“When I checked into my room at the Radisson Blu in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia, one of the first things I noticed was a promotional card for the restaurant downstairs displaying a nice, juicy burger. However, on further inspection, I realized I would not be ordering that particular sandwich. I am sure a camel burger tastes great with an acquired palate, and I have tried many exotic meats, but I decided to pass.
To my surprise, however, that was the only menu item I would need to avoid. Because Yanbu—once a barren desert inhabited by the aforementioned camels—is located on the Red Sea, fresh seafood is abundant. Each night the hotel featured crab legs, seafood chowder or fresh fish as part of its buffet. A wonderful respite after a long day in a hot climate. I accompanied my meals with a refreshing 7-Up. (Alcohol is forbidden in Saudi Arabia, as is pork).
While I also enjoyed the basic staples of Saudi Arabian cuisine including beans, rice, yogurt and chicken, my companion and I were able to find some American restaurants when the mood struck—TGI Friday’s, Fuddruckers, and Pizza Hut—and local eateries, such as Ostorah, offering a wonderful selection of Mediterranean and Lebanese dishes. Yanbu offers a melting pot of eateries, including Chinese, just as it welcomes a melting pot of newcomers who come to work at its many industries.
If you do have the chance to visit the southern shores of Saudi Arabia, try the camel burger. Let me know what I missed.”