Let your stomach guide on you on this trip across the GCC.
SoMu – Kuwait
Drive four hours to reach SoMu, a hidden jewel in the Gulf. Located south of the Mubarakya Souq in Kuwait (hence SoMu), it’s a collection of hip and trendy Kuwaiti-owned and -managed cafes that mimics the awesomeness (and name structure) of places like of New York’s and London’s SoHo districts.
Started a few years back by a group of Kuwaiti talents who decided to take creativity and heritage into their own hands, they reshaped the isolated and ruined southern section of the district into a hip travel destination.
Now SoMu is the place to visit in Kuwait for trendy culinary experiences, from specialty coffees to street foods. Visit Breo Bakery Café, a Tuscan-influenced cafe where the owner cooks food his way and treats you as a guest in his garden. Don’t even worry about what to eat; he makes the selection for you!
For an out of this world experience, try a gourmet hotdog or quinoa salad at the 7th Heaven, an artisan cafe that serves street food with a healthy twist. Make sure to leave space for their homemade sweets, otherwise you’ll get back home thinking you should’ve tried more.
Don’t forget to walk around the old Souq and buy some darabeel (Kuwaiti traditional sweet) for your friends. Visit the spice stands and hunt for original saffron to add to your kitchen repertoire.
Souq Waqif in Al Wakrah – Qatar
A recent landmark addition to the rapidly-developed Qatar scenery, this souq is an impressive 3-kilometer long traditional town market along the shores of old Al Wakrah.
It’s a true foodie heaven with unmatched variety. Whatever you crave is just a stroll away, from Brazilian steakhouses to themed seafood restaurants. Enjoy the taste of tradition at Al Baranda, where they serve traditional breakfast all day long surrounded by jaw-dropping decorations and classical themes. By the way, they’ve got green and pink milk and even arangoos (a 100-year-old traditional orange-flavored soft drink originally brought in from India).
Enjoy the rest of your afternoon perusing dozens of antique shops, or have a lengthy walk by the sea while breathing in the ocean breeze and enjoying the serene view of lapping waves and rocking boats.
Zaffran Dining Progressive Experience – Qatar
Be prepared to be amazed. It’s a gastronomy lab where they serve appetizers that simply explode in your mouth. They have the best Indian-infused food you will ever find. Enjoy their smoking drinks with different flavors that are served in smokey cups that need to be experienced to be believed. Finally, end your meal with out of this world frozen cookies, bringing the dragon inside you to life as you puff chilled smoke while eating these delicacies.
Dohat Arad Park – Bahrain
Sunrise or sunset strolls at this little lagoon with walking and cycling tracks right beside Movenpick Airport Hotel will leave a lasting relaxed effect you. But what will draw your gastronomic attention is the many food outlets in the area.
Enjoy a traditional seafood feast in the one and only Freej Bin Rashdan, where the Hammour Majboos (fish pilaf dish) is as fresh as can be, thanks to fresh hammour caught daily from the sea and mouthwatering spices purchased from the old Muharraq spice market just minutes away. It’s served with red Majboos rice that is rarely served in most restaurants.
There’s a decent selection of small fast food joints and cafes scattered around for more diverse family options.
Just around the southern border of the lagoon is Seef Mall Muharraq, perfect for an enjoyable and quiet shopping or movie-going experience. It’s also an opportunity to try one of the most talked-about food outlets in the area. Londoner started as a Badboy Doner joint with a strong London theme because the owner was from there and needed to satisfy his cravings and the local market need for such a joint. Now it’s home to some of the most innovative burgers in Bahrain, like the bacon burger Londoner style: a gourmet beef patty loaded inside with bacon flakes topped with grilled beef bacon strips and smothered with bacon sauce. I call it the bacon triple effect!