I know I sound like a broken record about this, but the Qatar food scene when I arrived in 2007 was dramatically different to the smorgasbord we have today. A handful of hotels with dining options and a smattering of quality standalone places made up the “scene”.
Today we are almost spoiled for choice and it seems a new eatery pops up on my Instagram feed every day.
Hand in hand with this growth has been the flourishing foodie scene and all that brings with it…
Here’s my guide (by no means exhaustive ahem…) of the eight kinds of foodies you will find in Qatar:
- The Food Blogger:
Yes, yes, this is where I find myself. There has been an explosion of Qatar-based food blogs since I started my humble cheese blog four years ago – in all languages and catering to all audiences. From full on cooking blogs to restaurant reviews and micro-blogging, it seems everyone is in on it here. You will identify this group but the studied silence that descends when a dish hits the table – followed by the furious clicking of smart phone cameras, the whispers of “do you mind?” as someone repositions a plate or asks for so some ambient light. Often found hunting in packs.
Most likely to say: “Wait! I need to SnapChat this!” or “Is this dinner a plus one situation?”
2. The Blagger
The red headed stepchild of the Food Blogger, these are those who pride themselves in being able to score a free meal because of their “Influencer” Status. They have been known to pre-emptively send their “Rate Cards” to hotels and often offer a “group rate” for their shining five star reviews (with a SnapChat and an Instagram post thrown in) in exchange for a hefty fee and a table for them and their mates. I’m on the record about the growth of this sub section of the of the Qatar blogging community and while I don’t begrudge anyone a free meal (hell, I’ve had many!) or making a buck or two, believe me readers and followers have a right to be wary.
Most likely to say: “Don’t you know who I am? I’m a INFLUENCER” and “Would you like to see my review rate card?”
3. The Bruncher:
Loves food and loves to enjoy it with friends. Fridays are sacred and spent in big groups at various hotels around town. They have their favorite haunts (and their regular tables) but will also branch out and try something new. Has a fabulous wardrobe.
Most likely to say: “Shall we get an UBER?” or “The foie gras station at (insert hotel here) is incredible!”
4. The “Expert”
One word: tedious. Not sure you have ever met an “Expert Foodie”? Don’t worry they will tell you ad nauseum about their expert status in everything from organic vegetables to obscure eastern Greenlandic cuisine. They are also want to tell you loudly that there is “no such thing as authentic XXX food in Doha” because they once tried it in (insert country here) on their four day holiday there in 2009 and they now know everything about it. These guys can also be a bit of a food/wine snob and will also correct your pronunciation.
Most likely to say: “Pretentious? Moi?”
5. The Deal Hunter:
Love these guys. Armed with apps and vouchers, they know where to get the best deals in town on any given day. They also know every happy hour and special offer. These guys love food and know that you don’t always have to pay the Doha Standard Price for such things. Make friends with these people.
Most likely to say: “Wait, I have a voucher for that!”
6. The Hipster:
Yes folks, they walk amongst us in Qatar, decrying the shortage of cold press coffee and making repeat hate visits to IKEA for mason jars. Never met a food trend they didn’t like. They claim to know every back street dining joint in Doha and love to espouse their local knowledge and how they just “love to dine with the people”. Also, can we stop trying to make cauliflower rice a thing?
Most likely to say: “Is this single origin?” or “Seriously, Doha needs more food trucks!”
7.The Homecook Hero:
Everybody has a dish from home or their travels that they miss. Some amazing foodies in this town have turned this into a lucrative side business. Thanks to the power of social media, you can now buy everything from a freshly baked pie, to elaborate cakes, to fresh and clean Vietnamese spring rolls, Indonesian food and even a huge dish of luscious seafood paella. If you are keen for a taste of something lovingly home made, head to the MIA Park Bazaar every Saturday or join the Doha Foodies group on Facebook.
Most likely to say: “This? Oh just something I whipped up this morning!”
8. The Genuine Foodie:
Really, this is all of us reading this post. We love to eat it and find new and interesting adventures at home and abroad. We might take a photo of it and post it on our social media channel. We might also recommend it to our friends. We are generous and open and never The only criteria for this “foodie tribe” is a they must love food.
Most likely to say: “OMG this is incredible!”
As I said, this isn’t every tribe or even sub tribe on Qatar’s burgeoning food scene. To be fair, I identify with nearly all of these groups (except the Blaggers and the Hipsters)
Drops mike. Leaves the stage….