Syrian foods can be more exceptional than others as they consist of signature flavors and preferences of the citizens here. Their taste is influenced by various cuisines such as the Middle East, the Levant, and more.
A tip for tourists, you should look for a restaurant that the locals love to enjoy the authentic flavor of unique Syrian-inspired recipes. I will not waste your time anymore; let’s discover what the Syrians eat in regular meals and special occasions.
Table of Contents
Hello A New Day With Signature Breakfast Like The Syrians
Breakfast is the most important meal in a day, and it provides your body with full of energy to help you start a day smoothly. If you are a fan of worldwide cuisines, you should try living as an authentic Syrian by enjoying delicious Syrian breakfast recipes. I am sure that is an unforgettable memory.
1. Pita – Syrian Bread
If you know the appearance time of Pita, you will surely be shocked. The first Pita appeared in the Middle East and Mediterranean cuisines, including Syria, 4000 years ago. When you dig into the dish’s history, you will find it originated from the West of the Mediterranean Sea.
The round-shaped Pita is made from wheat flour and water; its interior is hollow and looks like a pocket because it takes a certain time to rise. The traders carried it across the Sahara and Arabian desert, then it has become a staple dish in Syria.
- 26+ Most Popular Cuban Foods You Should Never Miss 2022
- 30+ Most Delicious Macedonian Foods You’ve Got To Try 2022
- 21+ Most Popular UAE Foods For Your Party 2022
- 12 Magnificent French Sandwiches To Indulge In France 2022
- 15+ German Soup Recipes That You Must Try In 2022
- 12+ Most Alluring Indian Drinks Not To Miss Out On 2022
- 10+ Most Popular Gabonese Foods You Must Notice In 2022
- 21+ Most Popular Filipino Drinks That You Shouldn’t Miss
Once upon a time, the dough was left out to react with natural yeast in the environment to rise. However, time flies and people’s thoughts also change. They have started adding beers to reduce the rising process.
Pita was cooked on a fire traditionally, while the modern version is cooked in an oven. You can eat it alone or stuff some toppings, such as meat and vegetables, to have a nutritious, quick meal.
2. Labneh – Strained Yogurt
Labneh is one of the most versatile dishes as it can be served at breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snack time. I love to enjoy it in early meals due to its quick and easy-peasy features. For the first time, it was a famous recipe in Middle Eastern countries. Many people here love this soft and delicious dip.
Now, it has been a famous dish all over the world. I don’t know exactly when Labneh was born, but I know the cheeses produced from strained yogurts have been consumed for a thousand years.
There are no fixed formulas to make Labneh, each cuisine can modify recipes to fit their preferences. For those who don’t know, “Labneh” is derived from the word “laban” which means milk or white.
Thus, the main difference between Labneh versions is the kinds of milk and forms: dried, fresh, or kept in olive oil.
3. Grilled Halloumi Cheese
Let’s try costuming an authentic Syrian by enjoying grilled halloumi cheese in a “hi-new-day” meal. This food is one of the signature dishes of Syria that you must try when exploring this country.
This amazing type of cheese has many names, such as hellim in Turks, calumi in Italy, or hallum in the Arabs. No matter its name, the cheese has a white color with a layered, semi-firm, and rubbery texture. You can mistake it with mozzarella, yet it is saltier.
It was produced during the Medieval Byzantine period. It is well-known in its hometown – Cyprus, and has gained popularity in other Middle Eastern and Greece. Normally, halloumi cheese is made from goat and sheep milk, but sometimes you can also find cow milk in the ingredient list.
The Syrians usually add it to cheese pastries since they can keep the original shape. That’s why you can enjoy grilled cheese without worrying about oozing.
Halloumi cheese is hard to melt when grilling; let’s unwrap the reason.
4. Tis’iye – Fatteh
Fatteh is a Syrian casserole with some layers, including crunchy pita bread as a base, creamy warm sauce, chickpeas, toasted pine nuts, chopped parsley, and more for toppings. The classic version requires a deep-fried pita; however, you can roast it instead.
