Food of the Middle East - Middle Eastern Cuisine

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Middle Eastern Cuisine

Middle East

Middle Eastern food is rich, tangy, hot, sweet, and spicy. The food is a blend of African, European, North American, and local food. Wheat actually originated in the Middle East and was first grown there. The staple foods are pomegranates, barley, wheat, pistachios, dates, and figs. Chicken, fruits, and rice were introduced by the Persians during the Persian Empire. Arabs brought ingredients such as dates, figs, and nuts. Indians incorporated spices such as cumin, garlic, and turmeric into Middle Eastern recipes. The Mongols introduced dumplings. Black pepper and cloves were brought from the Spice Islands, while tomatoes came from North America. Okra was brought to the Middle East from African countries, and the Turks introduced desserts and pastries. But different countries were not the only ones who contributed to Middle Eastern cuisine. Religion had a major influence as well. Lamb and chicken became the primary meats in the Middle East since pork is not consumed by Muslims and Jews. Also wine is not popular because the Quran forbids the consumption of alcohol. Food in the Middle East is not complete without hummus, which is a spread made from garbanzo beans. Another popular food is tahini, a paste made ground sesame seeds. It is used to make a dish called baba ghanoush. Baba ghanoush is a famous dish that consists of eggplants, garlic, vinegar, lemon juice, and tahini. Coffee is also indispensable in the Middle East and is frequently consumed.

United Arab Emirates

The food of the United Arab Emirates has been strongly influenced by Morocco, Lebanon and Iran. There are many different types of food that are imported, but many of them are also locally made. The food of the Middle East and Arabic foods tend to be the dominant style in the entire region and most of the restaurants in the United Arab Emirates choose to serve Lebanese dishes. It can be hard to find restaurants that serve real Emirati dishes, but the food is full of all kinds of delicacies.

Ghuzi - popular dish in the United Arab Emirates

Tzimmes - popular dish in Israel


The most popular dishes in Israel are often very simple. The common lunch in this country might consist of shnitzel that includes different kinds of salads on the side and is served with mashed potatoes or rice and vegetables. For a full dinner, there is soup and a main dish containing lamb or chicken. For dessert, a Middle Eastern pastry such as baklava or fresh fruit may be eaten.


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