Culinary Diversity: Asian Food


Take a bite out of Saudi’s diverse dining scene!

As the Kingdom opens up to the world, let’s not forget that the world has already been part of the region’s culture for decades! We round up all the cuisines that have been part of Saudi and treasured by the locals.

Asia Restaurant

Say “sawadee” to Jeddah’s favorite restaurant serving authentic Thai food. Asia Restaurant’s dining area may be starting to show its age, but the restaurant is very popular. One of the crowd favorites in the city, it serves Thai classics like Tom Yum soup,  Kangkong stir-fry, beef with basil, and for the brave, spicy fried chicken with red curry. The dishes are bursting with authentic Thai flavors, and prices are fair with great service, despite the hassle of waiting in line for a table.

Location: Sari St., Jeddah
Mob: +966-539067677

Phuket Restaurant

A pioneer of Thai cuisine in Sharqiya, Phuket Restaurant, staunchly traditional, serves an impressive range of Thai salads, soups, curries, and stir-fries. Staples including Pad Thai are a terrific value, and come in three different serving sizes. Try the Pohtak and seafood soup, both very popular here.

Location: King Faisal St., Al Shamalia, Khobar
Mob: +966-13-8323073

Villa Restaurant

Going strong for many years, this veteran hole-in-the-wall is often packed, and as good as it ever was – beyond its slightly worn-out interior. With their authentic Thai, Chinese, and Filipino dishes, the kitchen at Villa knocks out mouthwatering, classic Thai curries, flavorful Larbs, authentic Pad Thai and stir-fries – all easy on the wallet and great for sharing. The Tom Yum soup is popular here, but give your tastebuds a kick and try the spicy Poh Tak soup that has a mix of shrimp, squid, cuttlefish, and crab.

Location: Al Uroubah St., Riyadh
Tel: +966-11-4822749


Culinary Diversity: African Food


Take a bite out of Saudi’s diverse dining scene!

As the Kingdom opens up to the world, let’s not forget that the world has already been part of the region’s culture for decades! We round up all the cuisines that have been part of Saudi and treasured by the locals.

Family Restaurant

The Family restaurant sits tucked away on AlSafa street, serving classic Ethiopian and North African dishes. While all the menu items are a true pleasure, their standout dish is the Lahm Nashif — fried meat strips and spices served on Injera, a giant flatbread which diners tear into and scoop up mouthfuls of stews and curries with their hands.

The restaurant is cozy with extremely affordable prices, but ironically, the Family Restaurant contradicts its name by not having an actual Family Section. So takeaway is the only option to enjoy a meal with your family.

Location: Al Safa, Jeddah
Mob: +966-551898717


Named after the famous and oldest city in Sudan, Dongola gives the homesick Sudanese in Sharqiya a taste of home. A local hub for anyone unacquainted with the joys of Sudanese cuisine, this restaurant offers platefuls of stews and tasty Tibs along with a couple
of Arab-infused dishes. The food is subtly flavored and tasty, but don’t come here expecting fancy decor: the dining room has a busy boofiya vibe with no seating for families.

Location: Al Qazaz, Dammam
Mob: +966-551898717

Musa Restaurant

Located in Sharafiyah District of Riyadh, Musa Restaurant bashes out hearty Sudanese food in a friendly, no-frills, boofiya setting. Usually packed to the rafters with the local African community, everything here is simple: take a seat and savor the traditional Injera or rice, which will then be served up with regular regional fare of Tibs (sauteed meats) and Wats (peppery stew). This modest Sudanese spot attracts people from across Riyadh with its brilliant food at super-low prices.

Location: Al Jawharah Bint Ibn Muammar, Ash Sharafiyah, Riyadh
Mob: +966-544181077


Bridging The Outside Art World


Van Cleef & Arpels Maison celebrated the art of High Jewelry at the 7th edition of the most anticipated art exhibition in the Kingdom, 21,39 Jeddah Arts.

Organized by the Saudi Art Council, the event commenced from 29 January in Jeddah this year’s event under the theme of “I Love You, Urgently” focused on the environmental concerns and places the youth at the core of this exhibition.

