A Newcomers Guide To Jeddah's Food

Moving to a new country is an adventure. The people, the scenery, the shopping, the language, the customs – it can seem overwhelming at times, but eventually you settle down and realize that the most important thing on your mind is…food! Either you’re enjoying all the new tastes or you’re desperately missing the familiar flavors of home, food can be the make or break element in your future happiness.

DJ wants to help you settle in with the following food pointers. Forget about your iqama issues, your housing search, and your job transition while you savor the flavors of the Middle East.  Jeddah is a gourmand’s delight if you know where to go.

Middle Eastern Cuisine


Since you are living in the Middle East, don’t hesitate to sample the delicious local cuisine. From classic Lebanese to simple Yemeni to authentic Saudi dishes – the variety of restaurants in Jeddah will have you eating out at a different spot for at least a year. The ubiquitous shawarma accompanied by a freshly squeezed fruit juice is the most popular snack for many residents, but don’t overlook the utterly mouth-watering ‘fatayer’ or local version of pizza. Nothing beats freshly baked dough encasing melting cheese – delicious!

International Cuisine


No matter what country you call home, sometimes there’s nothing better than a juicy steak or a slice of greasy pizza to satisfy your hunger. Vegetarians searching for the ultimate salad won’t be disappointed with the variety of colorful, adventurous dishes on offer either. All these choices and more are easily found in the leading malls in Jeddah, as well as the numerous eating establishments in Rawdah, Tahlia St, and Andalus St. From high-end hotel restaurants to the numerous international fast-food chains – Jeddahwis enjoy an enormous selection of different cuisines.



The sinfully sweet dessert category deserves a mention of its own. From Le Notre’s upscale French pastries to Saadeddin’s crisp baklawa to Kunafa House’s unbeatable cheesecake kunafa and the delightfully creamy Jubneyah from Goodies – it’s easy to forget your diet vows when faced with amazing desserts all over town. Of course the wide availability of exotic fresh fruits is enough to satisfy your sweet cravings too.  Pakistani mangos, Thai rambutans, American strawberries, and Jordanian figs/apricots – it’s all here for the picking. The health conscious can also indulge in an astonishing variety of nuts and dried fruits – Al Rifai is a one-stop shop for excellent nut mixes (plus their nougat is to die-for!)

Food Faux-Pas

  • Most coffee shops use long life milk- if that is an issue for you, be sure to ask them to show you the milk box as they usually can’t tell the difference.
  • When Ordering juice, be sure to be clear about “1 cup” v.s. “1 Gallon”. They’ll usually ask, but pay attention incase they don’t.
  • No one orders baklawa by the piece…so be brave & go for a ½kg selection.
  • The main grocery stores will shell your shrimp while you shop – hurray!
  • Loose fruits/vegetables must be weighed & priced BEFORE you get to the check-out. 
  • Saudis like to eat a late dinner, usually  AFTER 9pm, so you’ll be alone in a restaurant if you show up at 6pm for a dinner party.

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