Do you know where the name comes from? The origin is from “futt Khobez” – an Arabic term meaning smaller pieces of broken bread. Like Labneh, you can find various variants of nations you land in.
The root of this food is still a conversational topic. Some people say that the birthplace is in Egypt’s south and Levant area, while others assume that it comes from the Northern Levantine region.
Even a few proofs show that this dish appeared in the 13th century during the Abbasid Caliphate. Nevertheless, it is just a story of the past. Today, Fatteh is a popular dish in UAE, Egypt, Lebanon, etc.
Overall, Fatteh is a worthwhile dish you should try to understand about Syrian food culture.
5. Ful Medames – Stewed Fava Beans
If you find “Ful Medames” too difficult to remember, you can call it “Ful”. I can confidently say that the ancient Egyptian dishes have been a culinary hit and are loved until now. The historians found the remnant of this food in Pharaonic tombs in the 12th Dynasty (1991-1786 B.C.)
This is common breakfast food in Syria, especially Aleppo. Its name can reflect its cooking methods. “Medames” term means “buried” since it was cooked by burying the pot in hot coals overnight, and your fava beans could become tender and melt right in your mouth.
Many people consider it a “gift from God” thanks to its heavenly flavor when mixed with lemon juice, garlic, and more. For more fulfilling meals, you can dip pita bread into it.
Dry beans are the best ingredient, yet it takes time to soak; thus, you can replace them with canned beans to save time.
6. Makdous – Pickled Eggplant
Eggplants are a favorite vegetable of many Syrians, and it is not strange why their fame spread out worldwide. In addition to Syria, you enjoy makdous in the Levant regions, consisting of Jordan and Lebanon.
You can prepare some jars of pickled eggplants stuffed with crushed nuts, chili pepper, and garlic and marinated in olive oil. It needs time to ferment, so you can make it in advance and add it to your breakfast.
The Levant nations are also Makdous’s birthplace. It appeared the first time in Syria, while the other opinions assume that Damascus or Homs. No one can give you the exact time it was born, but it must have existed for a few centuries.
The best time to ferment this dish is early autumn when the eggplant season is almost to end.
Boost Your Mood With Scrumptious Syrian Dishes For Lunch And Dinner
If you travel to Syria, let’s find a local restaurant and order the following foods for lunch and dinner. Your experience will be more accomplished with them.
7. Muhammara – Syrian Hot Pepper Dip
Warm up your stomach with some dips of Muhammara, why not? The moderate sweetness and spiciness will be a potential candidate for boosting your taste buds. This dip is derived from a city in Syria-Aleppo. As you know, many delicious recipes are from the same place.
This food is also popular in the Middle East and Anatolia; therefore, it is unnecessary to discuss its flavor anymore. Besides eating with bread, you can spread it on grilled fish or meats to enhance the overall.
Aleppo peppers are an indispensable ingredient in this recipe. The Scoville scale is 10000 yet has an intense and fruity scent. For the most experience, you should ground the pepper by your hands after it is dried under the sunlight. Let’s allow the dish to prove what I have said is right.
8. Falafel – Chickpeas Patties
Falafel is one of the mysterious dishes in Syrian cuisine, its origin is still a secret that I think experts need to spend more time determining the exact answer. However, it is not as important as the dish’s taste.
There are numerous theories about the birth of falafel. Many people agree that it came from Egypt 1000 years ago, and the Egyptian Copts brought it to the Middle East. Meanwhile, a few believed these delicious cakes were born in India in the 1500s.
Others thought that it appeared in the late 19th century. At that time, food was found in Egyptian literature. The initial version was served in restaurants in Alexandria, a port in Egypt, made from fava beans.
Fava beans mean “Ful” in Egyptian, and they saw their connection. The present-day falafel is made from chickpeas and is commonly eaten with pita bread. Thanks to its flavor and nutrients, this has become a well-known dish in many states.
Falafel is a street food icon that you have to try whenever traveling to Syria.
9. Mahshi – Stuffed Vegetables
For those who love veggies, this Mahshi is a must-try recipe. The first place consumed Mahshi is Ottoman, yet its aroma and flavor spread to Egypt and the Levant through the Balkans. You cannot count how many people love it.
