Saudi’s breakfast of champions – fuul, adas and tamees!

There’s nothing better to start off the day than this combination of two dishes and the Afghani bread called tamees. For my family every Friday was fuul and adas morning, and I’d dutifully drive 15 minutes to our preferred fuul and adas shop.

So what are fuul and adas? Fuul is well-known around the region as a staple dish of Egypt and Sudan. At its most basic fuul is cooked and mashed fava beans which are left to stew, to which olive oil, onions, garlic, lemon juice and chilies are added. Some shops will flavour the dish according to their own personal tastes, and it’s not uncommon to find items like egg being sprinkled on top as well.

And then, there’s adas. Literally speaking, adas is lentils. The method used to cook and prepare fuul is used for adas, and likewise the dish is also garnished with chilies, shatta (spicy chili sauce) and other delights.

Both are spooned into white plastic containers and served with an additional helping of whole, small and fiery green chilies, lemons or limes and onion pieces (ed: don’t think of going to a fuul and adas shop on a date).

What I enjoy the most (apart from the eating) is watching the bread being made. There is always a tanoor bread shop alongside a fuul and adas restaurant, and these places dispense dozens of flat, round tamees breads every couple of minutes. The dough is prepared beforehand, stretched out, sprinkled with water and then stuck to the oven wall. The dough only takes about 45 seconds to cook and it’s wonderfully fluffy on the edges and yet crisp in the center.

Be warned however. Once you eat fuul and adas there is no going back. You’ll need at least half a day to digest the stuff, and you’ll need to wash everything down with some laban or a fizzy drink. And the cost? Between five to ten Saudi Riyals for one container of fuul and adas and a couple of tamees breads. The breakfast of champions which is eaten by all in Saudi.

10 thoughts on “Saudi’s breakfast of champions – fuul, adas and tamees!

  1. Hello Mr. do you have any idea of other things Saudis have for breakfast? Sheikh google is not being very helpful haha. Also, I know it sounds dumb to think about freezing tamees since it is readily available there but I’m in the US and thinking of making some and I was wondering if it would freeze well? thanks in advance for your reply =)

    • Hi Sara, thanks for the message. There are other breakfast dishes like shakshouka which is basically eggs with tomatoes (and then other ingredients thrown in), and pastry dishes such as fatayer but these are from Lebanon and Syria more than Saudi. There’s also the staples of hummus and felafel, which are an Arabic tradition. You’d be surprised how common pastries such as croissants and breakfast sandwiches have become (even donuts too) as global coffee chains have opened up in Saudi. As Tamees is bread, it should freeze fairly well. Good luck with your tamees making!

  2. Can you please give us Recipe of Adas. We miss Adas in Dubai, however Bread similar to tamees is available. Thanks

  3. Hi Alex, I am so happy to find this post here! Literary been looking for years to find a post like yours. I used to live in Riyadh from 80s until 1998 and Fuul with Tamees was my ultimate favorite thing to get every weekend. You put it best, ‘Breakfast of Champions’ indeed.

    Now I do have a request for you. I noticed you mentioned some of the ingredients of Fuul in your blog above, but could you provide a recipe or step by step on what it takes to make it?

    I will anxiously await to hear back from you. Reading this post took me back to the great memories I have living in Saudi Arabia!

    Thanks Alex!

    Best Wishes,
    – Syed Asad

    • I would also still love to have the recipe for a good adas and fuul. Surprisingly haven’t been able to find any quite the same in Abu Dhabi and I miss it!! πŸ™‚

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