One of my favorite things to do is try new food. When I was in Washington D.C. a few weeks ago, I decided to go to a Lebanese restaurant for lunch. I’ve never been to a traditional Lebanese restaurant before, so this was a completely new experience. I was pleasantly surprised by the delicious taste throughout my entire meal. After eating at this restaurant, I began thinking about other traditional foods in the Middle East. Since I’m not too familiar with their favorite foods, I started to do some research. Here are 10 of CNN Travel’s top 20 foods in the Middle East.
Many of us are probably familiar with this chickpea spread, as it’s becoming more popular in America as well. In the Middle East, they spread hummus on anything from a burger to a potato, but traditionally, hummus is spread on hot pita bread.
This is the Middle East’s version of pizza and is often eaten during breakfast or lunch. Manakeesh is a round bread spread with cheese, ground meat or herbs.
These are mini, chewy slabs made from goat and sheep milk. The cheese inside is made with no bacteria or acid, as many cheeses are, so you can imagine how amazing this one is.
As the saying goes, don’t judge a book by its cover. The look of the foul meddamas is deceiving. It looks like a brown mush and is made of fava beans, olive oil, parsley, onion, garlic and lemon. It’s delicious once you give it a chance.
This is a Middle Eastern tradition made of fried chickpeas and herbs. Falafel is a must when adding to your list of foods you may want to experience.
This one is a salad made with bulgur, parsley, mint, onions and tomatoes. For any vegetarians out there, this is a great option for you.
This is a dip similar to humus. It’s a similar consistency to humus, but it’s also made with eggplant to give it an extra kick. It can also be made with chili to add extra flavor.
Fattoush is another salad you’ll want to try. It’s made of crispy lettuce, crunchy fried squares of pita, diced tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, garlic, lemon, olive oil and mint.
Umm ali is an Egyptian bread pudding that consists of a pastry cooked in milk and cream. Raisins, pistachios and vanilla can be added for extra flavor.
This one is definitely top on my list to try. It’s made with cow or sheep milk cheese and rolled in zaatar herbs or chili flakes. It can also be enjoyed with diced tomato, onion and olive oil. Count me in!
An important part of learning other cultures is trying their foods. Expand your horizons and try something that you could never have imagined yourself eating before. What Middle Eastern foods have you tried before and how did you like them?