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  • Ross Christieson

How Kuwait Became the Foodie Capital of the Gulf

Updated: Apr 18

Kuwait, a land rich in culture and history, is now carving out a new identity as the foodie capital of the Middle East. This transformation is fuelled by a dynamic interplay of factors that have reshaped the country's dining landscape, blending tradition with innovation to create a gastronomic experience with a unique history in the region.


At the heart of Kuwait's culinary renaissance lies the pioneering spirit of Kei, the Gulf's first Japanese restaurant, which opened its doors in 1981. Founded by visionary entrepreneur Kei Yamamoto, Kei introduced Kuwaitis and the wider region to the art of Japanese cuisine, captivating diners with its exquisite flavors and meticulous preparation techniques. This groundbreaking establishment not only revolutionized Kuwait's dining scene, but it also sparked a culinary revolution across the region, inspiring a new wave of experimentation and international exploration.


Driving this culinary revolution forward is the AlShaya Group, a powerhouse in the region's retail and hospitality sector. Recognizing Kuwait's vibrant market as a fertile ground for innovation, AlShaya has leveraged the country as a testing ground for novel dining concepts. With a keen eye for consumer trends and an unwavering commitment to quality, the group has introduced a plethora of international brands to Kuwait, enriching the gastronomic landscape and catering to the diverse palates of locals and expatriates alike before expanding these iconic brands throughout the region. From upscale eateries to casual cafes, the AlShaya Group has played a pivotal role in shaping Kuwait's culinary identity, ushering in a new era of culinary exploration.


Complementing the influence of international brands is the rise of locally owned and operated restaurants, driven in part by Kuwaitis' penchant for global travel. Blessed with a cosmopolitan outlook and a curiosity for diverse cuisines, Kuwaiti food enthusiasts have ventured far and wide, immersing themselves in the culinary traditions of nations across the globe. From the bustling streets of Tokyo to the quaint trattorias of Tuscany, Kuwaitis have embraced a world of flavors, bringing back with them a wealth of gastronomic knowledge and experiences. This exposure to global cuisines has not only broadened Kuwaitis' palates but has also inspired a new generation of chefs and restaurateurs to explore the uncharted realms of international gastronomy.


Today, Kuwait's dining scene is a vibrant tapestry of tradition and innovation, with a diverse array of culinary offerings that reflect the country's rich cultural heritage and global outlook. From traditional Kuwaiti dishes served in cozy local eateries to avant-garde creations at sleek, contemporary establishments, Kuwait offers a culinary experience that caters to every taste and preference. Whatever they choose to indulge in, diners in Kuwait are treated to a gastronomic journey that celebrates the country's past while embracing its future.


As Kuwait continues to assert its position as the culinary capital of the Middle East, one thing is clear – the country's culinary renaissance is a testament to the power of innovation, creativity, and cultural exchange. With each bite, diners in Kuwait are not only savoring delicious food but also experiencing the rich tapestry of Kuwaiti culture and the vibrant spirit of the Middle East.


Creative cuisine means unique ingredients. Mera Foodservice offers exciting, new dairy products throughout the MENA region, allowing restaurants and chefs to innovate and explore new flavors and cuisines. Reach out to us to discover more about our products!


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