The unique tapestry of flavours, scents and customs that make up Middle Eastern food has been stitched together over many generations. Middle Eastern cuisine reflects the region's many cultures, history, and landscapes, from Marrakesh's thriving markets to Jerusalem's historic streets.
Read on for a tour through Middle Eastern food, learning about everyday dishes and showcasing a well-known meal that has captured the attention of diners worldwide.
Every Middle Eastern country is famous for its main course. Here are the most common picks:
Palestinian culture has a dish called Musakhan, well-known for its exceptional ingredients and rich flavour. Olive oil is central to this recipe and is a significant symbol in Palestine's cultural landscape because of the many olive trees there. This dish represents not only delicious food but also embodies the concept of Sumud, which is about the steadfastness and resilience of the Palestinian people.
Although geographically located in North Africa, Egypt has stronger cultural ties with the Middle East. One example of the country's famous dishes is Kushari, a staple in Egyptian cuisine. It's a tasty and hearty dish that combines mixed rice, macaroni, and lentils, topped with crispy fried onions, chickpeas, and a spicy sauce. Kushari embodies the unique food heritage of Egypt, offering a mix of flavours and textures that will satisfy your taste buds.
Mansaf is a traditional lamb dish from Jordan often served at special occasions like weddings, graduations, and baby showers. It's made with fermented yoghurt sauce and pine nuts and can be served over rice or bulgur. Jordanians consider it their national food, known for its rich and filling taste.
Lamb tagine is a delectable dish with tender lamb pieces flavoured with sweet and aromatic spices. This juicy lamb is served on a bed of couscous, which is another popular Moroccan dish. Couscous is a yellow grain that resembles basmati rice, sometimes leading people to mistake this dish for kabsa.
Bukhari rice is a delicious speciality famous in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf. It has a peppery taste and a strong aroma, making it very delicious. Although it is considered the national dish of Saudi Arabia, it is also a staple lunch in Afghanistan and a popular Middle Eastern meal.
Börek is a traditional Turkish dish made from thin pastry dough that has existed for a long time. It is commonly served at special events and is versatile since it can be made with different ingredients and preparation methods to match various tastes and preferences. This dish offers endless possibilities for creativity.
This dish from Iraq is an excellent example of hospitality and tradition. It involves stuffing vegetables and grape leaves with a delicious blend of flavours. It's a skillful preparation that showcases the local culinary expertise.
Although several Middle Eastern dishes were created in particular Arab countries, some have become popular and are consumed across the region. These dishes are now among the most well-known and beloved foods on any Arab dining table. Here are a few examples of famous Middle Eastern dishes:
A refreshing salad made with finely chopped parsley, tomatoes, mint, onion, and soaked bulgur, dressed with olive oil and lemon juice.
In Middle Eastern cooking, condiments and dipping sauces are indispensable. They are served with as many items as possible on the side. They can also be used as appetisers, where guests can dip bread pieces into the sauce and nibble on a tasty treat before their main dish is ready. Middle Eastern cuisine is often accompanied by various sauces, such as baba ghanoush, tahini, and hummus.
Made from ground chickpeas or fava beans, falafel is a famous street snack in the Middle East that is crisp on the exterior and tender on the inside. These deep-fried balls are usually eaten with tahini sauce and wrapped in pita bread.
A popular street meal from the Middle East, shawarma is a spit-roasted chicken or meat dish. It's thinly sliced, frequently wrapped in flatbread, and served with pickles, tahini, and garlic sauce, among other things.
A wide variety of kebabs, made with grilled or skewered meats such as lamb, chicken, or cattle, are served in Middle Eastern cuisine. Thanks to the diverse marinades and spices used throughout the area, every kebab has a unique flavour.
Middle Eastern cuisine is a true feast for the senses, embodying the essence of community, culture, and culinary expertise. At Ibn Battuta Mall, visitors can indulge in this culinary celebration, providing a fitting conclusion to any exploration of the rich and culturally significant region.
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