Middle Eastern Food Yemen Yemeni Food

It's widely known that coffee was so important in Turkey, a woman could divorce her husband if he did not provide her with coffee. The Oxford Companion to Food even devotes an entry to coffee.

For the origin, we are told coffee plants from Ethiopia were taken to the Yemen.

The origin of the word coffee, according to the BBC (, is the name for wine in Yemeni--Qahwa.

Coffee, like tea in China, was consumed by Sufi monks to help them pray longer. Unlike the other weeks where most ingredients are impossible to find, coffee is readily available in Seoul.

We found a coffee shop on a quiet Seoul backstreet. The owner brought out a small bag of green coffee beans from Yemen. He roasted them in front of us, but told us to wait before drinking.

Yemeni food had a few similarities with Afghan and middle-eastern food: rice and meat slowly cooked together; Hawaij spice made of coriander, turmeric, cardamon, cloves, and cumin. However, according to the Oxford Companion to Food, Yemen’s large population and geographic isolation, means that Yemeni cuisine is more influenced by the sea (India and Indonesia) than the land.

Indian parathas are similar to Yemeni malawach, which is now a comfort food in Israel.

We decided to make our Yemeni feast for Sunday lunch as the main dish was a whole chicken on rice.

The chicken was marinated by stuffing the Hawaij spices and butter under the skin and all over the chicken and leaving it overnight. The fish was marinated and the fenugreek powder were left soaking overnight, too.

Yemeni food was all delicious. The coffee was a little bitter, but had a real kick.


  • Fish stew
  • Salteh
  • Aubergine salad
  • Aubergine in spicy tomato sauce
  • Chicken Mandi
  • Flat bread


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