13 Traditional Bahraini Food Additions To Your Easy Recipes (2024)

Many will be unfamiliar with Bahraini food and the name “Kingdom of Bahrain,” but those who venture to this tiny island in the Persian Gulf will be pleasantly surprised by the abundance of delicious Bahrain food options available there.

Its location has strategically brought together many cultures, including the Persian, Sumerian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Portuguese, Arab, and British, and it was once known as the center of the ancient Dilmun civilization. Bahraini food is a great place to taste all of these different cultures.

In order to satisfy their cravings for the most genuine food of Bahrain, visitors from all over the world flock to the city’s bustling multi-cultural center. Whether you’re looking for American fast food, Italian pizza, or Bahraini recipes, you can find it all in this country. It’s simple to get disoriented by the abundance of alternatives and never experience the true character of Bahraini food.

It is fascinating to see how national dietary preferences vary in accordance with the climatic requirements and cultural inheritance of the various countries. While the island nation of Bahrain has welcomed the influences of the many cultures that have sought refuge there, it has managed to keep its native food of Bahrain alive and well.

By looking at it from above, BTW gives you an idea of what makes Bahraini recipes so beloved by both natives and foreigners. People visiting Bahrain should make a list of restaurants and Bahrain food they want to try.

When on vacation in Bahrain, what more could one want? No one should ever skip out on the food of Bahrain.

13 Traditional Bahraini Food Additions To Your Easy Recipes (1)

13 Traditional Bahrain Food Additions to Your Kitchen’s Easy Recipes

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1. Macarona Bahraini from Every Little Crumb

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An utterly comforting Bahrain food take on macaroni, macarona is what we call an elbow macaroni cooked dish with spiced ground beef. It’s an easy family favorite that is a real crowd pleaser!

Macarona is basically how we say macaroni in Arabic and is a popular food of Bahrain. Macarona is Arabic macaroni! We cook the ground beef with some mixed spices, and add to it a concentrated tomato sauce. You can add veggies like I did or keep this Bahraine food plain. Some people bake the cooked macaroni in the oven, but I like the stovetop method more- it’s saucier!

2. Bukhari Rice from Land Sand Flavors

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Very popular Bahrain recipes, especially loved in the Gulf countries, Bukhari Rice is an aromatic and flavorful rice dish that features numerous spices and has an interesting origin.

This Bahrain food gets its name from the famous city of Bukhara, a formerly prominent outpost on the fabled Silk Road which traversed the entire Asian continent for centuries. In reality, there wasn’t just one Silk Road, rather there multiple economic and cultural trade routes that were all effective in linking the cultures of East and West and everything in between.

The Silk Road was, in fact, one of the most important channels in the distribution of spices. As the terminus of the route, the Middle East was flush with spices ready to be shipped and traded further afield. This Bahraini food reflects the spices one could have found among the famed Silk Road.

3. Qamar Al-Deen (Dry Apricot Pudding) from Amira’s Pantry

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Amar al deen pudding, also known as kamar al deen or qamar aldeen mohalabeya, is an irresistible apricot pudding, creamy, fragrant and sweetened to your perfection. One of the most famous Ramadan Bahraini recipes.

Qamar al deen is a guest that shows up in many different forms on the iftar table during the month of Ramadan. With Ramadan almost two weeks from now, I feel it is time to introduce you to this lovely pudding. I’ve showed you before how to make the paste and the drink now it is pudding time.

The best amar eddeen paste is always made in Bahrain, they are the best and the largest producer and exporter to this delicious apricot roll ups. You can spot it easily in most Middle Eastern stores, but you can make this food of Bahrain yourself.

4. Lamb Shawarma from Recipe Tin Eates

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This slow roast lamb shawarma makes a simple and relaxed Sunday lunch. The lamb joint is large enough to serve eight, so double the couscous and raita in these Bahrain recipes if you’re looking for an easy way to feed a crowd.

This meltingly tender Slow Cooked Lamb Shawarma is the stuff food dreams are made of!! Slathered in a deceptively simple shawarma spice rub then slow cooked until fall apart, the flavour and fragrance of this lamb is absolutely heavenly. This Bahraini recipes dish is ideal for butterflied lamb leg OR lamb shoulder.