This edition focused on the Van Cleef & Arpels Middle East Emergent Designer Prize, the yearly award which aims to nurture local design talent. A concept of ‘Past, Present & Future’, which celebrated Julia Ibbini, the winner of 2019, a Cyclical theme, whose impressive ‘Symbio Vessels’ winning sculptural vessels were displayed at Jeddah Arts 21,39. It is during this period that

Check out our interview with Julia Ibbini to know more about her and the production of her design piece.

In addition, the 21,39 Jeddah Arts event also hosted the extraordinary display of work by Arthur Hoffner, a French designer and winner of the People’s Choice Award at the 2017 Noailles Design Parade.

Arthur artistically created an installation suffused with balance and suspended motion, echoing the Perlée collection from the Maison. The French designer collaborated with the Maison to produce a series of vases combining gilded brass spheres, aluminum tubes and blocks of marble put together in a precarious composition that appears to defy the laws of gravity.

Click on the link to read more about Arthur Hoffner here.


Speed and Agility

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The King Abdulaziz Falconry Festival.

The second edition of the King Abdulaziz Falconry Festival (KAFF), an international festival organized by the Saudi Falcons Club (SFC) was held in December in Malham, north of Riyadh. The largest of its kind in the world, the competition has set a Guinness World Record during its first edition last January with the participation of elite falconers and 1,723 falcons.

This year, the 16-day festival witnessed the enthusiastic participation of several falcon owners from around the Kingdom and the GCC countries, notably female Saudi falconer Adhari Al Khaldi, who broke gender barriers as the first Saudi woman to take part in the competition.

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Displaying the innate skills of the trained magnificent raptors, the festival highlighted the speed and grace of the falcons, with more than SR 21 million in cash prizes for the competition winners allocated by the SFC. The spectators watched in awe as each falcon accelerated faster than a Formula One race car and followed a diving flight path to a set target.

The falcon competition was divided into two categories — owners and professionals, with 12 rounds from each category and a prize money of SAR14.6 million for the winners. Seven participants from each round qualified for the tournament, while the top ten winners of each round were honored daily.

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A total of SR 1.2 million was granted to the winners of the competition for young falcons, while SR 1.8 million was granted to the winners of the competition for fully grown birds.

The event also included a Falcon Beauty Pageant in which local and international falconers showed off the species’ finest attributes.

The King Abdulaziz Falconry Festival aims to preserve the traditional sport that is one of the most important features of the cultural identity and legacy of the Kingdom and the Arabian Gulf region.

Instagram: saudifalconclub


New Activentures in KSA

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On a hunt for new iconic entertainment zones to do around the Kingdom? Have a gander at our recommendations.

1. The Hot Air Balloon Journey

Once again, the Winter at Tantora Festival in Al Ula will give you the chance to experience a wide range of diverse cultural events and activities including the hot air balloon ride throughout the Al Ula Season till March 7, 2020.

Float high above ancient rock formations in a bonkers-exciting heavenly tour soaring above the breathtaking heritage that dots the landscape below.There’s more good news – Sahab Federation, the Saudi Hot Air Ballooning Federation, has recently announced a one-of-a-kind opportunity to develop ballooning opportunities all around Saudi.

Winter at Tantora Festival
Instagram: experiencealula

Sahab Federation
Instagram: sahabfederation

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2. The Art District of Diriyah

The Diriyah district is an area which has witnessed a significant overhaul in recent years and has become a cultural transformer, bringing a modern creative concept influenced by the traditional local architectural style.

Located in the Bujairi neighborhood, the art museum will be a precinct to promote the best contemporary pieces, in addition to being an incubator for the emerging talent. Currently, the museum project is being implemented and will be open to the public this year.

Location: Al Bujairi district, Ad-Diriyah
Instagram: dgda_sa

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3. Open-air skating Rink

The ice skating rink came as part of the incredible Winter Wonderland that’s one of Riyadh Season’s iconic zones. The event boasts the biggest outdoor rink in the Middle East surrounded by several other activities. Whether you pirouette like a pro or just wobble around with the help of skate aids, this rink is for everyone.

