I often say that you can dine around the world in one day in Doha. But like many foodies, I often fall into a dining out rut – trying old favorites rather that pushing the dining boat out. But in recent months I made a pledge – to try new dishes, new places and new cuisines. Now it’s your turn – time to shake up your dining routine and eat outside your comfort zone in and around Doha.
How? Where? What? Don’t worry folks, I’m here for you! I’ve devised a list of favorite dishes and some more adventurous options – as well as where to find them in and around Doha (click the links for more information including location). And guess what, trying new things also doesn’t cost the earth! Also, please share your recommendations below!
Happy adventurous eating!
Love spring rolls? Try Filipino lumpiang sariwa.
Who doesn’t love a spring roll? Crispy, crunchy, deep fried or fresh and stuffed with veggies and dunked in soy sauce. Trust me on this, the lumpiang, especially lumpiang sariwa (fresh lumpia) or lumpiang ubod (heart of palm lumpia/spring rolls), a Filipino favorite, should become your next best thing. You can order them deep fried but I recommend the fresh version. A fresh egg pancake encases the thinly sliced vegetables, coconut shoots and meat or prawns. I fist tried this at the famous Max’s in Al Sadd last year and have been raving about it since. Like many Filipino dishes, it comes with a garlic and soy sauce.
Like spaghetti bolognaise? Give Shanghai noodles a try
Who doesn’t love a big steaming bowl of meaty bolognaise sauce? It’s the ultimate comfort food. But shanghai noodles topped with a spicy meat sauce are a close second. The noodles are long and wider than usual slightly chewy and come with shredded cucumber – giving the dish an amazing texture and a hit of freshness. I’ve only ever come across this at my local (the OG of Chinese takeout) takeaway Three Peppers – there is no actual photo because it’s usually devoured on sight. I became a convert to this dish after seeing a table of Chinese diners tucking in – the best recommendation! at QR30 it’s worth the plunge!
Like fried rice? Give Kottu a Try
Spice up your life by going a few rounds of this Sri Lankan comfort food staple. Kottu is a simple amalgam of chopped godamba roti (Sri Lankan roti bread), an assortment of vegetables and egg or meat basically mashed together on a grill. What makes kottu so distinctive is the sound associated with making it – the clash of metal against metal as its being chopped up on the grill. There is masala, cheese and even the interestingly named dolphin version (fear not, it’s actually made with paratha and is spicy). I’ve had a few versions in Doha but consensus is that Salamath serves some tasty options for those wanting to eat outside their comfort zone. Expect to pay QR12 to QR15 for a plate.
Are you a dumpling fiend? Try Nepalese Momos
If you don’t like dumplings, we can’t be friends. Momos are the more humble cousin of the Chinese dumpling. The dough can sometimes be a little thicker and they come steamed or fried and stuffed with chicken, beef, lamb and sometimes buffalo. The best thing? The spicy sauces accompanying them. If you are ready to shake up your dining routine, momos are available in South Asian many restaurants across Doha, but my favorite is at the Gurkha in Najma. Get a plate each of steamed and fried and also try their thukpa or noodles. Don’t forget to check out the fun decor!
Like a steaming bowl of Ramen? Get into Mie Rebus
There is something deeply life affirming about a big bowl of noodle soup – for me it can cure all that ails me in just a few sips. Good ramen is hard to find in Doha, so why not get more adventurous?
Mie Rebus is a popular comfort food in Indonesia. It’s egg noodles with boiled in a rich curry broth with meat or I like it with prawns. This version is fresh on the menu at Time Out Doha award winner Mama Rozie. It’s like a big hug in a bowl.
Have a thing for Indian thalis? Try Ethiopian food
The best thing about thalis is that you can have a bit of everything and the same principle applies to the Ethiopian version. Their food is often served on big rounds of their legendary spongy injera bread. The dishes themselves are a riot of colors, textures and flavors – salty, nutty, sour and spicy. Many of the dishes are vegetarian friendly. I recently tried a veggie version of these dishes at Lucy Restaurant in Muather – not only was the food delicious but the staff (and fellow diners) were friendly and keen for me to try new things. The dish in the photo was just QR35.
Are you a fan of fondue? Give a Thai hotpot a try
Who doesn’t love a bit of interactive dining? Fondu is always a favorite – be it chocolate or cheese. But with our Doha weather, sometimes a little heavy. I discovered recently, the Thai have their own version perfect for this climate, and it’s every bit as spicy as you would expect. Big steaming clay pots of tangy broth where you can dip in meat, seafood or veggies. Khao San in Bin Mahmoud has been packing in the happy diners with their version of this meal, as well as their Thai BBQ which is a veritable, pocket friendly feast. the better news (if you ignore the dire parking situation) is that the hotpot with accompaniments starts at QR99 and is made to share.
So there you have it – a quick guide to how to shake up your dining routine in Doha and eat outside your comfort zone. Over to you! any recommendations?