When it comes to Middle Eastern food, the majority of people who are not from the region don’t have a clue about what we eat.

Well, I take that back – they have a vague idea. That it’s all very mezza based with lots of hummus, salads, grape leaves, vegetables, and grilled meats. Oh, and that it’s super spicy. (Wrong! It’s flavorful.)

Thing is, more often than not, that’s usually Lebanese food. Believe it or not, the entire Arab world does not eat Lebanese food. While I do enjoy grape leaves and salads, you’re doing yourself a disservice by not acquainting yourself with the diversity of Arab food.

So let me introduce you to a very specific type of cuisine that many people don’t know about. It’s called Hijazi food, and it comes from the west coast of Saudi Arabia.

For breakfast, my favorite meal of the day, you can expect a number of delights like ful mudamas, an Egyptian-style fava bean dish garnished with olive oil, tomatoes, and garlic. This is typically eaten with tamis, sesame-garnished bread or just regular pita bread. Once you taste it, you’ll never be satisfied by your morning bowl of oatmeal.

It doesn’t end there. Expect platefuls of boiled eggs, salty white cheese, olives, falafel, or ma ‘sub. Ma ‘sub, made with bananas mashed with sweetened homemade Arabic bread, is perfect for those of you with a sweet tooth. We’ll usually end the meal with black or red tea and coffee.

Hijazi cuisine is very mixed with the cuisines of India, Africa, Central Asia, and the Levant. That’s largely because Jeddah was an important coastal trading route for centuries, as well as the first stop that many Muslims making the pilgrimage to Mecca would stop at.

Although the Hijaz is mostly known for the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina, its main city is Jeddah. The Al-Hejaz, or Hijaz, region is bordered on the West by the Red Sea, on the North by Jordan, on the East by Najd, and on the South by Asir.