Jeddah is a melting pot of cultures and traditions, all of which have significantly influenced the city’s culinary scene resulting in the rich, diverse, and savory palette of Hejaz. However, many may not know that despite its unique cosmopolitan affluence, the aptly named Bride of The Sea exemplifies the pride of a historic port city, with a treasure trove of freshly caught seafood, such as Najil, Hamoor, Hareed and Sijan, alongside a vast selection of crustaceans, shrimp and shellfish. All of which are a must-try on your next Hejazi culinary adventure.
Elegant in its simplicity, this scrumptiously decadent dish is considered seafood royalty. It is well known for its soft and succulent white meat. Cleaned, and prepped with minimal, but essential, local spices before being fried to perfection, the Najil (grouper) is an absolute local favourite, and a dish that ensures you have the best, unparalleled, and most authentic, Jeddawi experience.
Despite its small size, Sijan is packed with flavor, especially when it’s fried to a crisp. Even though it is found along both the West and East coasts of Saudi Arabia, this delicate dish is an acquired taste, but one that definitely needs to be sampled, even if only to immerse yourself into local foodie debates.
Two different flavored fish, a wide selection of flavor profiles, and endless preparations; small or jumbo-sized, fried or boiled, steamed or sauteed, char-grilled or barbecued… The choice is yours. There’s no wrong way to cook crustaceans in Jeddah, however, for those who fear a fishy flavor, we recommend going for the frequently fried, or sauced and spiced, for a juicier taste.
The fish cake; an uncommon take on a fish dish, but widely accepted in Jeddah as it resembles the taste of crab cakes, with a more fisher-flavor. Koftas are often prepared using fresh fish filets along with onions, cilantro, mashed potato, and local spices, mixed together, formed into round shapes, before being dipped in the usual egg, flour, and bread crumb trifecta, and then fried till golden.
This unique fish dish is a treasured local secret, prepared with a mixture of tahini, lemon juice, and garlic, before heading to the oven to be baked to perfection, and then served with a sprinkle of pine nuts and parsley leaves. The homey feel of this heartwarming dish will certainly have you coming back for more.
This sour take on samak (fish) is one of the most traditional meals in the region. Served as a side dish on special occasions, Matfi Samak is cooked with tamarind sauce and a special blend of regional spices that are perfectly complemented with Sayyadiah rice for a pleasantly hearty meal.
A dish with flavors that are as commanding as its presence in the most esteemed of Jeddawi occasions, traditional Kozi is made of Hamour fish that is cooked with tomato, yoghurt, garlic, onion and saffron, over a Tawa pan, for a most distinct flavor. The fish is then placed on a bed of rice and pasta, and garnished with nuts, raisins, and boiled eggs. Give Kozi a try for an unforgettable trip to the most historically traditional of Jeddah’s recognizable cuisine.