Treat to your taste buds to an exciting food adventure in Manama, Bahrain
Bahrain’s food scene is as exciting as its economy, constantly thriving and improving over time. Manama, its capital, is an example of this paradigm shift. Trying the delicious Bahraini traditional food is a gastronomic adventure in Manama, an amazingly fulfilling one!
Through the years, the influx of foreigners to the country has greatly influenced the tastes of this nation. Today, the Kingdom features cuisines from all over the world such as: American, Chinese, Continental, Filipino, Indian, Italian, Pakistani and Thai.
Before you decide to try one of the international cuisines, which are most likely better tasted in their home countries, why not take the plunge and go for Bahraini food instead? As the saying goes, “When in Rome, do what the Romans do;” Better yet, when in Bahrain, “Eat what the Bahrainis eat!”
Bahrain is a desert island, which means that the local food relies primarily on the plant species and animals that inhabit the land and surrounding sea. For example, camel meat and milk are quite common in Bahraini dishes, especially on special occasions. Seafood is also abundant, and the Bahraini cuisine consists of mouthwatering dishes of crab, grouper, lobster, mackerel and shrimp, among many others.
Being a Middle Eastern country, Bahrain’s local cuisine obviously serves the customary Middle Eastern favorites; rice and kebabs, lamb and chicken, fish and olives, herbs and, of course, lots of spices. Dishes such as Hummus, Tabouleh and Falafel are also very common and famous in the capital city.
Restaurants in Bahrain are a culinary haven for foodies, you will find all sorts of cuisines served everywhere you go. But try the Bahraini cuisine and you will not regret it!
Balaleet for breakfast makes everyone happy!
Served as a breakfast dish, Balaleet is made with sweet fried vermicelli pasta topped with saffron omelet. This brilliant dish is crunchy yet tender, it is also sweet and savory, all at the same time!
To start your gastronomic adventure in Manama you need to start with a typical Bahraini breakfast. And when it comes to finding the best breakfast in Bahrain (that means amazing Balaleet) there’s no better place to look than Saffron by Jena Bakery.
Saffron is located in the heart of Souq Al Qaysariya, a renovated area of Muharraq, it was launched in collaboration with the Bahrain Authority of Culture and Antiquities. It lies in a transformed, traditional Bahraini house. No better place for a traditional Bahraini experience.
Machboos is a must try
Machboos is the national dish of Bahrain, it bears resemblance to Indian Biryani and Saudi Kabsa. The three dishes vary in cooking methods and ingredients. But all three are basically spice-packed meat and Basmati rice dishes.
When in Manama, try out the Machboos, which is served in almost all local restaurants. It consists of rice mixed with either chicken or fish, and is usually brownish in color, depending on the spices used.
For an amazing traditional Machboos, you can either head to a nice Bahraini family and ask them to feed you. Or, you can go to Haji Gahwa! This nice cafe is as authentic as it gets!
But make sure to go during Machboos time, because in Haji Gahwa there is no menu, you get what they are serving depending on the time of the day, either breakfast, grills or delicious Machboos.
Do not forget the Shawarma
You cannot miss Bahrain’s own version of the infamous hamburger. “Shawarma” is a crowd favorite and highly appreciated culinary delight; it is made of beef or chicken strips mixed with vegetables and sauces and wrapped in pita bread.
There are a lot of Shawarma shops and stands in Manama, but if you want to try Shawrma for the first time the best place to go would be Osama bin Zaid Avenue, in Adliya, otherwise known as Shawarma Alley! yes people, Shawarma Alley! The whole avenue is dedicated to Shawarma stalls!
You can get your Shawarma fix all day long from 7am. There are a dozen or so shawarma stands there so we will not recommend a specific one, choose anyone and have fun.
Qoozi is a no-miss!
Another favorite local dish is the delicious Qoozi, which consists of grilled lamb stuffed with rice, boiled eggs, onions and spices. This is definitely a no-miss when visiting the city of Manama.
Qoozi is usually served in parties and family gatherings, where people serve the whole lamb on a massive tray of rice.
Nonetheless, you can still get a taste of Qoozi at some restaurants that serve traditional cuisine such as Karami restaurant.
After the delicious food, Gahwa is a must!
A popular drink in Bahrain is Gahwa, which is essentially spiced-up coffee that is usually served with dates.
You will find classic Bahraini Gahwa everywhere in Manama, one of the best things about the kingdom of Bahrain is that it caters to all caffeine lovers! You will never lack for tea or coffee there, the varieties are endless.
Most coffee shops in Bahrain serve traditional Gahwa, and most tea shops do as well. No gastronomic adventure in Manama is ever complete without a cup of Gahwa or Chai!
Dessert goes straight to the heart!
Dessert anyone? Ask your friendly waiter for the “Halwa Showaiter”, also known as the “Halwa Bahraini”. It is made of corn starch, saffron, various nuts and natural sweeteners (most likely honey). This will definitely be the perfect ending for your tasty meal!
A must try dessert there as well is the Rangeena, a crowd-pleaser made of dates and spices, with a sprinkle of nuts on the top.
You can try amazing Bahraini desserts at Roche, a small restaurant and patisserie with an extensive menu that offer both khaleeji and international delicacies.
If you don’t feel like going on this wild gastronomic adventure in Manama, fast food and specialty restaurants are scattered across the capital city. But then again, not until you eat like a Bahraini will you truly appreciate the beauty of this country. There’s truly much more than what meets the eye here.
Yallah nakol (Let’s eat)!