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Alcobar: With the lingering smell of freshly fried fish and the enticing aroma of brewed coffee, Alcobar recently welcomed its first seafood festival, just a short walk from the Corniche.
The four-day ticketed event is a family-friendly venue celebrating seafood in all its forms, supported by the Quality of Life Program and the Saudi Culinary Arts Authority.
A wide range of seafood is available from local restaurants, from fish tacos and poke bowls to traditional rice dishes and soups. Families and groups of friends can set up their feast at one of the many communal picnic tables available to enjoy the cool breeze.
With around 30 booths, the festival offers not only food but also educational and entertainment activities. Some booths sell fishing rods and bait and model ships. A booth at the Al-Ferij Museum also offers educational materials on fishing.
“The festival, with the participation of a selection of seafood restaurants, represents a valuable opportunity to explore different flavors from around the world. It aims to showcase the cultural impact of these dishes by highlighting local and global production methods,” festival organizers said in a statement.
A caricaturist is on hand to draw customers, and there are arts and crafts booths, a make-your-own jewelry booth with plenty of pearls and seaweed to create ocean-inspired art.
Audiences will be entertained by DJ sets and live group dances on stage from countries such as Kuwait, New Zealand, Vietnam and Haiti, inspired by Native American fishermen. Kids and adults alike can relax in the bean bags and enjoy the live performances, which last about 20 minutes each.
There are plenty of places to take photos with ocean-inspired art and, if you’re lucky, you might even snap a photo of one of the costumed characters, such as crabs, sea turtles or sharks.
With a seafood-themed children’s play area and workshops and live cooking demonstrations, all things seafood can be easily accessed by walking through the space.
But if you want to have the best of both worlds, you can enjoy the festivities and take some snacks home afterwards.
“It’s shrimp season, so today we have a lot of fresh shrimp for sale – small, medium and jumbo, even super jumbo,” Mustafa Karam of Ghatif-based Kilo Samak told Arab News.
“We’ve cleaned it, packaged it, delivered it straight to your door, or you can pick something up now. We have it in perfect portion sizes, with clear instructions on the package, so you can pick it up from us and prepare it at home in your oven or air fryer at your leisure.” .
This year, one of the company’s proudest achievements was receiving a diploma from the Norwegian Seafood Council, presented by the Norwegian Ambassador to the Kingdom, Thomas Lid Paul, from 2021.
Kilo Samak receives weekly frozen shipments from Norway directly to its base in Qatif and delivers anywhere within the Kingdom. Its most popular product is inspired by the flavors of Morocco, a salmon dish with vegetables. Other products include salmon burgers, salmon sausages and fried shrimp – spicy or regular. It also sells fish and shrimp, whether cleaned or not, breaded or marinated.
“We started five years ago and then started offering these pre-packaged meals. We’ve participated in another local festival before, but this is the first outdoor seafood festival in the fresh air, and honestly, I’m blown away by the crowd and how popular it is. They want to do more of it. I hope they will extend it by days,” Karam added.
The festival ends on December 24. It runs from 5pm to midnight and tickets can be purchased from ticketmx.com for SR20 ($5).