Arabic For Dummies
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Knowing how to order food in Arabic is essential, whether you're on a short visit to the Middle East or planning to live there. Put some some basic Arabic restaurant (maT'am) vocabulary into your head to make the experience of eating out in a Middle Eastern restaurant a lot more fun.

faatuura (check)
iiSaal (receipt)
naadil/naadila [M/F] (waiter/waitress)

In the Middle East, as in most of the rest of the world, there are three main meals of the day: faTuur (breakfast), ghadaa' (lunch), and 'ashaa' (dinner).

To tell someone you're hungry in Arabic, say anaa jaw'aan/anaa jaw'aa. (I'm hungry [M/F]). If you want to ask somebody if he or she is hungry, you say hal anta jaw'aan?/hal anti jaw'aa (Are you hungry? [M/F]).

Here are some food items you can order.

khubz (bread)
laHm (meat)
faakiha (fruit)
sukkar (sugar)
Ta'aam (food)
ka'k (cake, pastries)
Halwayaat (sweets)
salaTa (salad)
shurba (soup)
dajaaja (chicken)
aruzz (rice)
laHm (meat)
laHm al-baqr (beef)

You might want to use the following adjectives to describe to your naadil/naadila (waiter/waitress) how you want the food prepared.

mashwii (grilled)
masluuq (boiled)
Taazij (fresh)

To tell someone you're thirsty in Arabic, say anaa 'aTshaan/anaa 'aTshaa. [M/F]. When you want to ask somebody whether he or she is thirsty, you say hal anta 'aTshaan?/hal anti 'aTshaa (Are you thirsty? [M/F]). To order your drink, say sa'shrab . . . (I will drink . . .). Then add the name of the drink you want.

maa' (water)
qahwa (coffee)
shaay (tea)
'aSiir (juice)
qahwa (coffee)
shaay (tea)

The following phrases might help you when you're eating at a restaurant.

  • uriid laHm mashwii, min faDlik. (I would like grilled meat please.)

  • al-laHm ladhiidh. (The meat is delicious.)

  • hal'indakum dajaaja wa-ruzz? (Do you have chicken with rice?)

  • a'Tiinii al-fatuura, min faDlik. (Please bring the check.)

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