While many football fans continue to enjoy the wide variety of Arabic food in Qatar, the FIFA World Cup 2022 is also showcasing the diverse culinary scene across the country.
“The food I have eaten until now is mostly burgers and pizzas, because I am from Saudi Arabia and I haven’t eaten traditional food here since it’s the same,” Mishaal Alsabti told *Gulf Times, adding that he find it easy to look for the cuisines he likes in Qatar since arriving two weeks ago.
He said he also spent time visiting places in the country such as the Katara – the Cultural Village, Lusail city, Msheireb Downtown Doha, and Souq Waqif, which have been attracting a large number of football fans since the start of the international tournament on November 20.
Like Alsabti, it is learnt that many visitors from neighbouring GCC countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, and the UAE have been spending a longer period in Qatar to experience the tournament and try the numerous food offerings.
Mohamed F from Oman said that while he prefers Italian food such as pasta and pizza over other international cuisines, he still craves for American burgers and is thankful that it is widely available in Qatar.
“I love to visit Souq Waqif and Msheireb because I can just dine anywhere ... you can’t go wrong,” he said. “Everything is authentic but restaurants are always full.”
“Of course there are a lot of international restaurants and coffee shops at the malls and shopping centres,” he added.
Travellers who just visited other countries in the Gulf, like Cathy from Estonia, said she has tried Indian food, shawarmas, Arabic hummus, and falafels “and other kinds of stuff”.
“But the choices here are very diverse, with a lot of different cuisines on offer, so I don’t have enough time to try everything,” she said.
About her experience in Qatar in general, Cathy noted that “with the Hayya card, everything is easy, it is working perfectly well”.
She cited Qatar and the region’s high level of safety and security, saying that “there are no issues so far”.
Many football fans find it convenient to visit popular dining destinations across Doha via public transportation, particularly the Doha Metro, connecting one location to another.
Choi from South Korea said she enjoyed riding the metro while exploring Doha, having lunch at City Center Doha, and dinner at Villaggio Mall with her compatriot.
“For Arabic food we head to Souq Waqif because it is highly recommended based on the discussions online, and many fans are celebrating there in the evening after a match,” she said.
Whether the South Korean team wins or not, she said she will be spending a few more days in Qatar to visit other places and try other cuisines and beverages, especially Indian and Filipino food.
A variety of food offerings in Qatar. PICTURES: Joey Aguilar
Cathy from Estonia.
Mishaal Alsabti from Saudi Arabia.
Souq Waqif continues to attract a large number of football fans.