So you’ve decided to visit the Arab region and you’ve been doing your homework on your chosen destination. You know where you are going to go and what you are going to see, and you’ve even planned and booked all your tours. But have you stopped to think about all the mouthwatering food you’re going to eat? Well, if you haven’t, we are here to tell you a little more about what to expect from Arabic cooking and cuisine, because let’s face it, getting to experience the tastes and aromas of a new cuisine is one of the most enjoyable and memorable experiences you can have. Moreover, in order to properly understand a new culture, experiencing its cuisine is a fundamental aspect of getting the most out of your visit.
We are happy to tell you that the food you are going to eat is plentiful and is full of different, delicious options to appeal to every taste. Arabic food is not only irresistibly delicious, but it’s healthy, fresh and extremely wholesome. What’s more, Arabs are well- known for their hospitality and their love for sharing their meals with guests, since food plays a huge role in family and cultural life. That’s right, we absolutely treasure spending time with visitors and loved ones, as we sit at the table and eat and share our meals together.
We’ve rounded up a list of 10 Arabic foods you must try the next time you visit an Arab country:
- Falafel and Hummus
Hummus and falafel go together like ketchup and fries! Falafel is a combination of ground chickpeas, mixed with a variety of spices, then deep fried into mini patty like shapes. These delicious crispy balls are a common street food snack, or can be eaten as a light meal. You can enjoy them on their own or they can be accompanied with bread, or stuffed into sandwiches. Hummus is a thick garlicky chick pea spread that is usually served with warm pita bread. Try hummus with your falafel and you won’t be disappointed.
Manakeesh are warm pizza -like round bread sprinkled with cheese, ground meat or herbs (zaatar) and olive oil. They are absolutely perfect for breakfast or a light snack.
Shawarma consists of tender pieces of aromatic skewered chicken or lamb in a garlic puree and salad, all wrapped into a soft warm pita bread. Shawarma is one of the most popular and beloved snacks all-round the Middle East region.
Common in all Arab countries Kofta are balls of spiced minced lamb or beef with a flavorful onion kick. They are usually served with a distinctive spicy sauce and tahini, (sesame paste). In the Arab region, you’ll find them grilled or fried and served on sticks.
Mansaf is a Jordanian dish served in several Arabic countries. The dish consists of tender mutton, covered in a flavorful and aromatic yogurt sauce and sprinkled with almond and pine nuts, making it a culinary masterpiece that you must experience.
- Maqluba ( Upside – Down)
This popular dish originates from the Levant area , and is composed of meat, rice, and fried vegetables placed in a vessel, which is then flipped upside down when served, hence, the name Maqluba, which translates literally as “upside-down”. Maqluba is best described as a heavenly meal and is sure to please meat and rice lovers everywhere.
This popular dish, also known as Dolma is comprised of stuffed vegetables such as zucchini, vine leaves, onions and Eggplant. The vegetables are stuffed with spiced rice and minced lamb or beef and are then slow- cooked until soft and juicy.
This Levantine dish is a favorite among tourists visiting the Middle East. Kibbeh can be made with different types of meat, although it is more commonly made with ground beef, onions and bulgur wheat. The ingredients are mixed together and fried in order to make a small beef cake that is unbelievably tasty.
This is one of the most popular Arabic desserts and almost any Arab will tell you how good it is. It’s a rich, sweet dessert made of layers of filo filled with chopped nuts and sweetened and held together with syrup or honey. Sticky, sweet and absolutely delightful, you’re in for a real treat!
Kanafah is a unique dessert with an interesting combination of ingredients and textures that make it a real comfort food. This dessert is popular with Arabs, especially throughout the Levant. Goat’s cheese is the most prominent of ingredients in kanafeh, which is then combined with semolina and then soaked in sticky rose scented syrup, and crowned with a pinch of ground pistachios. Have a piece of Kanafah because you won’t regret it!
Happy eating everyone!