The ice skating rink costs SR 60 per person and will be there until a limited time so better get your skates on!

Location: King Fahd Rd., Winter Wonderland, Riyadh

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4. Zero Latency – VR playground arcade (Riyadh)

Book your virtual journey and explore the unimaginable world of the eye-popping possibilities of virtual reality entertainment together with your squad.

Zero Latency is a gamers’ haven offering VR experiences for up to 8 players. This arcade has a great selection of games ranging from ‘Engineerium” where you investigate a secret military space station and fight killer robots and rogue drones, to ‘Zombie Survival’, which drops you into a zombie apocalypse.

Tickets cost SR 150 for an hour-long experience, including a briefing.

Location: Salma Center, Imam Abdullah Ibn Saud Ibn Abdulaziz Rd., Ash Shuhada, Riyadh
Instagram: zerolatencyme


Abstract Structural Modifications, Complexity, & Detail by Julia Ibbini


Pushing the boundaries of possibilities in terms of medium and choosing to experiment in paper with its beautiful, tactile, delicate qualities.

In November 2019, Jordanian-British designer Julia Ibbini won the Award, winning a trip to L’ECOLE Van Cleef & Arpels, a school dedicated to sharing the culture and crafts knowledge behind the world of jewelry. In addition, AED 30,000 was awarded to her to cover the entire cost of materials and production of her design piece.

We met her at the opening of the [21,39] Jeddah Arts event under the Saudi Art Council and had a chat with her to know more about her intricate work and experience

Tell us about your experience Middle East Emergent Designer 2019 Prize

For the sixth edition, Van Cleef & Arpels and Tashkeel invited designers to submit a project that celebrates the theme ‘Cyclical’ and explores ideas in sculptural works. Most of my work being two- dimensional, I had never done any sculptural or three-dimensional work and this was a good opportunity for me to have a go.

I had no idea that I would be shortlisted let alone winning the prize. I was totally blown away – not only by winning but also from the tremendous support I received from both Van Cleef & Arpels and Tashkeel.


img_20191028_184825Can you tell us a little about the design process of the Symbio Vessels? 

It’s essentially developed using algorithms and computational geometry. It’s the idea of a single element that you can see rotating around each vessel that’s calculated to rotate around the radial arc. 

Each layer of the vessel is laser cut individually using a customized laser machine, and then each piece is layered entirely by hand using glue and pins. 

They are organic hand-drawn elements, arranged in a rigidly structured pattern around a form developed using algorithmic calculations, yet built by hand, and produce a whole that is highly complex, detailed, precise – but organic and imperfect at the same time.


What inspired you to come up with the design?

It’s part of an ongoing collaboration with a French computer scientist called Stephane Noyer a few years ago and so I bring the design and the eccentric to it and the complex algorithm design side of it is his doing. Together we traversed analog and digital to create works with highly detailed machined precision, but which remain distinctly human in origin.


What were your most difficult challenges during the whole process of the design?

The biggest challenge was building these objects by hand and redoing the mistakes. Yet it is the flaws that come with the human hand that produce the beautiful end result.


From your experience what advice would you like to give to the emerging designers who want to participate in the next competition?

Push the boundaries of what you feel you are capable of, enjoy the process and find ways to get involved – especially with Tashkeel as they are a tremendous community.


Instagram: Van Cleef & Arpels| Tashkeel | Julia Ibbini




Contemporary Islamic design.

A trendy contemporary Islamic design house, Duraibah features unique lifestyle products that express its customers’ unique Muslim identity.

Duraibah got its name from one of the old doors of the Holy Mosque of Makkah that led to an ancient souq in Makkah.dsc_7240-edit-copy

Today, as a contemporary Islamic design house that is born out of Makkah, Duraibah opens the door for lifestyle products that enrich the bond between Muslims and the Islamic culture.

