Every country around the world is unique. When you visit a new country, you always want to bring a piece of it home to your friends, family, or even to yourself. Ever wondered what Saudi Arabia has to offer when it comes to souvenirs? And by souvenirs, I don’t mean the fridge magnets or the Starbucks mugs. It’s a country with a lot of unique pieces that you can give to your loved ones. And since it’s the Umrah season, I wanted to help who wonders about the gifts to bring back from umrah or Saudi Arabia in general. So, without further ado, here’s your guide to the best gifts you have to buy from Saudi Arabia.
Dates are so trendy right now. Everyone is adding them to their smoothies, shakes and nut mills for this extra kick of sweet! Saudi Arabian dates are so famous that they have their own festival. The varieties are endless and each city is famous for a specific type of dates. According to your budget, you can have the cheapest dates which still are amazing, or the super expensive. Some stores offer stuffed dates. The stuffings range from cashew nuts, coconuts, and pistachios to dark, and white chocolate. Having dates with Arabian coffee is stable in any Saudi home. You can buy the plain dates from any supermarket but for the gourmet stuffed dates and more quality dates, check out special stores like Al Madinah Dates shop, Siafa dates and Talah AlJood if you are in Jeddah.
Oh, I guess you saw this one coming! The lightly roasted arabica coffee beans represent about 70% of the coffee industry in the world! In Saudi Arabia, it’s prepared with cardamom in the pot, then it is moved to a better pitcher—Dallah, also a very nice gift— to serve to the guest. It is served in a small delicate cup without handles, called finjān. Which is also a great gift idea!
It has a specific method of preparation and a lot of customs when it comes to serving and drinking. Going to leave this for another post. It’s strong and bitter but paired with something sweet it really brings out its flavor, so get ready for a palatal carnival. You can get Arabian coffee from the local markets. But it’s better to order an Arabic coffee in a Dallah and sit in a good cafe—a good cafe is where you will find a lot of people sitting in it with a lot of Dallahs orders—so you don’t miss the real taste of Arabian coffee.
I don’t think there’s anyone who doesn’t know what an abaya is. But for those who don’t, I’m here for you. An abaya is like a kaftan, in Saudi Arabia women have to wear them over their clothes to cover up. There are a lot of abaya types and colors. Mine, for example, is pink. Passant’s one is a spring coat, so you don’t really have to go with the black ones anymore. There are a lot of stores that sell the most trendy abayas out there and most of them are made by local designers. Getting an abaya whether to wear it during your stay here, in your home country, or to your next trip to Morocco is a must if you visit Saudi Arabia. You can find a lot of abaya stores at any mall, but you will find a better selection in the concept stores, like Homegrown Market in Jeddah.
The smell of luxury. Oud is an oil extracted from Asian agarwood when it becomes infected with mold. It’s very rare, which makes it incredibly expensive! Oud makes the best gift if you have some cash to spare on something worth it. It’s unisex and its scent is so distinguishable. A lot of brands have incorporated it in their perfume from Tom Ford and Dior to YSL and Cartier, but trust me, all of these perfumes don’t do Oud justice. The oil itself attaches to your skin and never leaves even after a shower. There are a lot of shops that are famous for selling it in Saudi Arabia like Abarian Oud and Abdul Samad Al Qurashi, both also have some branches in London—Oud is becoming a global sensation.
5- Zamzam Water
The holy water for Muslims. It comes from a well in Mecca for those of you who aren’t familiar with it. It used to be sold only in Mecca, but now you can grab it from any airport around the kingdom. I have seen a lot of Asians weddings where they gift the guests’ small bottles of Zamzam water, I thought it was a very nice idea! So if you are a Muslim or want to gift a Muslim friend something that’s really precious, even more, precious than Oud in its sentimental value, definitely go for Zamzam water!
Rosaries or as Muslim call it “Subha”are used in almost every religion, so they make the perfect gift for your friends regardless of their faith. Some people even use them in meditation. In Saudi Arabia the rosary choices are endless. You can have any number of beads you want in any material and in any color. The price also ranges from the very expensive to the very cheap. A lady in Mecca once gave me one for free! And of course, you can find it in any gift shop all around the country.
Needless to say, I save the best for last. Incense for those of you who are unfamiliar with it is a material that releases fragrant smoke when burned. They come as blocks to be burned in a Mabkhara (also a good gift) or as I like to use it in the form of sticks. Burning incense sticks around the house makes it so fragrant you don’t want to leave, and it’s really amazing for meditation. The varieties are endless and the price range is so wide. I have some sticks that cost less than a dollar, and some small pieces can cause a million dollar (I’m not exaggerating google it). You can find the incense sticks in many of the convenient stores or supermarkets. Ask for Bokhor that’s what we call it. And if you have some money to invest in a good quality incense, you can check Abarian Oud and Abdul Samad Al Qurashi, The Oud dudes.
A trustworthy beauty product recommendations I have discovered, tried and reviewed for you. Get your cocktail, write your reviews with me and forget yourself in this black hole. Keep your point of view coming, I will only stop if you did.