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Updated by Joanna James on Sep 13, 2018
Headline for Best Middle Eastern Foods - Middle Eastern Food is so much more than Chickpea Based Hummus
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Joanna James Joanna James
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Best Middle Eastern Foods - Middle Eastern Food is so much more than Chickpea Based Hummus

Whether you are a carnivore or a vegetable lover, Middle Eastern cuisine will tantalise your tastebuds. From market stalls to high class restaurants, there are many opportunities to savour them.

1

Arayes

Arayes are a common street food throughout the Middle East. Toasted Arabic bread is stuffed with a mixture of minced lamb, onion, spices and tomato to create a heavenly sandwich. The running joke is that the name comes from the word "bride" because the dish is simply gorgeous. While this is a dish that can mainly be found in market places and households, it is even found in certain restaurants in resorts in Abu Dhabi such as the Al Shams in the Anantara Sir Bani Yas Island Al Yamm Villa Resort.

2

Shakshuka

The current 'It' brunch dish, Shakshuka is quite simply eggs poached in spices and tomato sauce. The dish's name comes from an Arabic word meaning 'all shaken up' which rather aptly describes its appearance. The savoury tang of the tomato sauce mixed with hearty beans and runny yolk makes this dish is a strong contender against Eggs Benedict at the brunch table.

3

Tabouleh

Currently sweeping the salad world by storm, tabouleh is a refreshing mixture of bulgur, onion, tomatoes, parsley and mint. In the Middle East, it often makes an appearance as part of a mezze. Who knew healthy food could taste so good?

4

Shish Tawook

Simply grilling a marinaded chicken and serving it with pure garlic paste, sides of fries and Arabic bread make a mouthwatering dish. The secret behind the delectably soft chicken is the yoghurt marinade. Luckily you would not have to look far for Shish Tawook, it generally makes its way onto most Middle Eastern menus due to its enduring popularity.

5

Falafel

This crunchy deep fried vegetarian dish is traditionally made of chickpeas or fava beans and spices. It can be eaten alone or served in a pita or flat bread along with salads, pickled vegetables, hot sauce and an alluring tahini sauce.The combination of crunchiness and the nutty taste will have you returning for more.

6

Mansaf

Mansaf is a dish that oozes decadence which explains why it is a traditional dish at celebrations. Fresh lamb is cooked in a unique dried and fermented yoghurt sauce called Jameed, layered over a bed of rice or bulgur and topped with nuts and a thin layer of tortilla like bread called Shrak. The dish is served on a Bedouin style platter and is traditionally eaten by rolling the Mansaf into a ball by hand, making the dish tasty and fun to eat!

7

Baklava

For those with a sweet tooth, this treat made of layers of filo pastry, finely chopped nuts and honey should not be missed. Widely enjoyed across the Middle East, you are likely to find this sweet in a variety of shapes. One taste of this delicious concoction will make you understand why a recipe from the Ottoman Empire is still popular today.