The reading passage below is a restaurant menu containing popular food items in the Arab world. If you have been studying Arabic for more than three months, this reading passage is generally suitable for you.
I recommend this passage for any mid to advanced beginners. The goal is to expose you to Arabic writing that you are very likely to encounter in real life and the mastery of which will help you as a survival skill (ordering food).
Regardless of how advanced your Arabic is, do not be surprised if you have difficulty understanding some words in this food menu. Unfortunately a lot of Arabic teaching materials ignore the importance of knowing popular Arabic food items, leading to minimal to no exposure.
Use this text as a learning opportunity and don’t get discouraged if you find it a bit difficult. If it’s too easy, you may want to look up additional Arabic reading practice passages available on this site under the ILR level 2 passages.
For the sake of this reading exercise, let’s suppose you are in an Arab country and you and your friends are starving after a long day of touring the city of Beirut or Cairo. The waiter, who only speaks Arabic, presents you this menu:
Table of Contents
Tips for reading Arabic :
Use what you know to understand what you don’t know. Rely on the context first before resorting to a dictionary.
Use cognates to increase your understanding of the text. For instance, you will encounter تليفون /tilifoon/ meaning telephone. Arabic text can contain a bunch of cognates. Use them to your advantage.
Read the text more than once before you start taking a stab at the questions.
The key is to look at the text holistically as you look for clues to understand it. If you are still finding it hard, look up the words on an Arabic-English dictionary. If you don’t have one, I recommend Hans Wher, hands-down the best Arabic-English dictionary in terms of value and size. Al-Mawrid Al-Wasit is the best dictionnary out there but it is a bit bulky and inconvenient to carry around. However, it offers both Arabic-English and English-Arabic dictionaries in one.
The answer key is available at the bottom of this page.
The Arabic Reading Passage:
مفتوح يوميا من الساعة العاشرة صباحا إلى العاشرة مساء
|عَصير بُرتُقال طازِج
|عَصير تُفاح طازِج
|عصير رُمان طازِج
|عصير عِنَب طازِج
|طبق مُشكّل (٣ خيارات فقط)
|شاوَرما لَحم البَقَر
|صَحن شاوَرما لَحم البَقَر (مَعَ أَرُز أَو بَطاطِس مَقلِيّة)
|صَحن شَاوَرما دَجاج (مَعَ أَرُز أَو بَطاطِس مَقلية)
|صَحن فَلافِل(مَعَ أَرُز أَو بَطاطِس مَقليّة)
|جيلاتو( فُستُق او فَراولَة او مانجو)
|سوربي ( مانجو او فَراولَة )
- What are the opening hours of the restaurant:
- a- 11 AM to 11 PM
- b- 9 AM to 9 PM
- c- 10 AM to 10 PM
- d- 12 PM to 12 AM
- Which juice is not included in the menu:
- a- Apple
- b- Carrots
- c- Pomegranate
- d- Grapes
- This restaurant is Lebanese:
- What is the least expensive sandwich item:
- a. Falafel
- b. Chicken
- c. Beef
- What are the three available flavors of Ice cream?
- a. Mango, pistachios and strawberry
- b. Mango, orange and strawberry
- c. Peach, pistachios and strawberry
Ground meat: كفتة او لحم مفروم
Orange : برتقال
Beef : لحم البقر
Fresh : طازج
For more reading practice and exercises, I recommend Arabic Stories for Language Learners . To expand your vocabulary, you may consider getting the Arabic Vocabulary workbook and practice regularly for a few weeks.