Culture, Language & Cuisine

The culture is a very large part of Yemen and most of it stems from the Islamic religion. The holy days are very sacred and worshipped throughout the country. Art is a very large art of the culture and gold jewelry has become very popular. The Quran verses are also seen throughout various cases and jewelry, making them popular souvenirs and seen on locals as well. In some of the tribal areas, culture can dramatically vary.

When traveling to Yemen, Arabic is the official language, however it exists in three forms across the country. Classic Arabic is the written language. There is also MSA (Modern Standard Arabic) which is a form of Classic Arabic, commonly used in the press and in literature as well as the spoken language throughout the forms of media. Finally, there is everyday Arabic, which is on the streets. Some Arabic speakers are unable to communicate with those who speak a different form.

In the Far East, there are still some people who speak Mehri, which is a language from the ancient kingdoms. In some of the other areas throughout Yemen, it is also possible to find other native tongues, however most also speak Arabic.

Most Yemeni students are learning English in school, so it is possible to find the youth of Yemen to communicate with in English. There are also various native tongues spoken because of the Yemenis who originally hail from South Asia or Africa.

The food in Yemen comes from the fertile land and the sea. Bread is one of the most important foods and is a staple for the Yemeni diet. It is almost always served warm and there are over 30 varieties of bread throughout the country. It can be baked in special ovens called a tanour or throughout traditional ovens. The bread can also be dipped in hummus, yogurt or other sauces.

Breakfast may be ful, which is a dish of beans, onions, tomatoes and chilies or a light meal of scrambled eggs. The main meal of the day is eaten at midday, or lunch. This is primarily lamb or chicken as well as various beans, chickpeas and many different spices. Mint and yogurt are common accompaniments to the food.

The religion forbids Muslims to drink alcohol or consume pork, so it is rarely found throughout the country since so many people follow the Muslim religion. Sweet tea is consumed throughout the day, usually served hot.

There is also a popularity of fruit for dessert. This includes custards as well as pies. There are a large number of fruit bearing trees throughout the fertile soil of Yemen, and so the bakers take advantage of the fruits including pears, figs and pomegranates.