Saudi Arabia: The Ultimate Juice Bar

Saudi Arabia prohibits the sale and use of alcoholic beverages.  As a result, juice bars are prolific throughout the Kingdom.  In fact, in my opinion, I think Saudi Arabia has cornered the market on the best fresh juice drinks in the world.

Imagine entering a juice bar and seeing fresh fruits (and some veggies) from all over the world tantalizingly displayed!  You have the choice of “designing” your own drink or selecting one among the many many available choices.

The juice bars in the Kingdom have mastered the fine art of knowing which juices mix together best for a tasty and refreshing drink.  Among my favorites was banana juice.  I know…just the thought of banana juice to someone who never had any might sound strange and maybe a little bit unappealing.  However I am confident that just one taste of this rich and creamy juice will make anyone come to crave it like I did!   

Many times my husband would call me on his way home to let me know he was going to stop at one of our favorite juice bars.  What type of juice did I want him to bring home?  Sometimes I would make a suggestion to him and other times I’d ask him to just surprise me.  After all, if I always ordered my standard favorites how would I learn about others I hadn’t tried yet?

Now that I am in the States I find myself often missing the juice bars of Saudi Arabia.  I’ve yet to find a juice bar even remotely similar to the ones I went to regularly.

For many reasons I have started juicing using whatever fruits and vegetables are in season.  I have since discovered that juicing is also very popular among a number of American Bedu regulars.  I welcome and encourage readers to share their favorite juicing recipes and techniques!  I have a very special request too…can anyone tell me how I can make my own banana juice similar to what is served in Saudi Arabia?


24 Responses

  1. We drink carrot, ginger and broccoli most mornings. Sometimes I’ll add other things that we get from the garden (cucumber, green pepper) or what I just happened to have here (spinach). I’ve learned cabbage is not so good juiced!

    A rather refreshing drink is a sweet apple (or two) with lemon. If you like it more lemony, use more. If you like it sweeter, use less lemon. It’s lemonade without sugar, but sweetened by the apple. Get your produce cold before making it since lemonade is better chilled than warm. 🙂

  2. I fell in love with banana juice in Bali five years ago and duplicated it when I lived in the US. I would throw the bananas in my “VitaMix” (a blender on steroids, but essential to great smoothies, especially those that use spinach), add a few ice cubes and enough water to make the smoothie a drinkable consistency. That’s it! Nothing added, just pure sweet bananas 🙂

  3. My favourite juice is lemon with mint… so beautiful!! At home we mostly make lime juice though, which is simply squeezed limes, some sugar, a bit of water and ice to make it cool. Lovely!

  4. I adore pomegranate juice. Here is a link on how to make it at home

  5. My saudi friends mix banana, milk, some sugar and ice cubes. Mmm so delicious! Its been a while I think I will request one this evening 🙂

  6. My favorite juicer-stand is Orange Julius …..

  7. I’m very partial to watermelon+ ginger+mint .

    Carol – banana juice that F makes is bananas, Ice + little milk+ honey. and this gives our Vitamix a workout to get a thin liquid. but absolutely delish.

    Kids like carrot + apple + blueberry combination with a bit of yougurt.

  8. I am going to have so much fun trying these wonderful recipes! I’ve a question…in regards to the lemons and limes, do you peel those before throwing them in the juicer?

    I’ll try the banana juice in my blender though since my juice book warns not to put them in the juicer.

    I love the idea of using a little bit of apple with the lemons. I know when I’ve made just apple juice it was too sweet.

    I like to blend oranges and strawberries for a refreshing breakfast drink.

  9. Maybe you should try adding a tarter apple like a Granny Smith if you want less-sweet apple juice? Maybe Golden Delicious plus a Granny Smith. Or just stick with the lemon for adding some tartness. 🙂

    We just wash the lemon really good and it’s fine to juice the peeling.

  10. My favorite was mango and guava mixed. Yum!

  11. I also enjoy pomegranate juice which in Saudi is called ‘romaan.’ Yumm.

    Has anyone tried peaches?

  12. I make smoothies with frozen fruit and soy milk. I love papaya smoothies with a bit of vanilla and sugar. I do use frozen peaches on occasion. The ginger sounds fabulous for giving a bit of zing to a drink. What is the difference between juice and a smoothy?

    So many drinks in the US are too sweet.