It prides itself on stocking beautiful items including copies of the Quran with covers, prayer mats, colorful subhas (prayer beads), home decor and several accessories designed by creative contemporary Muslim designers. Recently, the store launched a new collection of elegant subhas that are made with a harmonious mix of semi-precious beads, using black onyx with red, yellow and blue agate.dsc_9166-edit-copy

Duraibah has three branches in Makkah and its online store offers shipping across the Middle East and other countries like the US and Japan.

Location: Jabal Omar Mall and Abraj Al Bait Mall
Instagram: duraibah


Self-Made Saudis


Stories of Saudis with humble beginnings.

Here are Saudi’s top legendary self-made billionaires and business leaders who successfully established their own enterprise through extraordinary grit and perseverance.saleh-abdullah-kamel_2-copy

Saleh Abdullah Kamel, Dallah AlBarakah

Saleh Abdullah Kamel, born in Taif, had started building on his business idea fresh from college – he borrowed money to buy a photocopier to offer photocopying services to his classmates. At a time when photocopying services were expensive, Saleh’s reasonable offerings made it a successful service. He then started other profitable ventures and today, he is the founder and chairman of the most powerful conglomerate in the country, Dallah Albaraka.

Along with being the most famous businessman in the Kingdom, Saleh is also the president of the Saudi Chamber of Commerce and Industry as well as a member of several bodies and commissions.336386-2-copy

Al Rajhi Brothers, Al Rajhi Bank and SAAR Foundation

Born in AlBukairiyah, a city in the Qassim region, Saleh Abdul Aziz Al Rajhi and Sulaiman Bin Abdul Aziz Al Rajhi grew up in poverty and difficult living conditions.

Always passionate about work, their determination in earning a living was strong. The Al Rajhi brothers started out young by working as porters for caravans traveling to Makkah and Madinah and exchanging coins for their service. They then worked in several professions before they founded Al Rajhi Bank, the largest Islamic banking institution.sulaiman-abdul-aziz-al-rajhi-copy

Mohammad Ali Al Abdullatif, Al Ghazali Trading Company

Nicknamed Ghazali by his mother, Mohammad Ali Al Abdullatif was a diligent boy who lost his father at a very young age. As the story goes, he used to buy watches from the local market in Batha in Riyadh and used to travel to sell it to the pilgrims. Being the only child to his parents, Mohammad had no support from his relatives and was in fact criticized for his menial venture. With support of his mother, he grew up to be a real pioneer in the watch business in Saudi Arabia.mohammad-ali-al-abdullatif-copy

Abdulrahman Nasser Al Agil, Jarir Bookstore

Jarir Bookstore, a go-to haven for books and all things stationery and gadgets, was founded by the late Abdulrahman Nasser Al Agil, who set about by opening a small shop selling used books and artworks in Riyadh. Now listed as the 7th most valuable retail brand in Saudi, it’s developed to be the market leader in the Middle East for books, stationery supplies, and consumer electronics.abdulaziz-al-mousa1-copy

Abdulaziz Al Mousa, Al Mousa Company

Born and brought up in the village of Al-Mehmal area called Al Bir, things weren’t always easy for Abdulaziz Al Mousa. As a young boy who was trying to make ends meet, Al Mousa worked in farming and plowing, and at 13, he moved to Riyadh with his brother working in masonry, building mud houses and earning only half a riyal per day. Al Mousa’s honesty, commitment, and hard work won over the trust of many investors who wanted to partner up; bringing him a huge capital. After Al Mousa set off to invest in a number of real estate projects that brought him success, he opened his own real estate company — little knowing he would later be a titan in the country’s real estate scene. His work and honesty have been praised by King Salman and the former kings as well.


One Flip at A Time the Rise of Saudi Parkour


Parkour is an urban, acrobatic sport that involves running, leaping, vaulting, jumping and climbing. It’s not just a visually stunning activity, it is also a natural, training discipline using movement that is applied to every aspect of your movement through life.

As this sport is becoming increasingly popular, more facilities are popping up around the Kingdom. We take you a little bit (or jump!) closer to the current parkour scene in Saudi and speak to Jon Dean, a parkour and free-running guru who studied physical education gymnastics. Inspired by online parkour videos, Jon would stay back in the gym after school and practice maneuvers and tricks.

