From street-stall shawarma to fine-dining fusion, Jeddah is home to a diverse bill of fare that’s becoming more cosmopolitan every year.
Ask a Jeddawi what the city’s definitive taste is and expect many different answers. Perhaps the pillowy spiced khubz bread of the Shukri bakery, open since 1928 in the Al Balad historical quarter. Or Red Sea hammour, cooked to order at the Saedi fish restaurant on the corniche. Others might point to the iconic Hijazi dish of saleeq chicken and milky rice, eaten in the evening breeze on the sea-facing terrace at Al Nakheel. Or even Al Baik fried chicken, which might look like a Saudi Arabian answer to KFC but is beloved by locals for its top-secret spice mix.
Jeddah has also always been a place open to outside influences. Look, for example, at Baco, which serves Asian bao buns and Mexican tacos; at bold Lebanese restaurants like Byblos or Mataam Al Sharq; or at the lavender lattes and avocado and parmesan toast at Black Cardamom, the city’s coolest brunch spot. In Jeddah, the ideas are as fresh as the fish that glistens on the counters of the Central Fish Market.