5. Chebeh Rubyan (Bahraini Shrimp Balls) from Global Table Adventure

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Shrimp balls blend the flavors of the Middle East with India. Though these are traditionally stuffed with minced onion, I prefer the simplicity of unfilled balls. If you like spicy food, add a sprinkle of cayenne. The way the Bahraini recipes stand, however, this Bahrain food is mild, but wonderfully flavorful.

6. Bahrain Stuffed Dates from International Cuisine

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These Bahrain stuffed dates are so sweet and delicious it is the perfect end to any meal with a nice cup of coffee. Dates are plentiful in Bahrain and stuffing them with a cranberry and almond cream cheese is a cinch. You will love these!

7. Lamb Ghouzi from Martha Stewart

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This Arabian Gulf showstopper is traditionally prepared by stuffing a whole lamb with rice or pasta, nuts, onions, and spices. Martha simplifies the Bahraini food by using lamb shoulder instead.

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8. Baba Ganoush (Cooking with Eggplants) from Foreign Fork

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Baba Ganoush is a Bahraini food made by pureeing eggplant with herbs and spices to create a unique dip or spread. Similar to hummus, baba ganoush is delicious on sandwiches, eggs, or with vegetables.

There are a few ways that you can avoid this bitter-skinned scenario. First, slice or cube the eggplant and then salt it. As the salt rests for about a half an hour, osmosis draws the water from the eggplant, taking the bitterness along with it. Another option to stave off bitterness is to simply remove the skins altogether.

The latter is the route that I chose for my baba ganoush. The eggplants roast for long enough to tenderize the interior flesh of the vegetable, but not so long that the skin cannot be removed easily. By removing the skin from the eggplants after roasting, only the sweet part of the vegetable remains to make your delicious baba ganoush.

9. Chicken Machboos from Foreign Fork

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A flavorful chicken and rice speciality, Machboos will show you the beauty and flavors of Middle Eastern cuisine. Dive right into Bahraini culture by making this insanely delicious Bahrain food at home!

This chicken and rice Bahraini food, while flavorful in its own unique and delicious way, reminds me a lot of these two recent favorites! It is comforting, warm, and truly takes plain ol’ rice to an entirely new level. I can’t wait for you to try making this one at home!

We are making this Chicken Machboos today as a way to celebrate Bahrain, a 277 square mile country located near Qatar and the Persian Gulf. Machboos is the national dish of the country, and it features some really lovely and unique flavors that you will love trying out.

10. Bahrain Breakfast from Grandprix Eats

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Blog after blog, travellers raved about the rich and elaborate breakfast culture in Bahrain so to kick off the season, we decided to serve up a Traditional Bahraini Breakfast.

After looking at a few popular cafe menus, the staples seemed to include a range of vegetarian legume dishes including Nikhee (a spicy chickpea dish), Foule (a mashed fava beans dish), tomato aubergine eggs, an assortment of breads and salads, and the most frequent star player – Balaleet.

Balaleet at first sounded a bit strange, with a mix of sugar, cardamom, and scrambled eggs. I was originally going to pass on the Bahrain food, but a little bag of noodles sitting on the shelf at Shaganappi Grocery caught my eye and ended up in my basket.

The balaleet ended up being the star of our meal! Akin to a sweet kugel, or maybe even warm cinnamon oatmeal if you really stretch your imagination, it was one of those things that was kind of off-putting on the first bite, but then we just couldn’t.stop.eating.it.

11. Halwa Bahraini from 196 Flavors

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Unlike many Asian countries where halwa is prepared with semolina or flour, what makes these Bahrain recipes for halwa from Bahrain special is the use of corn starch and rapeseed oil.

This Bahraini food was not invented in Bahrain, as its name suggests, but rather on the island of Zanzibar, located in Tanzania. Omanis, who have always maintained close commercial ties with the island, were the first to introduce this delicious Middle Eastern sweet in the Gulf countries. Neighboring Emirates have subsequently adopted it. In Bahrain, it probably became popular 150 years ago.