Committed to bringing parkour to Saudi, he formed what is being deemed Saudi’s first and largest youth parkour academy, called Flite Freerun. Located in Rawdah district in Jeddah, the academy features an indoor parkour-specific training zone with a combination of rooms designed to mimic an outdoor urban atmosphere along with a soft indoor environment. The gym is open to children from four years old and adults. img_8673-copy

The gym also offers one-on-one coaching sessions for Autistic children and soon, a segment for the elderly to help them develop better strength and balance. Parkour can improve mental strength as you apply more skills by running, jumping, rolling, and much more. Parkour is a safe sport mainly when coached in a safe environment and so Jon recommends people to first train with professional coaches before practicing the sport outside on the streets.

Jon has approached the Ministry of Education to adopt parkour as part of the curriculum. So far, Flite Freerun is running training programs in Jeddah at Bounce, Koora Arena, Nun Academy, and American International School. “We are ready to expand to Riyadh and help the capital city teach quality parkour,” says Jon.

This year, Jon created a new brand specifically for the parkour academy that will help put Saudi Parkour on the world map. To join them in this venture, Ed Scott, one of the world’s best parkour athletes, will work closely with the coaches to raise the standards and fine-tune the curriculum. Jon’s goal this year is to up their game and launch more competitions and take the team abroad to compete, with the corporation and help of the General Sports Authority and Ministry of Education.


Safety is huge! So before you start rollin’, here are the other places you can practice parkour in:

Parkour KSA (Jeddah)
Instagram:  parkour_ksa

Bounce KSA (Jeddah, Riyadh)
Instagram:  bouncemideast


Keep Warm & Toasty With These Comfort Foods


When the days get colder, all we want to do is wrap up warm and tuck into all that comfort food. We bring you the seasonal favorites in the Kingdom, from local home-cooked goodness to restaurant must-trys.


This traditional Middle Eastern dish, also a street-food favorite, is a thick porridge made with wheat, rice, and your choice of meat, and topped with kishna (caramelized onions). If you’re in need of a hearty bowl to warm your soul, this one will serve you well.

Available at:
Najd Village (Riyadh) and Jareesh Cuisine (Jeddah).
Instagram: jareeshcuisine



Saleeg (Jeddah)

A Hejazi favorite during winters, this is a creamy rice dish cooked with broth and served with meat and duggus, a spicy, tomato salsa.

Available at:
Bait Al Saleeg
Instagram: Bait_alsaleeg

des-food1337-copyHinaini (Riyadh)

A classic dessert favored by Najdis, Hinaini is doughy goodness traditionally made from mixing wheat bread with dates and butter. This winter delicacy was originally made on the open fire out in the desert.

Available at:
1. food-truck Hinaini
Instagram: hanini95

2. Najd Village
Location: Takhassusi Street, Al Olaya Dist.
Instagram: najdvillagesa


Faqa is a desert truffle, sold by local vendors on roadsides during winters. Usually black in color and roughly round in shape. It’s a well-known delicacy throughout the Kingdom during the cold weather, typically boiled or sauteed and used as a meat substitute in dishes.

Harees (Sharqiyah)

Harees is also a thick porridge originally made with boiled, cracked, or coarsely-grounded wheat along with meat and spices.Hearty and full of flavor, Harees makes a great meal, especially on a cold, winter’s day.

Available at:
Eydaam Restaurant
Location: Takhassusi Street, Al Olaya Dist.
Instagram: eydaamksa

Sizzling Date Pudding

At this time of the year, there’s nothing more decadent and indulgent than a steaming hot, sticky pudding. We are particularly in love with the date sizzling dessert – warm cake, hugged by vanilla ice cream and doused with ooey-gooey luscious sauce.

Available at:
1. Over Jar
Location: Riyadh Park, Gate 2, 1st floor.
Instagram: overjarksa

2. Café Bateel
Jeddah: Le Prestige Mall, Assila Tower, and Red Sea Mall
Sharqiya: AlShaikh Avenue, King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Street
Instagram: bateelgourmet