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Saudi Arabian cuisine encompasses the cuisines and foods of Saudi Arabia.
The Arabian people have consumed the same type of food for thousands of years. Some of the common food items in Saudi Arabian cuisine include wheat, rice, lamb, chicken, yogurt, potatoes and dates.
Additional foods and dishes include:
Traditional coffeehouses (Maqha) used to be ubiquitous, but are now being displaced by food-hall style cafes. According to the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission, "serving Gahwah (Coffee) in Saudi Arabia is a sign of hospitality and generosity". Traditionally, the coffee beans were roasted, cooled and ground in front of the guests using a mortar and pestle. The host would then add cardamom pods to the coffee beans during the grinding process. Once the coffee is brewed, it is poured for guests. Today, Gahwah is not prepared in front of the guests; instead it is elegantly served in a Dallah and poured into small cups called Finjan.
Sobia is a cold drink usually made in the Hijaz but now available all over Saudi Arabia especially during Ramadan. It's made from a light fermented mixture of Barley/Brown bread, Date palm sap, Herbs and Spices. It may be either white or colored depending on the flavor. It's also found to have health benefits.
Islamic dietary laws forbid the eating of pork and the drinking of alcoholic beverages. This law is enforced throughout Saudi Arabia. According to Islamic law, animals must be butchered in a halal way and blessed before they can be eaten. In 2008, Saudi Arabia was the world's fifth largest importer of both lamb and mutton.
According to the Saudi Arabian cultural mission, "guests are served hot coffee and dates as a symbol of generosity and hospitality. The same practice is carried out in the month of Ramadan. Muslims in Saudi Arabia break their fast with dates, water and Arabian coffee. The caffeine in the coffee and the protein and iron in dates nourishes the fasting person with a lot of energy. This helps them perform the Tarawih held in the evenings during Ramadan."