Most halwa stores in Bahrain bear the name of the Showaiter family, a dynasty that has been synonymous with halwa in Bahrain for over a century. Bahraini even came to call their national treasure “halwat Showaiter”. The name Showaiter has become synonymous with the delicacy in Bahrain.

12. Mahalabia Bahrain Recipes from Polkadot Passport

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Inspired by a dessert from Bahrain, mahalabia and chia pudding are layered together and topped with a caramelized pistachio crumble in this unique Bahraini food. It’s dairy-free, refined-sugar free and healthy enough to have for breakfast!

Due to its position in the Gulf, seafood is abundant in Bahrain and features in many of their traditional Bahraini food. Most typically, a Bahraini meal will consist of fish or meat served with a variation of rice. However, thanks to a large ex-pat community, you can find plenty of vegetarian food around Bahrain.

A strong Arabic influence has made hummus and falafel particularly popular options. As for local Bahraini vegetarian food, the options are a little more limited.

13. Bahraini Kebab from I Love Arabic Food

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Bahraini kebab is very popular during ramadan and usually served during iftar. Crisp on the outside with a soft interior, the bahraini kebab makes a great little spicy vegetarian appetizer, delicious when served with a cool refreshing yoghurt and coriander dipping sauce.

The batter for the bahraini kebab is made using chickpea flour, known locally as kebab flour… besan and gram flour are also other names for chickpea flour.

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13 Traditional Bahraini Food Additions To Your Easy Recipes (2024)


What is Bahrain's traditional food? ›

Machboos is the national dish of Bahrain. It is a spiced rice dish typically made with basmati rice, meat (chicken, lamb, or fish), and a blend of aromatic spices such as cloves, cinnamon, and black lime. It is often garnished with fried onions and served with a side of tomato sauce called "dakous."

What do they drink in Bahrain? ›

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.

What is Bahraini traditional sweet? ›

Halwa. Bahraini halwa is a famous traditional sweet in the GCC.

What is the traditional Bahraini bread? ›

(A) Khubez tanoor, a single-layered flat leavened bread baked in a traditional clay oven. (B) Khubez rigag, a thin unleavened flat bread thinly spread out on a hot flat griddle. (C) Khubez tamer, a traditional date-based bread.

Is hugging allowed in Bahrain? ›

In bahrain males and females can hold hands and hug and give each other quick kisses on the cheeks. Some people won't do this because they are more conservative but it is certainly not an offensive thing to do in public.

What is the drinking age in Bahrain? ›

drinking age is 18 or 21 (it depends on the establishment's rules). The Bahrain customs allows any travelers of 18 years of age and above to import alcoholic liquor not exceeding 01 liter and 06 cans of beer. It is important to know which substances or items are illegal or restricted before entering the country.

Is it OK to drink alcohol in Bahrain? ›

Alcohol is legal in Bahrain with a number of bars, licensed restaurants and off-licences; however, drunken behaviour in public or driving under the influence of alcohol is against the law, making the offender liable to a fine or imprisonment and/or deportation and withdrawal of their driving licence.

Can you drink alcohol in Bahrain? ›

Alcohol. Alcohol is legal in Bahrain with a number of bars, licensed restaurants and off-licences; however, drunken behaviour in public or driving under the influence of alcohol is against the law, making the offender liable to a fine or imprisonment and/or deportation and withdrawal of their driving licence.

What is Bahrain's main language? ›

Arabic is the official language of Bahrain, though English is widely used.

What is a traditional Bahraini breakfast? ›

Bahrain Breakfast: Balaleet, Foule, Nikhee, Tomato Eggs, and Tomato Cucumber Salad. Traditional Bahrain Breakfast. Persian vermicelli sweetened with sugar and cardamom, topped with soft scrambled eggs. Spicy fava beans.

Does Bahrain have pork meat? ›

Exports In 2022, Bahrain exported $2.41k in Pig Meat, making it the 106th largest exporter of Pig Meat in the world. At the same year, Pig Meat was the 896th most exported product in Bahrain.


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