Introduction: Syrian cuisine
Syrian cuisine is known for its rich flavors, unique spices, and diverse ingredients. It is influenced by Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, and Turkish cuisines, and offers a wide variety of dishes that cater to different tastes and dietary needs. Syrian cuisine is also steeped in history, with many recipes being passed down through generations.
Appetizers: Meze and pastries
Meze is a popular style of dining in Syria, where small dishes are shared among the diners. Meze typically includes a variety of dips such as hummus, baba ghanoush, and tzatziki, as well as stuffed grape leaves, olives, and pickled vegetables. Syrian pastries, such as sambousek and fatayer, are also popular appetizers. Sambousek are small pastries filled with meat, cheese, or vegetables, while fatayer are triangular pies filled with spinach, cheese, or meat.
Main dishes: Kebabs, stews, and rice
Kebabs are a staple of Syrian cuisine, with both meat and vegetable options available. The most popular meat kebab is shish taouk, which is marinated chicken skewered and grilled. Other popular kebabs include kofta (ground meat skewers) and shawarma (thinly sliced meat cooked on a rotisserie). Stews, such as bamieh (okra stew) and fasoulia (green bean stew), are also common main dishes. Syrian rice dishes, such as kabsa and mujadara, are flavorful and often spiced with cinnamon, cardamom, and other spices.
Vegetarian options: Fattoush and muhammara
Fattoush is a refreshing salad made with mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, and crispy pita chips. The salad is dressed with a tangy sumac dressing and often includes herbs such as parsley and mint. Muhammara is a dip made from roasted red peppers, walnuts, and pomegranate molasses. It is typically served with pita bread or as a topping for grilled meats.
Desserts: Baklava and semolina pudding
Baklava is a sweet pastry made with layers of phyllo dough and chopped nuts, soaked in a sweet syrup. It is a popular dessert in Syria and throughout the Middle East. Another popular Syrian dessert is semolina pudding, which is made with cooked semolina, milk, sugar, and flavored with rosewater or orange blossom water.
Drinks: Tea and coffee traditions
Tea is a popular drink in Syria, and is often served with sugar and mint. Syrian coffee is strong and black, and is often flavored with cardamom. Coffee is also an important part of Syrian culture, with coffee houses serving as social gathering places for friends and families. In addition to tea and coffee, Syria is known for its fresh juices, such as pomegranate, lemon, and orange juice.