Abha, Traditional food, Southern Saudi dishes

The Traditional Flavors of Abha

Traditional Aseeri dishes

Cuisines passed down through generations


The king of the Abha table, Hanith has become popular all over the kingdom, for its delicious taste and distinct preparation method. Mutton is placed in a pit built specifically for this dish, called munanath. The bottom of the pit is filled with charcoal then layered over with a special type of tree leaves called Marakh. This is then topped with the meat and covered with fabric, the hole covered tightly, and the dish is left to simmer for two to three hours. It is eaten with rice and garnished with nuts as desired.

Arika and Asedah

Among the main traditional winter dishes of Aseer are the Arika and Asedah. Arika is a light and simple dish that can be eaten at any time, but it is preferred during breakfast. It’s made from a soft batter of flour and water cooked on a pan. Thereafter, the disks are stirred and rubbed in a bowl with a large spoon. The dish is served on a plate, with a hole carved in the middle for some ghee and honey, and decorated with some dates. As for the Asedah, the flour is cooked with water in a pot with constant stirring until it becomes a soft dough consistency, eaten with either ghee, honey, or broth and meat.


Altsabee is a dish served on special occasions and weddings. It consists of milk or yogurt and flour cooked over the fire, and a small ball of dough is added in. Butter is placed in the middle of it when served. 

Shadkh and Rijla 

There is a dish that is often left unmentioned but its presence on the Aseeri table is important because of its nutritional value and delicious taste. Made from AlShadkh and Rijla (Amaranth and Purslane), vegetables that are grown locally and are cooked together, this stew-like dish is eaten with bread-- and resembles the more known Molokhia.

Mefa Bread

The Mefa is an indispensable staple beside any Aseeri dish. The bread is fermented for a long period of time, before being shaped into rectangular pieces and baked inside a special oven.