The Middle East lies between the continents of Europe, Asia, and Africa and thus, is greatly influenced by the diversity, yet it is fairly homogenous. The food of the Middle Eastern countries is not just unique; it is also one of the best tastings in the world. But the food habits across these countries vary greatly. So, you’ve got to know them beforehand. Lucky for you, we’ve got some quick food tips for you to remember when traveling to the Middle East. You can thank us later!
No pork: Well, the Middle Eastern countries are predominantly Muslim and as per the Islamic culture, preparation and eating of pork are forbidden. So, don’t go around asking for a pork dish or be surprised to not find a single one on the menu. Even for international food chains in these countries, pork is not listed on the menu, nor served.
Know the drinking laws: Some of the Middle Eastern countries such as Saudi Arabia have very strict laws in concern to alcohol. Since alcohol consumption is restricted in Islam – a lot of the Middle Eastern countries will not be serving it. But a few others are open to its consumption; however, drinking in public places and on the street is punishable. So, know the laws before you make a mistake!
Know the dining etiquettes: In the Middle East, the dining etiquettes are very different from those of the west. Some activities such as blowing your nose, stretching your hand to another side of the table for food, leaving the table before coffee/tea, handling the food with the left hand, etc. – are considered rude. Though, picking your teeth after a meal is acceptable!
Relish the hookah: Even though alcohol is fairly less common, hookah, on the other hand, is very widely consumed in the Middle Eastern world. It is referred to as Shishah and it is one of the best in the world.
Don’t refuse coffee: When you are shopping at a store and someone in offers you coffee, be respectful and accept it. Refusing it is considered rude, especially if you are in a mood to make a buy. The concept is simple hospitality throughout the Middle East.
Remember Baksheesh: In the Middle East, Baksheesh is another word for a tip. And the culture of these countries encourages tipping. Thus, when visiting the Middle East, remember to tip the hotel maids, servers, bellhops, waiters, etc. Not leaving a tip implies that you did not like the service.
Know the local food language: We do understand learning a new language can be quite daunting, but in the Middle East it could help you blend in. So, when you book your tickets, brush up some common food words of the destination country. This will help the servers get friendlier with you and we believe you’d be served well.
Other useful food tips: Well, if you’ve been invited to someone’s house for food, a few things will come handy.
- Bring a small gift – flowers, chocolates, etc.
- Take off your shoes when sitting on a rug to eat
- Wash your hands before a meal
- Accept the food that is offered
- Sit next to a person of the same sex
- Leave a little food when finished
Tempted already? Book the cheapest flight tickets on CheapFareGuru now because Middle Eastern food will blow up your mind and you’ll learn a little bit more about the culture at the same time. Remember to insure your trip through CheapFareGuru’s trip protection program that covers trip cancellation, trip delay, emergency medical expenses, baggage delay, and a host of other benefits. You should make use of CheapFareGuru’s travel assistance services that provide multiple post-ticketing benefits.