although i have spent most of my life in jeddah, i never thought of what the national dish could be or what jeddawi people eat in everyday life. perhaps i take everything for granted when it comes to food; if it's available, i just eat. if it's not, i just go to bed, easygoing!
surprisingly, there is no 'saudi' dish that is considered national or popular in jeddah or across the Hijaz region. lunch meal, which is the main meal, usually consists of international food, such as pasta and macroni, chinese food and soup, steak in an american style or egyptian molokhiyya, lebanese grills and salad, turkish pies, or greek mosaqa. there's even no saudi restaurant for eat-in apart from those 2 or 3 restaurants for tourists, i reckon!
i believe this goes back to the vital location of jeddah and the religious openness of hijaz to other cultures. for the last 70 years, pilgrims have been pouring in and out and settled in this area and have brought with them their customs of food, marriage and music too. there is no such a national dish really but the daily meals definitely cover the egyptian molokhiyya and lebanese taboula;^)
the most popular dish, which is also known as Habeen al-Sha'ab 'the sweetheart of the masses', is foul and tamees. This is a combination of two things. foul is smashed, boiled beans, usually comes with chopped tomato if preferred. tamees is a big flat bread with lots of tiny holes in it, and it comes with different flavours and stuffing sometimes as well. this dish is eaten by hand. you must take a piece of the tamees to sweep a bit of the foul with your hand, and have it as a small bite. FYI, this dish immigrated to jeddah and Hijaz with Afghani pilgrims and since then it has become Habeeb al-Sha'ab;^)
they often say, the table is empty if there's no foul served, especially in ramadan, which is absolutely true!
last time i ate foul when i was 2 years old and found out that i was allergic to fava beans, but i absolutely love tamees and eat it with almost everything, cheese, boiled potato, egg...etc. that's my Habeebi,lol
The G in Gannoj pronounced like the French (R)
Try simple vegetarian Saudi dish (Baba Gannoj)
Very popular dish in the Middle East and each part
of the Middle East have their own recipe.
Here is the Saudi way.
One big eggplant
One small spoon of lemon salt
2 fingers of garlic (cut it very small)
4 big spoons of yogurt
Small spoon of sesames
3 big spoons of Sesame heavy oil (Tahina),
look for it in Arabic markets
Small spoon of salt
Parsleys for decoration (cut it small)
1 fresh lemon
1) Barbeque the eggplant until you think it is cooked (I will lose most of the water and get smaller)
2) Then peal the black skin of the eggplant.
3) Try to cut it and mix it with the fork. You can use the mixture machine.
4) Add the lemon salt, the salt, yogurt, sesame oil, garlic, and the sesame above the smashed eggplant. Mix them with the fork very well.
5) Put it in a plate and add the Parsleys.
6) Pore the olive oil as much as you like and it is ready to be eaten.