Dilmun Delights

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Bahrain’s varied and rich culinary culture is influenced by Indian, Lebanese, Persian, Sri Lankan and Palestinian foods. It also offers a great mix of vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. At the heart of the food is the typical Bahraini Spice Mix and Black Lemon (it is actually jet black), a souring agent. The gamut of savoury food ranges from the typical Gulf delights like Biryani, Harees, Mahyawa, Maglooba, Qouzi and Machboos to popular sweet dishes, including Khabeesa and Zalabia, not forgetting its traditional Arabic coffee known as Qahwah. In fact with its huge number of date palms, Bahrain also has the moniker ‘Land of a Million Date Palms.’

When you are here, you must try the Machboos, a fragrant rice that is cooked with different meat, similar to biryani. A favourite with locals, it is made using fish, chicken or lamb infused with spices like black lemon, saffron, black pepper and cardamom, this is considered the national dish of Bahrain.

A variant made on special occasions is Qouzi, stuffed lamb with rice nuts, raisins and eggs. Since meat is a favourite, the Nashef is a stew made with chicken or lamb and potatoes in a tomato gravy.

Khubus (a special soft, pillowy bread) is baked fresh in a fire oven and is considered a staple in all meals. It is often enjoyed in the variant of khubus mahyawa (fish sauce) and khubus jibn (cheese bread). In fact, the locals also eat a lot of grilled food that team wonderfully with Khubus.

The fact that Bahrain has fresh water wells in its sea guarantees the best sea food. Don’t miss out on the local hamour! Crayfish, crab, prawns, lobster, tuna, safi and mackerel are other must have sea food options.

For dessert, the local halwa made with corn syrup, honey, saffron and nuts is a must try. Luqaimat or sweet dumplings made with fried dough in a rich saffron and cardamom-based sugar syrup is usually served with the Arabic coffee, Qahwah. If you love food, Bahraini cuisine will take you on a sensory overdrive – try it and you will know.

Bahrain’s varied and rich culinary culture is influenced by Indian, Lebanese, Persian, Sri Lankan and Palestinian foods. It also offers a great mix of vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. At the heart of the food is the typical Bahraini Spice Mix and Black Lemon (it is actually jet black), a souring agent. The gamut of savoury food ranges from the typical Gulf delights like Biryani, Harees, Mahyawa, Maglooba, Qouzi and Machboos to popular sweet dishes, including Khabeesa and Zalabia, not forgetting its traditional Arabic coffee known as Qahwah. In fact with its huge number of date palms, Bahrain also has the moniker ‘Land of a Million Date Palms.’

When you are here, you must try the Machboos, a fragrant rice that is cooked with different meat, similar to biryani. A favourite with locals, it is made using fish, chicken or lamb infused with spices like black lemon, saffron, black pepper and cardamom, this is considered the national dish of Bahrain.

A variant made on special occasions is Qouzi, stuffed lamb with rice nuts, raisins and eggs. Since meat is a favourite, the Nashef is a stew made with chicken or lamb and potatoes in a tomato gravy.

Khubus (a special soft, pillowy bread) is baked fresh in a fire oven and is considered a staple in all meals. It is often enjoyed in the variant of khubus mahyawa (fish sauce) and khubus jibn (cheese bread). In fact, the locals also eat a lot of grilled food that team wonderfully with Khubus.

The fact that Bahrain has fresh water wells in its sea guarantees the best sea food. Don’t miss out on the local hamour! Crayfish, crab, prawns, lobster, tuna, safi and mackerel are other must have sea food options.

For dessert, the local halwa made with corn syrup, honey, saffron and nuts is a must try. Luqaimat or sweet dumplings made with fried dough in a rich saffron and cardamom-based sugar syrup is usually served with the Arabic coffee, Qahwah. If you love food, Bahraini cuisine will take you on a sensory overdrive – try it and you will know.

Words: Bindu Gopal Rao

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