The Saudi Culinary Arts Commission has announced the ‘National & Regional Dishes Narratives’ initiative – a national initiative which seeks to identify and celebrate local dishes in Saudi culture across various regions in the Kingdom. In addition to identifying a national dish, the initiative will also include a study of the dishes that best represent each region of the kingdom to be selected and announced later this year.
As part of the announcement, the commission has chosen ‘Jareesh’ as the national dish of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and ‘Maqshush’ as the Saudi national dessert.
The initiative is a part of the collective effort of the Culinary Arts Commission and the Saudi Ministry of Culture to shine a light on the Kingdom’s cultural gems for local and international audiences. By investing in the symbolic value of the selected Saudi dishes, the Culinary Arts Commission aims to celebrate them regionally and internationally, document their recipes for posterity, and highlight them through competitive programs and incentives to raise awareness around key ingredients of each dish.
The selection of Jareesh as the national dish reflects its beloved place in Saudi society, and its popularity throughout the Kingdom since ancient times. References to the dish’s history can be found in various Arab heritage books, which document the process followed by women in the Arabian Peninsula to grind wheat by hand using a coarse mill.