Arabic Language Blog

Meals Posted by on Oct 29, 2009 in Culture, Vocabulary

The work day in the Arab world is usually shorter than the work day in the West, especially for the bureaucratic class of employees, which represents a major percentage of the work force and of society as a whole. Work starts usually at around 8.30 am, and ends at around 2.30 pm. Therefore, people do not usually need to have lunch at work. Instead, lunch (الغَدَاء) is eaten at home, and it is the main meal of the day. In this way, meals (الوَجَبات) in the Arab world are different from the West, as most people in the West have their main meal at supper or dinner (العَشَاء). Breakfast (الإفْطار) is a very important meal for families, especially if they have children. Meals differ considerably from one country to another in the Arab world. Each country has its own distinctive dishes. An Egyptian breakfast would typically have cheese (جُبن), falafel (فلافل), bread (خُبْز) and tea (شَاي). An Egyptian lunch would typically have salad (سَلَطة) or soup (شوربَة), meat (لَحْم), vegetables (خُضرَوات) and rice (أَرُزّ) or bread (خُبْز) and fruits (فَواكِه). Dinner would be light, such as sandwiches (سندوتشات). These are only examples and the options are many.

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  1. Ilan Bouchard:

    I’d like to offer a slight modification to one of your translations. You translated “لحم” as “meat.” While this is technically correct, it almost always refers to red meat (lamb, beef, or a combination of the two—I don’t know if pork would be included). I’ve never heard it refer to chicken or fish, which have their own meal-specific words (دجاج وسمك, respectively).

  2. Aziza:

    shukran Ilan. I agree. However, when you want to talk about meat in general without referring to a specific type, you use “لحم”. The terms you added are a useful addition.

  3. hadia:

    Thank You so much for this very helpful site
    i can see that you have taken much time and effort in bringing us such a great resource
    i really like the arabic culture you present which describes arab life, meal time , family and friend interaction
    thanks for giving me a great place to study and refer my friends to

  4. Aziza:

    Ahlan Hadia,
    Shukran for the sweet comment and welcome back any time.