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Bahraini cuisine facts for kids

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Dattes Lagou
Dried dates.

The cuisine of Bahrain consists of dishes such as Biryani, Harees, Khabeesa, Machboos, Mahyawa, Maglooba, Qouzi, and Zalabia. Qahwah is the national beverage.

Bahrain is a small island state near the western shores of the Persian Gulf. Much of the cuisine of Bahrain is a mixture of Arabic, Persian, Indian, Balochi, African, Far East, and European food due to the influence of the various communities present, as Bahrain was an important sea port and trading junction since ancient times.


Dum Biryani Plate
Biryani with chicken

Some of the common dishes prepared in Bahraini households are:

  • Masli (Arabic: المصلي) - Rice cooked with chicken, meat, fish or shrimp and the ingredients are cooked directly into the pot.
  • Biryani, (Arabic: برياني) – A very common dish, which consists of heavily seasoned rice cooked with chicken or lamb. Originally from the Indian sub-continent.
  • Fi Ga'atah, (Arabic: في قاعته) or Taht Al Aysh (Arabic: تحت العيش) - White rice cooked with tomatoes and potatoes and eggplant in the bottom of the pan.
  • Harees, (Arabic: هريس) – Wheat cooked with meat then mashed, usually topped with cinnamon sugar.
  • Jireesh (Yireesh) (Arabic: جريش), – A mash of cooked spelt with chicken or lamb, tomatoes, and some spices.
  • Machboos, (Arabic: مجبوس) – A dish made with mutton, chicken, or fish accompanied over fragrant rice that has been cooked in chicken/mutton well spiced broth.
  • Mahyawa (Arabic: مهياوة) – A tangy fish sauce
  • Mumawwash, (Arabic: مموش) – Rice cooked with Green lentils and can be topped with dry shrimp.
  • Muhammar, (Arabic: محمر) – Another rice dish made from local rice with dates or sugar, is one of the most distinctive rice dishes in Bahrain and is always served with fried fish, especially the net fish of Bahrain.
  • Qouzi, (Ghoozi) (Arabic: قوزي أو غوزي) – A Bahraini dish consisting of a roasted lamb stuffed with rice, meat, eggs, and other ingredients.
  • Falafel (Arabic: فلافل ) -- A dish consists of fried chickpeas and is served as fried balls in sandwiches with vegetables, It is not originally from Bahrain but it is popular.
  • Al-Mudalal (Arabic: المدلل) -- It is rice cooked with herbs and is mixed with small pieces of chicken, and then a special kind of butter, which is specially prepared for this dish, is added.

Modern Food

Bahrain is the home of Malghoom (Arabic: ملغوم) which is a popular Sandwich wrap consist of Shawarma, a slice of cheese, Tahina sauce, Hot Sauce, Salad, and Fries all wrapped up in a Chapati bread. This dish originated in the early 2000s and became very popular in most cafeterias. In late 2010s many local coffee shops started to server Saffron latte and Rose latte.


  • Ghuraiba (Arabic: الغريبة) – Brittle cookies made from flour, butter, powdered sugar and cardamom. It's usually served with Arabic coffee.
  • qirs altaabi - A dish made of Flour, eggs and ground cardamom to make a paste that is heated on a hot surface.
  • Khabeesa (Arabic: الخبيص) – Sweet dish made of flour and oil.
  • Gaimat, (Arabic: قيمات) or Luqaimat – Sweet fried yeast dumplings soaked in saffron syrup (sugar, lemon, and saffron) or honey or date molasses.
  • Khanfaroosh, (Arabic: خنفروش) – A popular Bahraini dessert, a fried dessert prepared using molasses or milk, usually served in the morning breakfast with a cup of tea or coffee.
  • Zalabia (Arabic: زلابية) – Fried dough soaked in syrup (sugar, lemon, and saffron) it has a distinctive swirly shape.

Typical Bahraini beverages

Qahwah is the national beverage, while tea is drunk for hospitality. Other popular beverages include laban (a kind of salty buttermilk), yoghurt drinks, Sharbat (sweet drinks) like the Rose Sharbat or Rose with Milk, and soft drinks.

Bahrain produces only a small amount of its food requirements due to limited land space, and imports much of its food.

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