fahsa is a popular Yemeni street food that’s prepared in a clay pot known as a madra. It’s a stew that consists of lamb cutlets and is fairly spicy, and should always be served hot. To prepare Fahsa, you’ll need the following ingredients: Canola oil, chopped onions, cumin, coriander, lamb cubes, Hulba paste, minced garlic cloves, pepper, salt, turmeric, and water. And, to prepare the Hulba paste, you’ll need the following: garlic, green chili, lemon juice, salt, tomato puree, and water.

3. Matfaiya (fish and rice)

Matfaiya (مطفاية) is made with large chunks of kingfish in a thick, tomato based sauce with other vegetables.

Posted by ‎مطعم اليمن السعيد - Yemen Restaurant‎ on Sunday, 18 June 2017

Matfaiya is a tasty dish that’s primarily made from chunks of Kingfish and dressed with a rich and thick tomato sauce, spices, and vegetables. But, that’s not all, you’ll also need the following ingredients: black pepper, chicken stock cubes, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, onions, tomatoes, vegetables, and water. Fry the fish on both sides in a large saucepan until they become brown and crispy, and prepare the tomato sauce inside a large bowl. Then, pour the tomato sauce over the fish before serving.

4. Mandi (chicken and rice)

Yemeni Chicken Mandi http://www.munatycooking.com/2016/02/yemeni-chicken-mandi.html

Posted by Recipes R Us on Monday, 28 March 2016

Mandi is a popular Yemeni dish that originated from the Hadhramaut region. It’s prepared with camel, chicken, goat, or lamb together with rice. The meat is usually cooked inside a Tandoor, which is a dug up pit in the ground and covered with clay. Several of the ingredients that you’ll need to prepare this dish include Basmati rice, Hawaij ground spices, peanuts, pine nuts, and raisins. The Basmati rice should be at the bottom of the Tandoor, while the meat is suspended above the rice.

5. Zurbian (lamb and rice)

#زربيان #هلوى #عشار ??

Posted by ‎مطعم بسباس و رز / Pilipili & Mchele‎ on Wednesday, 28 September 2016

If you’ve ever tried the Indian dish known as Hyderabadi biryani, then you’ll find that Zurbian tastes quite similar. It’s a dish that’s prepared for special occasions such as Eid and weddings and defined by its strong aroma. And it’s easy to see why, that is when one takes a look at the wide range of spicy ingredients required. These include Basmati rice, black pepper, browned butter, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, ginger, lamb shoulder, onion, orange blossom water, potatoes, saffron, tomatoes, turmeric, vegetable oil, water, xawaash bouillon powder, and yogurt.

6. Mashwi (grilled fish)

Grilled Fish السمك المشوي ________________________________________________ ZamZam Restaurant & Café Al Suwaiq (Near...

Posted by ZamZam Restaurant and Cafe on Sunday, 5 May 2019

Mashwi is a grilled fish dish that’s popular in both Yemen and Egypt. You’ll need at least 2 whole fish, preferably red snapper or sea bass, and a grilling basket that’s large enough to hold them. Then, you’ll need the following ingredients: black pepper, bouillon cube, chili pepper, cumin, garlic, lemon, lime juice, olive oil, oregano, parsley, rosemary, salt, Semolina flour, scallion, thyme, unsalted butter, and white wine. Before grilling the fish, you’ll have to marinate it with most of these ingredients and leave in the fridge overnight. Also, you’ll have to mix the black pepper, bouillon cube, garlic, lime juice, unsalted butter, salt, and white wine to make the lime and wine sauce for the Mashwi dish.

7. Malawah (bread)

Yemeni bread
Source: Photo by user Rick McCharles used under CC BY 2.0

Malawah is a delicious bread that’s served in many Yemeni eateries. This type of bread is usually not prepared at home and it is found almost exclusively at restaurants. It’s layered and filled with butter and features a semi-crispy crust. Ideally, it should be served hot and folded over regularly to prevent it from cooling down quickly.

8. Masoob (banana breakfast)

Masoub or Malikia for breakfast. Malikia as it is known in Saudi Arabia, and they call it Masoob in Yemen, is a sweet...

Posted by Cafe Youhannah on Monday, 27 May 2013

Masoob is the ideal dish if you’re craving something that combines sweet and savory flavors. Moreover, it’s a fruity dish, which means that you’ll need to track down the freshest fruit possible before preparing it. You’ll require the following ingredients: almonds, flatbreads, golden raisins, honey, ripe bananas, shredded cheddar, and whipped cream. Then, you’ll have to mash the bananas by hand and grind the flatbreads with a grinder or mixer. Finally, you’ll combine equal parts the banana and flatbread mixtures and top it off with the remaining ingredients.

9. Thareed (lamb and vegetable stew)

Thareed and a side of Tahini, Parsley, Green Onion Salad. Thareed is a traditional Arabic stew of mutton and vegetables;...

Posted by Mick Spillane on Sunday, 21 April 2013

Thareed is a mouthwatering lamb and vegetable stew dish that’s served on top of regag, which is a wafer-thin bread. While it’s preferable to use lamb, you can also prepare Thareed with chicken if you prefer. You’ll need the following ingredients: lamb shoulder or chicken, bay leaves, black pepper, Canola oil, carrots, cardamom, cloves, cumin, flatbread, ginger, potatoes, salt, tomatoes, yellow onion, and zucchini. Then, you’ll need to season the lamb and cook it inside a hot oven until all its sides turn brown. Over time, you’ll have to add the remaining ingredients at regular intervals.

10. Ogda (stew)

Ogda (عقدة), meaning knot, is a stew made from tying and mixing all the ingredients together. There are many types of...

Posted by ‎مطعم اليمن السعيد - Yemen Restaurant‎ on Sunday, 18 June 2017

Ogda is a unique stew that’s made by tying all the ingredients together into a knot. It’s possible to make Ogda with small pieces of either chicken, fish, or lamb. But to turn it into a delicious stew, then you’ll need the following vegetables: carrot, potato, zucchini. Add these to a boiling pot together with the meat, and mix thoroughly until the meat sears. Don’t forget to use the tasty Malawah bread you prepared earlier to scoop up the stew directly from the pot.

Rich and delicious food

If you enjoy exotic food that is delicious and spicy, then you can’t go wrong with these traditional Yemeni dishes. Many of these use chicken, fish, and lamb as their main ingredient together with a wide range of spices such as black pepper, cardamom, cumin, and coriander for that added zing!

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

Get Trip101 in your inbox

Unsubscribe in one click. See our privacy policy for more information on how we use your data

Freelance writer with an entrepreneurial background. I write about travel, business, technology, online casinos, gaming, entertainment, Japanese pop culture, and anything that's creating a buzz on...Read more

 Want to contribute as a Local Expert?
Explore Yemen
Good things are meant to be shared!