The Arab cuisine is not limited to one country, but it’s an amalgamation of dishes from all over the Arab world. One of the best qualities of Arabic food is that it uses a lot of healthy fats, proteins, grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and of course, spices that give off the most enticing aroma. The distinctive quality of Arab dishes is its adaptability to be paired with everything, and still taste good. Cuisines the world over have imbibed qualities of Arabic food, and seamlessly blended it with their recipes.
8 Arabic Foods That You Must Try!
1. Hummus and pita bread
Let’s start with the hummus and pita bread combination, which is revered the world over by vegetarians as well as meat lovers and is one of the most popular Arabic dishes. Hummus which translates in Arabic to “chickpeas” is the quintessential Middle Eastern food. This dip is made from cooked and mashed chickpeas which is then blended with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic. And although the word “pita” is a Greek term which translates to “flat”, the origins of the pita bread are definitely Arabic!
One of the most popular Arabic dishes includes the grilled haloumi, which are chewy pieces of fresh goat cheese. Originating from the Cyprus region, halloumi is a good cheese for frying or grilling and is an essential ingredient in Arabic salads.
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For a more filling snack, there’s Manakeesh, a pizza-like dish, with toppings of meat or vegetables. Also known as Manakish, this is a variation of the pita bread originating from Lebanon and is a popular breakfast dish there. The toppings for this bread vary – there’s the popular spice mix called “Zaatar” made of dried sumac berries, thyme, oregano, sesame seeds and some salt. Other classic toppings for Manakish include cheese and minced lamb. Now, this is a dish that can be found at restaurants as well as street carts, and locals would tell you that both the versions are delicious. The roadside one might taste a little more authentic and would have bolder flavors than the one served at a high-end restaurant; the choice is yours.
While talking about traditional Arabic food, can shawarma be far behind? Invented in Turkey, this delicacy took up the name “shawarma” meaning “turning” in Arabic. Tender pieces of meat, skewered on grills, rotated and cooked for hours, are mixed with spices and sauces before being filled into waiting Pita bread pockets for a tasty meal. This is undoubtedly one of the most popular snacks of the Arabic world that has found its way into cuisines world-over.
5. Shish tawook
Shish tawook is another one of the popular Arabic dishes that has won the hearts of people all over and is a staple dish for locals and tourists alike. Different places use different kinds of meats and vegetables for grilling on skewers on an open fire. These are served with dips and bread, creating a very satisfactory meal after a long day.
And if you think that Arabic dishes are all about non-vegetarian delights, then you would be sorely mistaken. In fact, there are plenty of amazing and worldwide popular traditional Arabic food that are made wholly from grains and vegetables.
Vegetarian Arabic Food Options
For instance, when looking for a light snack why not try the Tabouleh, a minty fresh, mildly spicy and light-as-air Arabic salad comprising finely chopped parsley, tomatoes, mint, onion, soaked bulgur and seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Again a dish from Lebanon, Tabouleh comes from the Arabic word tabil (“to spice”).
7. Ful Medames
Vegetarians can also try this ancient and nutritious recipe from Egypt – Ful Medames, a sort of thick broth of fava beans, butter, garlic, onions, and other spices. It is one of the most addictive Arabic dishes. People say that you are meant to have it hot, because it lowers your body temperature and keeps you cool when out in the sun. Yogurt based beverages and its use in preparing food also helps to keep sunstroke at bay, at this literally hot destination.
Also Read: Top 10 Reasons to Visit Egypt
8. Baba Ghanoush
Another popular Arabic dish is the Baba Ghanoush, which is certainly not the prettiest looking dip out there, but it sure tastes like heaven. It is made of roasted or baked eggplant, mixed with spices and eaten with fresh bread. Drizzled with a little olive oil, and dusted with some chilli powder, this dish gives your taste buds a mighty jolt for sure. Several variations of the dish are available these days, be it at local restaurants or street vendors.
Arabic dishes are revered the world over, and the best way to taste some of the authentic Arabic food is to plan your next holiday to one of the exotic Arabic countries!