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Food & Drink

Your Ultimate Guide to The Best Middle Eastern Food!

When I travel to the Middle East it’s always for one of these two reasons; to live in the middle of skyscrapers in a sea of desert sand, or maybe to enjoy the several delicious local dishes that have made Middle Eastern Food a go-to for comfort meals. 

I found the best Arabic restaurants during my stay, and you guessed it, I was able to enjoy the wholesome, rich, and freshly prepared meal at a reasonable price as well. What’s fascinating about this mouthwatering cuisine to me is that, by tradition, every portion served is enough for a family to feast on, & to have the table adorned only with Middle Eastern salads and the compulsory mezze platter that usually comes with many dishes on the menu.    

I finally understood that the Middle Eastern cuisine is the cherry on top of all Halal cuisines a diner could want. The genuine Arabic and Middle Eastern dishes offer the perfect blend of flavours, colours and beyond a doubt, satisfy the living dream of a food lover.      

So, without further delay, take a look at some of the best middle eastern food you need to try, and comment below and let us know what you think? Or what you would like to try on your next holiday to the Middle East!


Hummus

A creamy and smooth mixture of mashed chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic. Served as a dip with the traditional pita bread and vegetables, it also works when you put it into a burger, or you can have it with a baked potato. Its flavour is mixed with other Arabic dishes as a condiment. This mouthwatering and healthy appetiser which is found in nearly all Middle Eastern restaurants is the best one to start off your food journey because it’s more of a staple dish.     

Foodie Places Near Me – You have to try the Abu Shukri restaurant in the Old City of Jerusalem for some of the best Hummus!  

Food Hack – For more experienced diners having Middle Eastern dishes, you have to ask to put in more garlic to get a flavour of the real, local tang.   

Middle Eastern Food - Hummus

Shawarma

For me, this was an incredibly delightful bundle of tantalising joy. The Arabic version of the Greek gyro with the exclusion of juicy meat which is slow-cooked on a rotating spit conserving the succulence and combining the rustic flavours of smokiness which is the best part in the Middle Eastern variant. This wrap of laffa/hot pita bread packed with smoky meat along with sauces, cream, veggies, and the earthy authentic Arabic spices makes every bite of this Middle Eastern dish very enjoyable.  

Foodie Places Near Me – One place that I think you should try this middle eastern food is the Hashipudia restaurant at 6 Ha-Shikma Street of Jerusalem.   

Food Hack – Shawarma is more commonly found made with either chicken or beef although the traditional option; lamb is a must-try speciality.  

Middle Eastern Food - Shawarma

Baba Ghanouj/ Ghanoush

Found along with the famous hummus on a mezze platter, Baba Ghanouj is frequently described as the best eggplant dish; this is a succulent eggplant dip, and it’s a vegetarian favourite. Although spelt in countless ways, this dip offers similar tastes all across the Middle East with a blend of flavours from roasted eggplant, garlic, Arabian spices, and the famous sesame seed paste – Tahini. Like many dips, Baba Ghanouj is used as a condiment in Middle Eastern food, sharing its nutritious flavour with other dishes on the menu.    

Foodie Places Near Me – I highly recommend that you try out Zest at the One & Only The Palm in Dubai and give this Arabic goodness a try!

Food Hack – When ordering Baba Ghanouj, ask for it to be spiced up with chilli for the real Arabic zing.

Middle Eastern Food - Baba Ghanouj

Halvah

Just like the name suggests, in Arabic, Halvah means a sweet treat and is the most famous Middle Eastern sweet. It’s a lot like a layered cake shaped like a cheese wheel, and the central part of grain-based halvah is gluten like wheat, or semolina, and is spongy in texture, while the main ingredient of nut-based halvah is tahini paste; sesame seeds and sugar. Although the distinctive flavour of plain halvah tastes brilliant, it is often flavoured with pistachio or chocolate.  

Foodie Places Near Me – You should visit the street markets in Jerusalem and Jaffa to try some of the best Halvah.   

Food Hack – Put soft halva on your toast. Because of its intense sweet flavour, it’s best to put it on blander foods such as baguettes, crackers, or biscuits. You can also sprinkle halva over your cereal. It’s easy to add tiny slices or strips of halva into your favourite cereal or add it to your granola.

Middle Eastern Food - Halvah

Baklava

Much like the Greek baklava, this Middle Eastern sweet pronounced as baklawa is made with love and layers of thin sheets of buttery filo dough packed with an assortment of coarsely ground nuts and Arabian spices; unlike the Greek that utilises honey, this blend is made together with sugar syrup and either rose water or orange blossom. With honey drizzled on top, baklava is made in interesting shapes, for example in the shape of birds’ nests, cylinders and triangular are the more common option.

Foodie Places Near Me – Hop by the Karakoy Gulluoglu at Rihtim Cad when you’re in Istanbul to bring some of the best Baklavas home!  

Food Hack – Pistachio and walnut baklava are simple to find, but, look out for the fruity version for an alternate experience that you’ll be glad you had.  

Middle Eastern Food - Baklava

Mansaf

Jordan’s national dish, Mansaf, is culturally meant for feasts and celebratory gatherings. Mansaf in Arabic literally translates to “large tray” and therefore is served as such; enough to cater to a small foodie nation. Chunks of lamb cooked in a broth of Jameed (a variety of cheese made from fermented yoghurt), dressed with yummy yoghurt and garnished with almond and pine nuts are on display placed on a heap of white rice served on an oversized platter of flatbread. Initially a Jordanian dish, Mansaf migrated to Palestine, Iraq and Saudi Arabia to mark its deliciousness.

Foodie Places Near Me – If you happen to be in Amman, Jordan, I suggest the Jabri Restaurant at Wasfi Al-Tal Street.

Food Hack – Customarily Mansaf is eaten utilising your hands while standing around a circular tray. Only the right hand is used to eat Mansaf. Take a bit of lamb, bread and rice to make a ball. Then pop into your mouth in one bite!

Middle Eastern Food - Mansaf

So, buckle up for a flavoursome journey on the Middle Eastern cuisine serving solely satisfying food and leaving you craving more of the Mediterranean delicacies. Out of all the delectable dishes on their menu, try out the dishes listed above on your next visit to the Middle East!

And finally, don’t forget to leave your comments below, and let us know what you would like to try from this list. Doesn’t this get you excited for your next holiday to the Middle East?



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