SARAH ALMUAWAD WRITES– Why does Kuwait, a small country in Western Asia, want to become the world’s food capital? Maybe, to boost tourism? To decrease the country’s reliance on oil? To take advantage of lower oil prices over the past three years?? To compete globally? To expand the economy?

All of the above.

To this end, chefs, entrepreneurs and investors have joined together with local and foreign culinary stars to expand the Kuwaiti culinary scene. And foodies worldwide should be happy about this.

Kuwait’s cuisine is a mixture of Arabic, Persian, and Mediterranean influences. The most popular dish is Machboos, a rice-based platter topped by chicken or other meat with caramelized onions, in a homemade tomato sauce called ‘daqous.’ It is a traditional family meal but can also be purchased through many delivery applications. Over 100+ restaurants offer home delivery through applications such as Carriag, and Talabat, two of the largest online food ordering platforms in the Middle East.

But while powerful businesswomen and men such as Fahad Al Kharafi, a well- known food entrepreneur in Kuwait; and Adlah Al Sharhan, a famous Kuwaiti chef who plans on motivating, encouraging and investing in local chefs and restaurants, their franchises are still less favored than small, native restaurants.

Kuwait offers a huge variety of international cuisines and restaurants as well, from street-food style shawarmas to high-quality five stars restaurants. What’s more, it’s also now the new coffee capital of the Middle East. Coffee shop growth has been increasing rapidly since 2017; the number of store openings has more than doubled since then. And as alcohol is illegal for religious reasons, these shops mimic Western bars, where people drink, socialize and enjoy good music. Some even welcome pets, leaning more to European and American lifestyles.

And yet, there is a downside to all this. Kuwait has one of the highest obesity rates in the world,  reports CNN— more than 50 percent of women, according to a Global Burden of Disease Study published in The Lancet medical journal.

Can Kuwait meet the goal of becoming a world famous- international- food capital? Who knows what’s next on the plate?

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