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Updated by Maggie Tulliver (Umanga Kahandawaarachchi) on Nov 25, 2015
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Dining Etiquette in Saudi Arabia – Land of Exotic Flavours

Traditional laws and proper dining etiquette are quite useful tools to equip oneself with when touring Saudi Arabia. The below list will prove to be quite helpful.

1

Religious Laws When Dining in Saudi Arabia

Religious Laws When Dining in Saudi Arabia

The use of pork or any pork based products is strictly prohibited as is the use of alcohol. Do not include alcohol when cooking meals or at the dining table.

2

Toasting Etiquette

Toasting Etiquette

The most appropriate toast would be one to the good health of your host and other members present at the meal. You can also offer up a toast to the prosperous beginnings of any business venture you may be meeting up for.

3

What to Say Before and After Meals

What to Say Before and After Meals

Most guests will say the word 'Sahtain' before a meal; meaning bon appetite. Others may say 'Bismillah' which translates to in the name of God. When the meal is done, thanks is offered with the saying 'Daimah' which means - 'may there be plenty at your table'.

If all these grand gestures overwhelm you enjoy a full dose of it at one of Jeddah's finest resorts. These luxurious Saudi Arabian hotels offer elegant settings and the finest dining experiences. For a different kind of experience consider staying at a Jeddah serviced apartment that has its own kitchen facilities for you to prepare your own meals. Ascott Sari Jeddah is a good option in this regard.

4

Use of Dining Utensils

Use of Dining Utensils

In Saudi Arabia you may use cutlery or your hands. Remember to never use your left hand for eating, if you are using a spoon and need to switch to a fork, first place the spoon down and take the fork in your right hand.

5

Dining Etiquette for Eating with Your Hands

Dining Etiquette for Eating with Your Hands

Always wash your hands well before sitting down to the meal. If dining at a restaurant you will find that washrooms and sinks are readily available - especially for washing hands. The left hand must be kept at your side. Use only the right hand for eating food or passing around dishes. Never use the left for any of these purposes.

6

Gender Based Dining

Gender Based Dining

It is not uncommon for men and women to be asked to dine separately, in this regard do not get offended if women are separated from the men.

7

Seating Etiquette in Saudi Arabia

Seating Etiquette in Saudi Arabia

The head of the meal or in other words the honoured guest always sits to the middle of the table, with other important guests sitting next to him.

8

Dining at a Restaurant

Dining at a Restaurant

The first person to be served at a restaurant is the main guest; then the oldest male and other males. Children are served next after which it is the turn of the women.