“We’ve also had formal, sit-down dinners. I say formal, it would be the Saudi military as well as the U.S. military. In Jordan they’re called, the typical dinner is called ‘mansaf,’ in Saudi it’s ‘kabsa.’ And it could be some type of grilled meat and rice, and usually big plates, and it’s communal and you just sit on the floor and you’re all eating with your hands. Of course there they expect you to sit on your left hand and only use your right hand. And prior to eating there’ll be a long period of drinking coffee, drinking tea, eating dates. It’s like nine o’clock, it’s like ten o’clock, it’s like, ‘When’s this thing going to start? I want to go home and go to bed.’ Then they bring out the food, and then you eat. And it’s not like in the States where you eat and afterward you have coffee or drinks and sit around and chit-chat. No, the senior commander gets up when he’s done, that’s the clue. It doesn’t matter if you’re done or not, you stand up and everybody walks out. So it’s kind of the reverse of our social gatherings where we might mingle a little bit, and then we eat, and then we have a long period of mingling interaction. All their interaction is up front, and the finale is the eating and boom, you take off. So, it’s a lot different.”
In this video, a Saudi Arabia expert discusses formal dinners in Saudi Arabia.