Food / FYI / Health

The (un)Official Snack of Saudi Arabia

The (un)Official Snack Food of Saudi Arabia

Concession Stand - Sultan Mall Jeddah, KSA

No mall or open marketplace is complete without a concession stand or wooden push cart full of fresh corn.  I initially thought that a “cup o’ corn” as a snack food was the silliest notion ever and was tickled pink watching people line up to buy some. I was not tempted to join them in the least.

Time went by…

Travelling on a lonely road to Madeenah…scenic view, beautiful mountains, camels and… A CORN STAND?! Are you kidding me?

More time goes by…

Running errands, a bit hungry… I gave in. “One cup o’ corn please.” Fresh, hot and seasoned to perfection. The verdict is in: Corn – it really IS that good.

Did You Know?


  • The high amount of fiber present in corn helps lower cholesterol levels and also reduces the risk of colon cancer.
  • Corn, if consumed in moderate quantities, is beneficial for those suffering from diabetes.
  • Being rich in folate, corn helps the generation of new cells, especially important before and during pregnancy.
  • Those suffering from anemia have shown positive effects after consuming corn.
  • The Pantothenic acid present in corn helps with the physiological functions of the body.
  • Owing to the presence of thiamin, corn have been said to help in the metabolism of carbohydrates.
  • Corn has been found to be helpful in treating kidney problems, including renal dysfunction.
  • Regular consumption of corn, in moderate quantities, has been associated with better cardiovascular health.
  • The beta-cryptoxanthin in corn makes it good for the health of the lungs and may even help prevent lung cancer.
  • The insoluble fiber in corn makes it good for those suffering from common digestive ailments, like constipation and hemorrhoids.

More corn please :)

13 thoughts on “The (un)Official Snack of Saudi Arabia

  1. As salaamu alaykum and LOL Sister!

    I had the EXACT same thoughts about the corn in a cup when I arrived here, mashaa’Allah. I just haven’t been here long enough to end up trying any. Perhaps when hunger and opportune timing comes along, I too will be singing it’s praises. Every time I pass a corn in a cup stall in the mall or supermarket, I cannot suppress my smile. Now I’m wondering how good that “seasoned to perfection” corn can taste!

  2. It is the same in the U.A.E.
    I thought to myself I would never. Well now….lets just say I have a few favorite flavors!

  3. A few favorite flavors, whoa! (Smiles). This stuff is seriously delectable (and profitable)….

    *
    Nelson Kwok Teng Toong, founder of Nelson’s Franchise that boasts of originating the corn in a cup concept in Malaysia, first ventured into the retail business in 1985. He started out by operating a toy shop, selling household goods and the popular corn-on-the-cob under its former name, Nelson’s Connection. However, Nelson decided to restructure and create a franchise for his business when his corn trade flourished and overshadowed his other retail businesses. In 1995, the first franchise outlet was launched in Penang.

    As of today, there are 600 Nelson’s outlets around the world, a tenth of which are in Malaysia, with 2 corn processing plans in Perak and Kota Kinabalu. Overseas, the brand is established in more than 180 locations across Brunei, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Middle East. Nelson’s is now venturing into the United Arab Emirates through the signing of a master franchise agreement with Huwaila General Trading Company, U.E.A.

    Franchise opportunity – For those who dream of owning a franchise business, here’s a piece of good news, the opportunity is now made available. With a low capital investment and no special skills needed, all one has to do is manage an outlet that has a simple operation. Better still, most outlet owners can expect to experience a return of investment in less than a year.

    Moreover, franchisees are assured of a strategic location with Nelson’s, at most of the hypermarket and departmental stores such as Tesco, Jusco, Giant, Carrefour and Mydin. By owning highly attractive and brightly coloured designed kiosks that are easy to assemble or disassemble, one can reduce the cost and difficulty of relocating to a new venue. Franchisee will also be allowed to innovate and introduce new products in their outlets.

    Achievements – Over the years, besides being blessed with a blossoming franchise business, Nelson’s has also been continously showered with awards. The first award arrived in 1997, when Nelson’s was awarded with the title of ‘Most Promising Franchisee’ award followed by the ‘Franchise of the Year’ award and ‘Home Grown Franchise’ award the following year. For the next 2 consecutive years, Nelson’s bagged the ‘Outstanding Franchisee’ award. The latest award to add to the growing list is the ‘Most Number of Overseas Outlets for Malaysian Franchise’ in the year 2006.

    Awards aside, Nelson’s recently signed and appointed as one of the 8 main sponsors of the Global Village, which is part of the events organised in conjunction with the annual Dubai Shopping Festival. A lofty figure, RM1 million was paid to secure the exclusive rights for Nelson’s to set up 16 completely knock-down kiosks spread across the grounds.
    *
    I’m sharing this link as an FYI. Enter the venture at your own risk.

  4. as salaamu alaykum,

    Another one who has seen it in the UAE. I thought it was unusual, haven’t tried it yet.

    Thanks for the corn health tips! Didn’t realize it was so beneficial.

  5. wa alaykumus salaam,

    subhaanaAllaah, I thought the same thing when I saw a stand last summer on the main road in my area!!! I’m sorry to say that I didn’t try it even though I love corn on the cob.

  6. as-salaamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuh,

    I see these stands everywhere in Riyadh as well. It is similar to the Mexican “Copa de Elote” (Cup of Corn) except that once the corn is boiled and skinned in the cup we (Mexicans) add mayo, chile powder, and cheese. Its an accquired taste for the non-Mexican but one you will get used to.

    I haven’t tried the corn cups here but now I think I will go for one at lunch inshaAllah.

  7. i noticed more and more here in the states corn, especially frozed corn, saying “sweet” or “super sweet”.
    I was suspicious. Unfortunately i heard on NPR the other day that the common corn now found at all stores is sweet because it has been GENITICALLY MODIFIED to contain almost no starch. I am not comfortable with anyone messing with crops, Allah made them fine the way they are. Apparantly it’s practically impossible to get corn the way it was even with the “organic” farmer because the whole crops been changed so wouldn’t help even if i grew my own. No need for splicing or changing, there are natural remedies for everything including keeping bugs away.

    So, if the corn has very little starch and has been changed what if any, benefit or nutrition is there to it?

    Umm Sakina

  8. lol yes you are right this style of snack is from Malaysia, this sweetcorn is special because they are Non Cut Kernel Frozen Sweercorn, usually in Malaysia we only put butter and salt. actually it is better than mexican style, coz the mexican style they cut the kernel of sweetcorn.

    i know some information about sweetcorn, im sweetcorn supplier in Malaysia :)

    http://www.facebook.com/tropicaseeds

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