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A moan about food in Qatar 23, March 2011

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Qatar.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Dearest reader, please excuse this dull rant but it’s been building for some time now.

One thing that I’ll say for Kuwait is that there was great – and really I mean great – food there. Qatar…not so much.

I live my life according to what’s next to munch. Food is important to me. My love for cooking it is only surpassed by my love of eating hence why Qatar is really rather a let-down.

To choose the core bone of contention for me, no where can I find, in this whole burgeoning city, Chinese/Thai/Korean frozen dumplings. This probably isn’t much of a burden to you, dear reader, given that the majority of you are not afflicted with a love of these things or with being stuck in Doha, but for me it’s really mish kways. Moreover, there doesn’t even seem to be any one dedicated Asian-esque supermarket thing at all. Only small sections in Carrefour and Mega Mart. Again, mish kways.

But, you’d think, at least I can get good Arabic/Lebanese food here? Well, yes and no: essentially, it’s mostly ‘alright’. Nothing remotely to compare to Mais Al Ghanim or Cafe Blanc in Kuwait or – frankly – Ranoush Juice/Maaroush in London. And what’s with the utter lack of small, cheap, dirty flafel/shwarma places in Doha? Why do these shaaby places seem to be all about ‘club sandwiches’? Why on earth would I want a crappy mighty-white sandwich with plastic cheese, fake ham stuff and semi-rancid mayonnaise when I should be munching on a shwarma or a greasy felaffel sandwich? I just don’t understand. Where’s Kuwait’s Abu Khodor when you need it?

Thai Smile and Thai Snack are the only silver linings in another wise drab and disappointing Qatari culinary ‘scene’ and even these places aren’t even close to being as nice as some Thai place in Kuwait whose name I’ve never known even though I went there on a weekly basis for two years.

Please…please…correct me if I’m wrong, dear reader.

Thus endeth the rant.







1. Dorotea - 23, March 2011

Cook and eat Italian, you will find a lot of products in Mega Mart, Family Food (airport) and Spinneys.

Good luck!

thegulfblog.com - 23, March 2011

Hmm…Italian dumplings…interesting.

2. zaydoun - 23, March 2011

Yeah they’re called ravioli đŸ˜‰

Yes Kuwait does indeed have lots of great food and amazing restaurants, it’s just sad we can’t order a nice bottle of wine to go with it!

3. RohanV - 23, March 2011

There’s some good greasy Malayali Indian food, (Al Banuche on Airport road is an example), and I’ve been told Turkey Central has the best shawarmas in the city, but being veggie I can’t attest to this. Also, caveat, this is coming from fellow kids like me who grew up with this food in this city, so I’m sure there’s nostalgic value to it too (Thalis at Maharaja, late-night tea at Taxi in Muntaza).

But yes we need a good Thai place in the city (there’s been some buzz about that place in Waqif.)

4. Fahad AlAssiry - 23, March 2011

If it’s generic Lebanese ‘Arabic’ food you’re looking for, you’re just not looking in the right places.

I know of a few small Asian supermarkets as well, but I’m not sure if they stock what you’re looking for.

The culinary ‘scene’ isn’t as good as I hope for it to be (although things are getting better day by day), but it isn’t as bad as you make it seem to be, in my humble (albeit slightly defensive) opinion.

I also have a feeling that most expatriates aren’t familiar with some of the local favorites, and confine themselves to a few familiar places and end up missing out on a lot of unique experiences.

P.S. I am quite sad that although falafel and shawarma are not indigenous foods they end up representing local tastes for lack of a more prominent local alternative. My hopes are for this to change, we have local delicacies but they aren’t as reachable at the moment.

thegulfblog.com - 23, March 2011

Amen to that…but surely that’s half the reason you’ve got such great food?!

thegulfblog.com - 23, March 2011

I did forget to mention Marmara Istanbul, which is jolly good…far better than Turkey Central imho.

thegulfblog.com - 23, March 2011

Thanks for the comment…don’t keep us on tenterhooks…where are the right places! And these fabled Asian supermarkets? Directions plus GPS coordinates and map with clear instructions would be great. That or come pick me up and take me to them. Whichever’s easiest!

5. Fahad AlAssiry - 23, March 2011

Directions coordinates map for each place? I think you aren’t giving me an easy choice here.
I’ll try to either write something up or arrange something, let’s keep in touch.

6. Kel - 24, March 2011

Okay, go down to the Jaidah flyover past the Ramada…turn right at the roundabout onto B-ring road and find a parking place near Aryas Indian restaurant. It’s all vegetarian, but it is top notch!!! Try the mini-tiffen.

Amen for Thai snack!!!

7. Dorotea - 24, March 2011

Fahad, you are right, I’m living here since 2 years but don’t know any typical qatari place yet. Therefore if you could kindly write down some addresses (I’ll find them – I’m a navigator) we will be happy to taste local delicacies.
Thank you in advance.

David, don’t forget Dean and Deluca. Lebanese Shawarma in Old Airport Road close to the pharmacy have delicious shawarmas.

thegulfblog.com - 24, March 2011

Good stuff! Cheers

8. EG - 28, March 2011

Doesn’t Lulu have a good Asian section – their range of Asian fruit and veggies always looks good? Family Food Centre airport branch ditto.
Try the Maharaja for good Indian, although sometimes a bit hit and miss. Downstairs is a nice Indian sweet shop selling barfi (fudge) etc!

9. Steph - 31, March 2011

David, David, David…
tut, tut, tut.
First of all, your grammar is SHOCKING. “Another wise”???
Kindly correct it to “An otherwise” immediately or face my english-teaching wrath.

Secondly, sorry to hear about the lack of good food there, but on the other hand, you’ve got to give it time. As many of these fine gentlemen have pointed out, you may just need to do a little digging. We didn’t find that fabulous thai place for MONTHS now did we? Also, remember ~~~~edited~~~~~[state secret]

Anyhoo, don’t be disheartened, you just need to keep looking and ask around lots…

(or you could put up with crappy food and drop £65 on a bottle of Wither Hills instead?).


10. Troy Wearer - 1, April 2011

Try “Petra” for falafels and such (near TV r/a), and that whole strip from TV r/a towards the traffic dept. for variety. Moon Palace good for asian & yes, Turkey Central & Thai Snack as well. Asian at Marriott good, but expensive. Enjoy!
We now live in Kuwait, so gladly accept inbound recommendations PLEASE!

thegulfblog.com - 1, April 2011


To repay the favor:

Mais Al Ghanim – on the corner opposite the Towers, near the British Embassy
Cafe Blanc – on the upper tier of Marina Mall’s food bit

‘Don’t know its name’ – Drive past the UK Embassy on your left, water to right. As the Embassy ‘finishes’ on your left there is a roundabout. Go left. Again the Embassy will be on your left. Take the first right. Roundabout. Straight ahead ish. Follow the road. You’ll see a school on your right. Look to your left at the bottom of an apartment complex for the restaurant. (My favorite restaurant anywhere!)

Shwarma/Felafel stuff:
Abou Khodor in Hawally opposite Bayan School, near Kuwait National English School.

Posh nosh:
The boat restaurant at the Radisson – expensive but a great experience (+ Jesus nails as souvenirs!)

11. spikenbutchsmom - 5, April 2011

Oddly enough, I’ve found some of the best shwarma at the Indian chicken places. Go figure.

As for real Qatari food, the best place to get it is from real Qataris. Make friends with the locals and get invited to dinner. đŸ™‚

12. Infinity - 21, April 2011

You’ve hit the ball out the park! Irnecdbile!

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