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10 Famous Middle Eastern Foods

Author:

I am Hina; and I am a highly personalized writer. I like to put a lot of my emotions, experiences and opinions into what I write.

Middle Eastern Cuisine:

10-famous-middle-eastern-foods

The cuisine of any region in the world deeply reflects its culture and has a deep impact on the fabric of its tradition. For the past few years, the Middle Eastern cuisine has gained immense popularity and recognition worldwide.

Although it is boldly stated that the Middle Eastern cuisine overlaps greatly with the Mediterranean cuisine, but the former still stands out with its uniqueness based on the special herbs and freshness which makes it a great choice for healthy food lovers.

Following is a list of the most popular food items of all times in the Gulf region and their taste is so surreal and savory that will make you lick your fingers!

1. Hummus

What a feast for eyes and tummy!

What a feast for eyes and tummy!

The rough equivalent of chickpea spread; hummus never fails to serve as the best dip ever. This quintessential Middle Eastern spread is made from mashed chickpeas, blended with garlic, lemon juice and tahini and further spiced up with olive oil, whole chickpeas, parsley and paprika.

My personal preference is to have it with pita bread or “khubs” (traditional Arabian bread) but I believe it is a perfect companion to be served with a large variety of savory items like vegies, falafel, broast and the list goes on!

2. Falafel

Golden, crispy and tasty falafel balls.

Golden, crispy and tasty falafel balls.

Ever heard of fritters made from ground chickpeas and fava beans? Oh yes! You guessed it quite right, I am talking of none other than falafel. In the Middle Eastern Gulf countries these serve as the best street food. Spiced with some herbs, these golden crispy savory balls are a perfect snack to munch on.

So, next time order a falafel sandwich, while roaming in the bustling bazars of the city and I bet you won’t regret! The sandwich is often wrapped in pita with pickles, vegetables and drooling tahini sauce.

3. Tahini

10-famous-middle-eastern-foods

Tahini is a condiment made from roasted sesame seeds. The tasty tahini paste is a staple ingredient not only of the Middle Eastern but Mediterranean cuisine. I enjoyed a fair share of it when I lived in Saudi Arabia. It also serves as a major ingredient of hummus and halva and also used as a flavor enhancer in shawarma and falafel rolls.

4. Za'atar Bread:

The aroma of freshly baked Za'atar bead is believe me so mouth-watering that you won't be able to resist.

The aroma of freshly baked Za'atar bead is believe me so mouth-watering that you won't be able to resist.

Za’atar is an aromatic mixture of various herbs like oregano, thyme and roasted cumin. Passing by a local bakery in any Middle Eastern country, you won’t miss to fall for the heavenly aroma of the freshly baked za’atar bread. Taste it first and thank me later!

5. Kunafeh:

Sooo cheesy and sweet. Isn't it?

Sooo cheesy and sweet. Isn't it?

Let’s talk about sweet dishes and when it comes to Middle Eastern desserts, Kunafeh is the only name that rings my ears first.

This mouth-watering delicacy is a sweet mixture of vermicelli, ricotta cheese and nuts with additional topping of clotted cream or nuts e.g. The Turkish kunafeh will have a rich addition of pistachio. In Saudi Arabia the kunafeh of Saadeddin Pastry never failed to satisfy my sweet tooth.

6. Shawarma:

Sumptuous meat grilled on skewers in the food streets is so surreal!

Sumptuous meat grilled on skewers in the food streets is so surreal!

The eye-catching sight chicken grilled on a skewer is common in the food streets of almost all Middle Eastern countries. Wrapped in pita bread and spiced with pickles, fries and rich creamy sauces with aromatic herbs, the succulent chicken shawarma is the best treat for your roaring appetite.

It is indeed accredited to be the most loved delicacy among all other street foods and you won’t resist the divine taste once you get your hands on it. Surely, it is a must to have!

7. Tabouleh:

Famous wheat and herb salad of Arabian meze

Famous wheat and herb salad of Arabian meze

Tabouleh salad is indeed a must to find food item in the mezze (appetizers) in the menus of all famous food centers in the Middle East. The salad is made with fresh, finely chopped parsley, tomatoes, mint, onions, bulgur and seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice and sweet pepper. This refreshing salad is a delightful treat both to your sight and taste buds. It is rich in nutrients and equally satisfying!

8. Baklava:

A heavenly treat for your sweet tooth!

A heavenly treat for your sweet tooth!

This classic dessert has been on the hit list of Arabian cuisine since the Ottoman reign. Baklava is traditionally made with sheets of filo dough and layered with coarsely chopped nuts (hazelnuts, walnuts, or almonds) and enriched with honey or sugar syrup. Baklava is the most served dessert in all formal and non-formal gatherings.

9. Dolma:

10-famous-middle-eastern-foods

Dolma or stuffed vine-leaves is yet another culinary legacy of the Great Ottoman Empire. Dolma are served in a variety of ways, both warm or cold and the stuffing also varies from sumptuous meat to rice seasoned with garlic and olive oil and minimal herbs. The leaves even after they are boiled, retain the lingering wine-like taste.

10. Mandi:

10-famous-middle-eastern-foods

Mandi, basically a Yemeni dish, has now become a staple dish of many Arab countries. It is actually the most sought-after Arabic rice dish. Mandi is traditionally cooked in a tandoor, which gives it a dewy texture and is served with rice with resins and nuts. Mandi serves as the main dish in the coarse meal during special events like weddings and feasts.

© 2021 Hina Waqar

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