Qatar’s Cuisine: Traditional Dishes and Fusion Foods To Try

Qatar offers a variety of traditional foods which have evolved from traditional Bedouin eating habits and imported delicacies from around the world. Typical meals consist of rice, lamb or chicken, vegetables, and hummus. Qatari cuisine is an interesting fusion of Middle Eastern and international flavors. From sweet desserts to savory mezze, there are many great dishes to try in Qatar. This article will provide an overview of traditional Qatari dishes, as well as some popular fusion foods to experience.

A Brief History Of Qatari Cuisine

Qatari cuisine is heavily influenced by its Bedouin past. Bedouin nomads inhabit the desert regions of Qatar and rely on food items that can withstand high temperatures like dates, sour milk and hard cheese. Bedouins also make use of local spices like cardamom, black cumin and saffron. In addition to traditional Bedouin dishes, the influx of foreign visitors and traders during the 19th century brought about the introduction of international flavors and food items such as Turkish and Indian dishes.

Traditional Qatari Dishes

Despite the heavy influence from former traders, much of the cuisine from Qatar is still based on local ingredients and traditional Bedouin preparations. There are some unique dishes which have developed over time in the region that offer a unique taste of Qatar.


Machebous is a popular Qatari dish that consists of spiced fresh fish, usually kingfish or hammour, which is cooked with peppers, onions and tomatoes in a spicy tomato sauce. The fish is usually served over a bed of seasoned rice to help absorb the flavors of the sauce.


Tharid is a traditional dish which is popular throughout the Middle East. It consists of pieces of flatbread and lamb combined with a spiced yogurt and served with condiments such as diced cucumbers, olives and tomatoes.

Al Aroos

Al Aroos is a popular Qatari dish which consists of rice cooked in chicken fat and aromatic spices. The rice is then topped with chicken, and sometimes other meats, and served with salad.

Fusion Foods To Try In Qatar

In addition to traditional dishes, Qatar’s cuisine has been influenced by international flavors and cultures. There are now many restaurants and cafes in Qatar which offer fusion foods combining traditional Qatari dishes with international ingredients.

Turkish Ice Cream

Turkish ice cream, also known as dondurma, has become popular throughout the Middle East. It is a creamy, sticky ice cream served in large balls with flavors such as rose, saffron and cardamom.

Kibbeh Wraps

Kibbeh wraps are a popular fusion food which combines elements of Middle Eastern and Western cuisines. Kibbeh is ground beef and spices, which are then wrapped in pita bread and served with an array of toppings such as lettuce, tomatoes and yogurt.

Ful Medammes

Ful medammes is a popular breakfast dish throughout the Middle East. It is a dish of fava beans which have been cooked in a tomato sauce, laced with cumin, garlic and chili. This dish is commonly served with eggs and flatbreads.

Wraps, Sandwiches and Rolls

Wraps, sandwiches and rolls are a popular lunchtime option in Qatar. These can range from shawarma sandwiches filled with spiced lamb or chicken and tahini sauce, to falafel rolls or spicy fish rolls.

French Macarons

Macarons are a popular dessert which has made its way to Qatar’s food scene. They are a small sandwich cookie with a variety of flavors such as vanilla, chocolate, coconut, lemon, or coffee.

Qatari cuisine is a unique combination of local Bedouin flavors and international dishes. There are a variety of traditional dishes which are popular throughout the region, as well as numerous fusion foods to try. Whether you’re looking for a savory mezze or a sweet macaron, Qatar has it all.