Mecca (or Makkah) is the holiest city for Muslims as it is the birthplace of Prophet Muhammad, the founder of Islam. Which is why more than 2 million Muslims from around the world descend on Makkah every year to perform Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages. Makkah Food is very varied, serving their own versions of famous western foods such as fried chicken just like in the US but even better, and pizza with soft, gooey cheese that reminds you of the best pizza pies of Sicily.
Food in Makkah: Special Care for Hajj & Umrah pilgrims
Pilgrims put a lot of emphasis on a healthy and balanced diet during hajj. This is because of the gruelling Hajj schedule, the incessant heat and humidity, and hygiene. The organizers thereby ensure to provide only the best quality Makkah Food for the pilgrims. Although Mecca already has plenty of food options even when it is not Hajj season, during this season plenty of other options also spring up. However, it is said that consumption of spicy food is not allowed during Hajj season for pilgrims, because it is quite likely for people to fall sick thus hampering their daily prayers schedule.
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Makkah Food – Popular food available in Makkah
One can opt for Makka fast food or Mecca traditional food, the choices are equally baffling in terms of a varied menu. People can choose from plenty of options of meat, vegetables, fruits and other items such as milk, honey and dates. Some of the must-have Meccan food include:
- Fool Tamees, an Afghani bread that is served with a spicy curry that will leaving you craving for more
- Shwarma, a universally known dish, is also found here with authentic sauces and breads
- There is also a more Meccan version of this humble dish, known as the Arabi. It differs from the usual version by the addition of egg-based sauces.
- For those craving some Indonesian food, the Mutabaq is a great option. It is available at plenty of street stalls as well as multi-cuisine restaurants, so it is never very far from you. It is sort of like a pancake, which can be savoury as well as sweet. So choose wisely, when choosing between banana mutabaq or chicken mutabaq. Or you can have them both, since these are not spicy, and neither are they deep fried.
- You can also try Basboosa, a soft and delicious sweet dish that is made with eggs, sugar and semolina. Additional sugar syrup is added before serving it, so that it is moist and fresh when people have it.
- Another amazing desert for people to indulge in is the very famous baklava, which are layers and layers of flaky pastry that is interspersed with nuts, honey, raisins and jaggery in some cases. It is melt-in-mouth good and can simply be eaten as a snack when walking around or towards the evening after you are done with your prayers.
Keeping in mind that the food offered here is for pilgrims, the Makkah food prices are kept quite reasonably fixed. It is said that Mecca welcomes neither the rich nor the poor, instead it welcomes pious minds and prayers of the pilgrims. Meccan food thus offers solace to the pilgrims, far away from home in a distant land. When they eat the food of their culture or of their ancestors, they feel right at home and comfortable with the prayer hours.
One can also visit Makkah food market for tasting some of the most delicious local dishes that are available here. This should ideally be done after the Mecca visit is over, so that even if the oily and spicy food gives you a tummy ache, which would be totally worth it, you can at least be assured that your prayers have been delivered.
When choosing your Mecca meals for the day, remember to have the sort of food that makes you feel comfortable and relaxed, so that nothing can interfere with your prayers. After all, Hajj is all about prayers, and being closer to the one you believe in.