  13. My definition is that juices are always made with natural fruits whereas smoothies may need milk or yogurt added.

  14. Carol, you can’t have sugar, sugar is poison and cancer cells live on sugar. Sugar is also addictive. And, if you cut it out of your diet you will find a simple juiced apple with a slice of Pineapple almost to sweet to bear!
    So that’s one of my favorite lemonades:
    -Two apples and one slice of pineapple in the juicer and top it up with some sparkling water.
    -I also love half a squeezed lime in sparkling water

    My favorite smoothies:
    -Two apples, one inch slice of pineapple, in the juicer, add sliced banana and few tablespoons of yogurt, add a few ice cubes: blend. (I use a hand blender, blends everything and so much easier to clean!)
    You can add blueberries, or strawberries, and if you add strawberries add a small slice of raw beetroot: very healthy and turns your drink into a gorgeous natural pink!

    -This is in my opinion a smoothie as it is sooo smooth, but no ice cream (sugar!!!) or yogurt.
    Two apples, one inch slice of pineapple, one half of lime, peeled, two inches of celery, and you can add spinach or alfalfa, if so pack well and put second apple on top. juice everything. Add half a ripe avocado in slices, and two ice cubes, blend!
    Absolutely divine and packed with nutrients and enzymes, everything your body needs, no need for sugar.

    All ingredients have to be fresh. As soon as food is made to be ”

  15. Something happened…
    When food is preserved all nutrients are taken out. After all otherwise it would not be preserved.
    Preserved ”food” is artifact, not food. Make sure if you order a juice at a juice bar it is made on the spot, right in front of you. Old juices have lost their nutrients. And make sure they don’t use fakes, like syrups, nothing healthy in them and full of poisonous sugar.

  16. PS, ”granny smith” is the one apple you can’t juice. It somehow won’t juice properly.

  17. Aafke – I bet you could create a recipe book with your juice recipes…which I want!!!

    Thanks for the great advice.

  18. Okay. I like carrots juiced with apple or pineapple slices. I always have wheatgrass as it has over 92 known minerals out of the 104 or so that is known. Just drink it alone and down it. Some people like the stuff other don’t but it is excellent for you. You really need a good juicer for wheatgrass or a juicer specific for wheatgrass. Also oranges, dandelions leafs, cherries, parsley, a small bit of celery (I have to be careful with it as it can overkill the drink). Good stuff.

    Aafke is correct in that sugar can fuel cancer. I read where people reversed their cancer on just juicing. Changed their diet completely to raw and juicing.

    I actually do juice fasting two to three times a year for 7 to 10 days each time just to allow the body to heal. I started out for 2 to 3 days then gradually increased the time frame as I became more comfortable with it. I actually did one juice fast for 25 days but I did this only once. I have had the nerve to do this again. I was fortunate that I had a good doctor who worked with me on the finer details of the fast.

    In addition, lots of people don’t know that spirulina is an excellent source of healthy protein.

  19. Oh. Aafke is correct that it needs to be fresh as the enzymes are what you need. The start to die immediately so many books encourage you to drink the juice immediately or within ten minutes of juicing to get the fullest benefits.

    If you have to juice for longer make sure you put it in an airtight container to keep the enzymes from dying but this is not ideal.

  20. The way banana Juice made in Saudi is by blending: bananas + milk + ice cubes. Some like to add sugar. others, including myself, like to add few strawberries.
    The adding milk part is the tricky one, wehre you dont want your banana juice to be too light or too thick.
    Once you get it, the result is heavenly!

  21. The banana juice in Saudi is the best. I think I’ll try to make some and instead of sugar maybe substitute with a little honey. Using some strawberries too sounds delicious!

  22. Thanks to all the great suggestions, I stocked up on ingredients when I went grocery shopping today. I look forward to trying carrot juice, broccoli and ginger!

  23. Let me just say broccoli doesn’t exactly make it taste wonderful, but it’s healthy. 🙂 Carrot and ginger are quite good, but don’t use tons of ginger unless you like a bit of a zing to your juice! Also spinach, carrot and ginger are good and spinach is a bit less harsh-tasting than broccoli and also healthy. (I just tend to find broccoli on sale more than spinach so I use it more.)

    Aafke, thanks for the info about Granny Smith apples. I’d never tried juicing one…was just trying to think of something tart to offset too much sweetness, but the lemon will work fine.

  24. I am very glad to read you are juicing; I’m sure it will be benficial to your health. The difference between juicing and smoothies is the pulp. A smoothie is (or should be) made with the whole fruit blended and all is consumed whereas juice is just the liquid part of the fruit. I like to make thick smoothies and eat them with a spoon. No sweetener is required as fruits are sweet in themselves and can even make greens palatable although we had an unfortunate experience with cabbage in the vitamix.
    There is a very good forum for learning about these things called raw food rehab.

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