6 culinary delights that originated in the Middle East

DDiana October 1, 2023 5:21 PM

If you're someone with an adventurous palate, then the rich and diverse flavors of Middle Eastern cuisine must have piqued your interest. For the uninitiated, Middle Eastern cuisine is a melting pot of numerous cultures, traditions, and histories. Each dish tells a unique story of its origin and the people behind it. In this article, we'll explore six culinary delights that originated in the Middle East.


Hummus is a staple in many Middle Eastern diets. This delicious and nutritious dip is made from cooked, mashed chickpeas, blended with tahini, lemon juice, and garlic. It's believed to have originated in ancient Egypt, and has been a part of the Middle Eastern culinary culture for centuries.


When it comes to Middle Eastern street food, falafel certainly tops the list. These deep-fried balls or patties made from ground chickpeas or fava beans have won hearts worldwide. They are a popular fast food in the Middle East and are now loved in many parts of the world.


Tabbouleh is a refreshing salad that originated from the mountains of Syria and Lebanon. It's a healthy mix of finely chopped parsley, tomatoes, mint, onion, bulgur (cracked wheat), and seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.


Shawarma is a dish that needs no introduction. This Middle Eastern delicacy consists of thinly sliced cuts of meat, like chicken, beef, goat, lamb, and sometimes turkey, rolled into a large piece of flatbread or pita. The meat is marinated for up to 24 hours with a mix of delicious spices, then slowly roasted on a vertical spit.


Baklava is a rich, sweet pastry made of layers of filo filled with chopped nuts, sweetened and held together with syrup or honey. This dessert has a long history in the Middle East and is popular throughout the region.


Last but not least, Dolma is a family of stuffed vegetable dishes that originated in the Ottoman Empire, but are now enjoyed throughout the Middle East. These are delicious, bite-sized treats, typically made by hollowing out vegetables like peppers, tomatoes, or eggplants, and stuffing them with a mixture of rice, meat, and spices.

Dish Origin
Hummus Egypt
Falafel Egypt
Tabbouleh Syria, Lebanon
Shawarma Middle East
Baklava Middle East
Dolma Ottoman Empire

These dishes only scratch the surface of the Middle Eastern culinary delights available. With a cuisine so vast and diverse, there are plenty more dishes to explore, each with its unique taste and story.

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