Food in Medina, the holy city of Saudi Arabia, is a celebration of life itself, for people from all parts of the world who have started on the Hajj or Umrah pilgrimage because of their beliefs and their faith. Medina food is an important part of the pilgrimage as good food is essential to keep the pilgrims going strong as they undertake this strenuous spiritual journey. Since the climate of Medina is hot and dry all through the year, initially there was very limited choice of food for the indigenous people living here. However, as the Hajj pilgrimage brought more people to Medina, with them came a new food revolution that didn’t just bring new type of dishes and cuisines to this place, but also made the sourcing of food easier.
Food in Medina: Special Care for Hajj & Umrah pilgrims
Since Medina is a holy place for Muslims, restaurants create their fare with immense care and maintain hygiene to ensure that people don’t fall sick after eating excessively oily or spicy dishes or food that has gone bad.
Restaurants in Medina
There are ample restaurants in Medina operated by people from various parts of the world, including Europe, Africa, America and so on. These restaurants, in turn, cater to people with varied tastes, and who come from all walks of life.
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Indian Restaurants in Medina
You can find plenty of Indian food in Medina, such as daal, naan, paranthas, samosas and so on. If you are craving Indian food, then some of the best places to visit would be The Ocean, Abu Khalid restaurant, Hyderabad House, Cumin, Shaheen, Zafran and Chilly Fry.
Pakistani Restaurants in Medina
And where Indian food is so readily available, can the neighbouring countries to India be far behind? One can find several restaurants serving Bangladeshi and Pakistani food in Medina as well, serving delicious meat curries and soft breads to the pilgrims. The best Pakistani restaurants in Madina include the Karachi Restaurant, New Madinah restaurant, Islamabad restaurant and Taiba Pakistani Restaurant among several others.
You can also find plenty of small Chinese restaurants that might not serve the absolutely authentic food of China, but does a pretty good job with putting an Arabic touch to Chinese dishes.
Medina Food: Popular dishes to have in Medina
Some of the must-have food in Madina, Saudi Arabia include dishes from all over the world such as biryani, haleem, shakshuka, shwarma, kebabs, steaks, dates and fried pastries. Some of the more exotic dishes of Medina include:
- Sambousek, which is a savoury pastry filled with vegetables or meat
- Mandi, which comprises of rice, spices and tandoor-cooked meat of a young lamb or chicken
- Malai Boti, which are small pieces of lamb stewed in cream and milk till it becomes very soft
- Green chicken tikka, a dish of grilled chicken that is marinated with herbs and spices overnight
- Mutton Daal, which comprises lentils and lamb cooked together..the list is long!
And the best part is that all these non-vegetarian dishes are prepared from the meat brought from the Madina halal market, so Hajj and Umrah pilgrims don’t have to worry at all about halal food.
Vegetarian food in Medina
However, not all food in Madina, Saudi Arabia is based on non-vegetarian items. There are plenty of restaurants that serve vegetarian food as well. There are also plenty of juice stalls that serve freshly-squeezed juices to reinvigorate the pilgrims for their daily prayers. There is also a famous beverage that one must try in Medina. It is the Gahwah, an Arabic coffee that is hand roasted, hand ground and then used to make fresh coffee for the patrons. It is generally served with a small dish of dates or savoury biscuits.
More than a hundred varieties of dates are grown here in Medina, and it is a must try when here. The sweetest varieties are the dark brown ones, which are soft to the touch and seem to melt in your mouth.