Sold on carts or in shacks along the road or at festivals and massive events, countries get to celebrate their culture and heritage through authentic street food. As Qatar is one of the countries known to be home to a melting pot of cultures, its street food scene richly blends together delicious local delicacies and international flavors. If you are attending the World Cup and want to familiarize yourself with Qatar’s rich food culture, there are several snacks and bites you can try out to give you a true authentic dining experience.
The Classic Duo: Chapati & Karak
A distant cousin of the infamous Indian paratha, chapati is an unleavened flatbread with a crispy crust that is either eaten plain or rolled up with your choice of a savory or sweet filling whether it’s cheese, minced meat, Nutella, or honey. In Qatar, it is quite common to pair this steaming hot bread with the widely popular drink across the Gulf known as karak tea. This special black tea is a crowd favorite among Gulf residents as nothing can beat that warm cardamom-infused kick you’d get from the first sip.
Where to try out this special duo:
Regag (Qatari Bread)
Known as Qatar’s traditional take on a crepe, regag is a popular street food among locals and ex-pats known for its paper-like thickness and crispy wafer-like texture. Served folded or rolled into its distinctive cone shape, this crepe is best eaten with a filling of juicy kebab or a slathering of a wide assortment of toppings including cheese, eggs, honey, or a thick fish paste known as mhyawa.
Where to snack on this delicious bread:
Shay Al Shamoos has to make it again on this list as it is known to serve Qatar’s best regag. You can also hit up the central square at Souq Waqif and head to the food stalls where local women would sell delicious street food including the infamous regag.
Crunchy Pani Puri
Bringing a taste of India, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka to the street food scene is pani puri, the popular deep-fried hollow balls of flat bread loved all over the Asian continent as well as the Gulf. Biting into any pani puri is a fun experience in itself as these hollow balls would usually get filled with a combination of potatoes and chickpeas along with onions, spices, and mint-flavored water. The moment you bite into its crunchy shell, you will get that gush of water coupled with the rich filling, making for a unique gastronomical experience.
Where to try out this popular snack:
You cannot go wrong with a hot steaming pie stuffed with minced meat, cheese or spinach, considered a delicacy among the Arab community. At Qatar, these special pies are known as fatayer and are usually served quite small, making them a great snack option to pass the day before heading home for a big dinner.
Where to eat this warm and rich pie:
To bite into these flavorful pockets of rich dough and tasty fillings, you can head to Shawarma Fatayer Sbanja, Chtoura Restaurant, or Waraq Ghar Restaurant and enjoy a fun dining experience.
Known as lokma or luqaimat, these sweet donut-like balls are so popular that many countries have their own rendition including Egypt, India, and Greece. When it comes to Qatar, they like to go for the simple route, soaking these fried balls in sugar syrup and adding a touch of cardamom and saffron to up its flavor. Crunchy on the outside, soft, warm and gooey on the inside, luqaimat is the kind of dessert that once you start eating, you won’t be able to stop.
Where to eat this well-loved dessert:
For the best experience, you should eat luqaimat while it’s being freshly made so we’d recommend heading to some of the stalls at Souq Waqif or you can also find them at places like Karaki at The Pearl in Doha.
An Extra Fun Tip
You can up your street food experience by heading to any of Qatar’s supermarkets or mini markets and buying some of their authentic Qatari snacks. We’d recommend going for their wide assortment of chips whether it’s the popularly known Oman chips or a pack of Salata and Raja.
With your chips in hand, it’s time to get your taste buds ready and roll your sleeves for the ultimate street food experience at Qatar’s best foodie hotspots.