What Arabs Are Eating for Lunch?

Arabic food is known for its intoxicating aromas and unique flavors. The use of spices, olive oil, beans, nuts, and meat is what gives Arabic food its distinct identity.

All the fancy rice, barbeque, and desserts work great for special occasions and celebrations, but what is a humble Arabic lunch food? In this blog, we will discuss some of the commonly eaten lunch foods in Arab.

What Does an Arabic Lunch Box Contain?

Lunch should be a light meal that fills in the gap between two large meals, i.e., breakfast and dinner. The work culture in Arab is almost the same as in other countries, but the food culture varies greatly.

A child going to school in Arab has a different lunch box than the one in a Western country. It contains different elements, and, thus, different nutrition, and flavors.

What Is the Favourite Lunch Food of Arabs?

Arabs love aromatic foods with meats and flatbreads. They like to cook their barbeque on skewers and boil their rice till each grain is separated. A hint of Gulf spices is what further enhances the appeal of an Arabic dish. Spices like Turmeric, ginger, saffron, cumin powder, bay leaves, and grated black lime add some personality to the food without being overpowering.

An Arabic lunch menu is mostly composed of proteins and carbohydrates. Beans, meats, and nuts deliver proteins, whereas flatbreads and rice offer enough carbs to re-energize.  There are also various vegetarian options you may find in an Arabic lunch box, such as manakeesh, fattoush salad, saloona, and falafel.

Common Arabic Lunch Foods:

A typical Arab lunch meal is composed of stews, rice, wraps, or sandwiches. Every meal is supported with copious amounts of bread or rice for a balancing effect.

A traditional Arabic meal is often served with sides of pickles, dips, olives, nuts, or date bowls. They also like to have tea prior to their meal, which is a great practice as it helps boost metabolism.

Here is a brief list of foods often found in the lunch box of an Arab.


1.    Hummus

Hummus is not only well known in the Middle East but is also prepared and consumed frequently in other parts of the world. It’s a versatile dip that can be utilized in a meal in one of many ways. High in protein, fiber, and minerals, hummus makes a great salad dressing, sandwich sauce, or chips dip.

Hummus with Foul















A lot of people order it as an appetizer, often served with a gracious drizzle of olive oil and pita chips. It is extremely filling and delicious, so if you are looking for a light lunch that keeps you satiated for hours, hummus can be your go-to option.

The creamy sauce could be eaten as is, or ordered as the sauce or dressing to go with your favorite wrap or salad. There’s no beating hummus when it comes to healthy eating either. It is packed with iron, proteins, calcium, and healthy fats that help keep you and your health in check.

2.    Falafel:

The crispy chickpea balls, aka falafel, is another lunch staple in the Gulf region. This delicious food originated in ancient Egypt and is still eaten as a common snack in the Middle East. Falafel makes a great snack, an appetizer, as well as a whole meal. Often served in the form of salads, these fluffy balls carry some of the most essential nutrients.

If you’re looking for a filling meal, this healthy chickpea-based recipe is the ideal Arabic food for lunch. You can order it as a falafel wrap, falafel salad, or as plain falafel if that is your taste.

3.    Zataar Bread:

Zaatar is the Arabic name for thyme. It is a spice mix that is used to season a range of dishes and foods. It is also known to improve mental capabilities and attentiveness in kids, which is why it is an ideal component for a kid’s lunch box.

You can have it with bread or even sprinkle it on top of your meal to enhance its flavor. A Zaatar bread makes a delicious lunch, as well as an appropriate mid-day snack.

4.    Fava Beans (Ful Medames)

The concept of foul or fava beans came from Egypt but later became popular in the entire Arab. These protein-rich beans are often served in a bowl as a part of lunch trays, or prepared into a stew called Ful Medames. Sweep up the stew with a piece of flatbread to make a complete lunch or dinner meal.

It is also a great lunch option for vegetarians, as it is a plant-based source of protein. The earthy, nutty, and slightly sweet flavor of fava beans tastes really good with rice, bread, or cheese.

5.    Shawarma:

Shawarma is the Arabic king of wraps. It is popular all across the world, but particularly in Arabic countries due to its traditional preparation. The meat for a shawarma wrap is appropriately seasoned and then skewered on a long rotisserie. It then rotates in circles, cooking the outer layers of the meat.

When you order a shawarma wrap, the chef cuts out pieces from the cooked parts, combines them with finely cut vegetables, and sauces to make a stuffing. The mixture goes into pita bread to make a non-mess, quick-fix lunch meal.

You can order shawarma with your own choice of meat, as it is available in lamb, beef, chicken, turkey, and veal varieties.

6.    Machboos:

Machboos is a traditional Emirati rice dish that is frequently prepared and served in Arabic households. It is more of a fancy meal but is also often appreciated as a humble lunch meal. A common serving on the Ramadhan table, chicken, and meat machboos make a popular option for lunch in Arabic countries.

The recipe of machboos is ancient, as it has been passed down between generations. The rice is cooked with meat, an assortment of spices, and vegetables to create a delicious dish. It is a complete meal, containing essential vitamins, carbs, and proteins.

To sum it up, Arabs eat full and nutritious meals in their lunches. They have both light and heavy food options, each of which is delicious and healthy.

If you are not sure what Arabic food to have for lunch today, Arabian Tea House has got you covered! We have a variety of lunch options on our lunch menu. Click here to order online, or visit your nearest outlet, and try your favorite Arabic lunch recipes, made by expert chefs, only for you!