As flashy and modern as central Manama may be, the basic rhythms of life in the island's many villages (and parts of Manama itself) remain remarkably traditional. Some local women, especially those in the rural areas, cover themselves from head to foot, adhering to religious customs. Those that consider themselves more modern do not, while others will wear only the headscarf, the hejab. A cosmopolitan community, Bahrain does not uphold strict dress codes on its people or their visitors.
Traditional craftwork continues in several places around Bahrain: dhows (fishing boats) and built on the outskirts of Manama and Muharraq, cloth is woven at Bani Jamrah and pottery molded into vessels and planters at A'ali. Goldsmiths still operate in the Manama souk, where the demand for gold and magnificent designs stamped "Made in Bahrain" still flourishes.
One of the mainstays of Bahraini culture is the drinking of traditional Arabian coffee. You won't go far without running into a shop selling coffeepots or a souk offering just that on each corner. Traditional Arabian street foods like shawarma (limb or chicken carved from a huge rotating spit and served in pita bread) and desserts such as baklava are also ubiquitous. Bahrain has a bonanza of Arabic, Indian, Pakistani, Thai and other Asian specialties. Five star hotels and independent restaurants offer a wide array of continental and international cuisine, amidst ambiences that rival any in the world.