A Saudi chef prepares Kibda in Al-Balad District, Jeddah. — Photo and video by Mohammad Mazhar Siddiqi
JEDDAH – For the residents of Jeddah, Ramadan is incomplete without visiting Al-Balad’s historical area, either just to walk, shop or enjoy the distinctive Ramadan atmosphere the ancient area offers.
Bustling with people at food stalls decorated with colorful clothes, popularly known as ‘Tisar’, Qabel Street in Al-Balad attracts thousands of pilgrims, locals and expats to savor the traditional foods.
One such traditional Hijazi food that you can’t miss out on is Kibda (liver), not just because of its distinct aroma which flows through the air, but also because of the enthusiastic Kibda chefs, dressed up in bright and colorful traditional Hijazi clothes.
Wearing their traditional orange turban, robe and waistcoat, these sellers enthrall customers by using attractive phrases.
“Please come and try our Kibda! If you don’t like
“My elders are proud of their customs and they believe that eating Kibda, especially during Ramadan, is a must,” Dardair told Saudi Gazette.
He added that Kibda has been an extremely popular meal for residents of Al-Balad since many years. But now, the place is gaining more popularity and is not only visited by locals, but also by Umrah pilgrims and foreigners from around the world.
However, Dardair was not very happy with Jeddah Mayoralty. He complained that the mayoralty did not properly clean the area daily. He added that even though the mayoralty is responsible for Jeddah’s old districts, he didn’t get any help from them in setting up the food stall and that he had to do it himself.
The Jeddah Mayoralty has licensed 250 stalls of Kibda, Balila (chickpeas) and Bakhoor (traditional perfumes).
“We distributed the stalls according to the regulations of mayoralty. These stalls are in the markets of Qabel Street, Bab Makkah, Al-Alawi and Al-Nada,” said Sami Nawar, head of the Historical Area Municipality.
Dardair pointed out that he has set the price of Kibda as per his expenses. “One plate of Kibda costs me SR7, but I also have to pay salary to the workers and rent. Therefore selling one plate for SR12 is profitable,” he said. A plate of Kibda, which used to cost SR10, is now being sold for SR12. He added that Kibda and Balila stalls have been running since the beginning of Ramadan.