Thabiha, Stripped.

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By Duha AlHosainy

Eid Aladhha is around the corner, and we’re all excited for the feast to come!

From the cattle’s best sections to the Saudi etiquette, we’re covering what you need to know. First things first, FOOD. The thabiha (traditional roast cattle, usually sheep, with Middle Eastern spices served over rice *choir*) is cut into half and then halved again, the cut is referred to as Mufattah (Mfa6a7), and it goes like this…

First halves
Thabiha 1Shank: known for the high level of fat AND meat, with an impossible buttery texture.
Neck: similar to the shank, with less meat.
Shoulder: this was The Prophet’s (pbuh) favorite piece, it’s mostly fat, connective tissue, and bones.
Ribs: fattiest part of the cattle, with even more connective tissue and bone/meat ratio than the shoulder.
Upper Shoulder: the ultimate piece, it’s the perfect balance of fat and meat. This piece is so good, it’s served to the guest of honor
Second halves

Loin: not much to it, very minimum in quantity.

Flank: very light.
Round: made up of fat, it replaces the gee and sometimes used to treat joint problems.
Shank: a bigger version of the front shank.


  • Liver: usually eaten for breakfast, especially on Eid Al Adha
  • Brain: this will surprise you, but it actually DOES taste good!
  • Eyes: it doesn’t pop, so don’t be afraid to try it!
  • Tongue: exceptionally delectable and tender.
  • Belly: definitely an acquired taste, it’s not usually served nowadays.
  • Bone Marrow: the nectar of the thabiha.


  • Guest of honor sits in front of the head.
  • Guest of honor is served the best part of the Thabiha (Upper back).
  • Host serves the guests near him.
  • Guests should have the first bite.
  • Older people have the priority to sit at the head of the table.
  • Eat from the side closest to you, and don’t take anything from the opposite side.
  • Eat with your right hand.
  • Eating parts of the head is considered offending in some tribes.
  • The younger the cattle, the better.

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