Yemen possibly has some of the best food in Arabia, and this is shown with the number of Yemeni restaurants that feature in other parts of the region, particularly in UAE and in Saudi Arabia. Yemeni cuisine is typically spicy and fragrant and is often served alongside huge pieces of cooked flat bread that are baked in tandoor ovens.
When eating at Yemeni restaurants you will often have small dipping sauces on the table. Some of these are very similar to Mexican style salsas made from garlic, tomatoes and chillies. The chillies can be very hot, so enjoy spending some time on the toilet the next day!
Here are some of the foods you should be looking out for:
- Saltah – considered the national dish of Yemen, it is a hearty stew made with or without meat and typically eaten for lunch. The stew includes a healthy amount of zhug, a Yemeni spice mix made from chillies, oil, garlic, cumin and coriander.
- Masoub – possibly one of the greatest but also heaviest deserts you can try. This is a mixture of banana, dates, nuts, milk, and bread pieces and is often garnished with honey and condensed milk. Very sweet and rich! Many Yemenis will eat this in the morning and the dish itself is usually shared.
- Madfoun – this is another typical Arabic style dish of meat that is cooked in the ground with coals for a long time and then served on rice. This dish is most commonly made from lamb and is served with breads and dips similar to spicy salsas.
- Madi – this is another staple across the Arabian peninsula and consists of roasted meat, usually chicken or lamb, served on rice that has been cooked in spices.
- Martabak – another dish you will find around the Middle East, though it’s said that Yemen has some of the best. Martabak is kind of like the Middle East’s answer to a crepe, often filled with cheese and vegetables. Martabak is very common as a street food.
- Aseeda – This is a small flour dumpling that is super squishy. It is often served with a broth made from meat and vegetables. Squishy dough is pulled apart and eaten with the broth.