Jeddah Historic District showcases its culinary heritage
Flint Culture has recently embarked on a promotional campaign with the Jeddah Historic District (JHD) to showcase and promote its rich culinary heritage. Also known as Al-Balad, the historic district dates back to the 7th Century, and as its name suggests, JHD is the oldest part of the city: the beating heart of Jeddah. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and – as part of a government vision to preserve Saudi identity, cultural heritage and social values – is on the cusp of an exciting new chapter. The Saudi Ministry Of Culture has invested heavily in preserving this unique quarter and, more specifically, 20 of its most traditional and revered restaurants.
Al Balad’s culinary history is arguably one of the best ways to tell the story of Jeddah and how it became such an important port city. The district is a microcosm of Saudi’s multicultural society, as it was through Al-Balad that pilgrims and traders would first arrive in the Kingdom. Here they would disembark their boats and enter the city, with an appetite for Jeddah’s well-known cuisine. The mix of restaurants from the Arab Peninsula reflect the melting pot of cultures and beliefs that have, for centuries, formed the life blood of the city.
Today, visitors to JHD are spoilt for choice when it comes to genuine authentic culinary experiences: the maze of streets lined with coral-stone traditional houses is home to some of the oldest restaurants Jeddah has to offer, 20 of which have been selected as beneficiaries of the Ministry Of Culture’s visionary plan to preserve the identity of the district and promote its foodie credentials. From traditional family bakeries and some of the oldest fish restaurants in Saudi, to those that offer authentic mutabak, maasoub and foul, JHD is a foodie destination like no other.
Yet the JHD culinary experience continues to evolve and innovate. The global pandemic has thrown the global hospitality industry into disarray and – in a move to support these independent restaurants that have been trading in Jeddah Historic District for generations – the Ministry is taking them online. The launch of a new pioneering food delivery app, Lugmety, will give these traditional family-run businesses the financial and technological ability to tap into new audiences and thrive in the era of COVID.