Top 20 Lebanese Foods

I started out compiling a top-10 list but the list very quickly doubled in size... Lebanese food is healthy and mouth-wateringly delicious... All over Europe they eat the stupid Turkish "Duner" and "Kebab" when they have never tasted the mouth-watering Lebanese Shawarma... One of the few happy memories I have from my 22 years of living in Lebanon is the food...

1. Hummus - that world-famous chickpea+tahini paste concoction that has conquered the world...

2. Beef and Chicken Shawarma - The beef shawarma is served with Tahini sauce and the Chicken shawarma is served with the famous Lebanese garlic sauce. Turkish doner kebab and Greek gyros is garabage compared to Lebanese shawarma

3. Falafel: made from gound chickpeas with onions, garlic, parsley, corriander, cumin and black papper... delicious with tahini sauce

4. Pita Bread aka Arabic Bread

5. Tahini Sauce - based on sesame paste, this sauce goes so well with falafel, beef shawarma and fried fish

6. Manaeesh - that simple and iconic breakfast, made from dough and thyme paste or cheese. Creative variations with Ashta and Sujuk

7. Sujuk and Maqaneq (Lebanese Sausages)

8. Knefeh (Sweet breakfast) - made from a special pastry dough, cheese and sugar syrup flavored with rose extract...

9. Foul Moudammas and Balila for Breakfast, Foul is boiled fava beans and balila is boiled chickpeas with garlic, olive oil and lemon juice...

10. Labneh - the traditional strained yoghurt breakfast. Exotic variations include the Labneh Ma3ez made from Goat milk which is amazingly tangy and tasty

11. Tabbouleh - the traditional parsley based salad

12. Lahmeh Mishweh (grilled meat cubes from beef or lamb) with lamb fat

13. Kafta Mishweh (a delicious spiced up grilled minced meat) with parsley and onions

14. Sayyediyyeh (Delicious Fish and Rice with a special sauce)

15. Fried Sardines - amazingly delicious

16. Fatteh (a delicious soup made from lamb leg stock, chickpeas, lemon and garlic)

17. Mfat'ah: an unbelievably delicious Western Beiruty desert that is made with tahini paste, sugar, rice and a yellow spice (3a2deh Safra)

18. Mediterranean Fried Fish (Dakar jarbideh is amazingly delicious), Mwastah, Ghobbos, Sultan Ibrahim and Lukkoz are some very delicious varieties of Mediterranean fish.

19. Ka3ek - An amazingly delicious street bread that is sold around Beirut with a carefully guarded recipe... it is good with Sumac spice or Thyme or even a processed cheese like Picon or Kiri...

20. Shankleesh: the only cheese that is typically Lebanese and spicy... Douse it with olive oil, and it is finger-licking good...

21. Warak Areesh : These are the all famous grape leaves stuffied with minced beef and spices and rice... they are rolled up and boiled in a lamb-feet stock... they are finger-lickingly delicious !!!

22. Kibbeh: very famous dish made from minced beef and "bulgur" - crushed wheat...

23. Kibbeh Nayyeh: same as above but eated raw with onions and olive oil on top... with a glass of Arak !!!! mmmmm...

24: Kibbeh Batata: same as above but veggie version made with potatoes and filled with sauteed cabbage, carrots, onions, walnuts and raisins...

25. Ashta Báasal: a heavenly desert made with rose-essence flavored cream and honey and pine-nuts

26. Lahmeh B'aajeen: a pizza like creation topped with minced meat with tomatoes and onions and special spices

I hope you have the chance to taste the items in this list. Please email me your favorite Lebanese or Middle Eastern food for inclusion in this list.

Bon Apetit !!!


Rami E. Kremesti M.Sc.

last updated April 22, 2011