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Kuwait - Local gastronomy

Kuwait’s native cooking is a blend of Bedouin, Persian, Indian and Eastern Mediterranean influences. Although spices used in the preparation of food are not indigenous to Kuwait the blends are unique. Blends called ‘Kuwaiti Spice’ are found in supermarkets and generally comprise all or a number of ingredients including cardamom, coriander, pepper and turmeric. As Kuwait is located on the shores of the Arabian Gulf seafood plays an important role in the local diet. The local fish, hammour and zubaidi, are often served with a finely chopped mix of parsley, onions and, on occasion, dill. For special occasions almonds, cashews and pine nuts are added. Hammour and zubaidi are available throughout the year and giant Gulf prawns are available during the open season. Mutton (kharoof), dates (tamar) and yoghurt (laban) are also significant ingredients in local cuisine.

Desert truffles are found underground in the desert between the months of November – January. They are a pale sandy brown colour, usually have irregular lobes and bumps and are between 1cm – 7cm. The texture is light, not unlike a spongy button mushroom and they have little to no smell. The amount of sand that is trapped in pockets within the truffles makes for very hard cleaning and usually results in a couple of sandy mouthfuls!

Kuwait is well-known for its honey production from the 800+ apiaries located throughout the country. Honey sells for approximately KD15 – 25 per kilo depending on the type and season and is available at supermarkets and corner shops (‘bakala’s’).

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