If you have tried stuffed vine leaves (dolma), you will find the cooking technique quite similar. However, the chefs use eggplants, gourds, tomatoes, peppers, and other sizable vegetables in place of the leaves.
It is such a versatile dish as you can serve it as an appetizer or an ideal Syrian recipe for lunch. The Syrians usually stuff meat, a chopped mixture of veggies, or spiced rice into them. My favorite kind of Mahshi is Koosa Mahshi, which means stuffed squash.
10. Kibbeh Bil Sanieh – Syrian Baked Lamb Kibbeh
Kibbeh Bil Sanieh has won the hearts of many people. In Syria, people consider it as a national dish; you can also find different variants in the Middle East, Egypt, Iran, and more. The Levant immigrants brought this food to Latin America during the 19th-20th centuries.
The Syrian version uses lamb meat for the filling. In others, chefs can use any ground meat, and the most regular is beef; nonetheless, I recommend you to use ground lamb to create a special experience.
Can you guess how many types of Kibbeh are found? The answer is 15 types. This recipe requires you to knead meat and bulgur like you play dough; after that, you will spread it below and above the cooked lamb.
The most impressive feature of this food is it doesn’t use complicated spices but salt and ground allspice. They are easy to find in the Caribbean and the Middle Eastern and have a subtly spicy taste. You cannot enjoy a perfect Syrian tour without trying this mouthwatering dish.
11. Yalanji – Stuffed Grape Leaves
Another stuffed dish I’m sure you will be surprised to hear its translated name is Yalanji. Yalanji is a cold appetizer that captivates tourists’ hearts. The filling is made from rice and different kinds of chopped vegetables.
Indeed, Yalanji is a Turkish word meaning “liar” because there is no meat in the filling. It is an excellent choice for vegetarians. The origin of this food is still a mystery, but its flavor is beyond Syria.
Yalanji is well-loved in the cuisine of Greece, Turkey, the Middle East, and even Middle Asia.
In Syria, there is a “meaty version” of Yalanji that is Yabarq. The filling is complemented with meat and rice, then cooked in lemon juice. This is the main dish. Don’t skip this delightful food if you want to make a twist for your meal.
Your Syrian tour can be nonsense if you resist enjoying Yalanji.
12. Shish Barak – Meat Dumpling In Yogurt Sauce
It has been a traditional dish in Arabia since the 14th century. The origin is hard to determine, but many historians think it was derived from pre-Islamic Persia and spread its popularity to other Middle Eastern and Asian nations.
That’s why you can find a ton of variants in the countries you visit. You should plan spacious time to prepare this recipe as it requires pretty many steps. But all things are worth it after you taste the flavor.
The filling includes ground lamb or beef, coriander, garlic, and other fresh herbs. It is stuffed in dough and stewed with goat and yogurt mixture. The food is more popular in the spring when the dairy products are straightforward to access. If you have tried making Italian ravioli, you can find this is quite similar.
13. Al-Mujaddara – Lentils And Rice
As its name implies, Al-Mujaddara is a fulfilling dish. Simple ingredients can create a savory taste; can you believe that? I changed my mind when I enjoyed it in Syria.
It is cooked lentils (brown or green is acceptable) mixed with rice or bulgur/groats and tasted with caramelized onions fried in olive oil. It is one of the no-meat dishes that vegetarians can try; therefore, its nickname is “the dish of the poor”.
This food is also popular in the culinary scene of Lebanon, Syria, Israel, Egypt, and many more. The Iraq writer – Mohammed bin Hassan al-Baghdadi wrote this recipe in his cookbooks published in 1226. This is the first recorded recipe.
It was the most common food the poor could reach during the Middle Ages because it didn’t need meat or expensive ingredients. Its flavor is so surprisingly delicious that the Eastern Arab says, “A hungry man would sell his soul for a dish of “Mujaddara”. This quote also relates to a biblical episode.
14. Al-Jaz Maz – Syrian Shakshuka
Shakshuka is a simple dish but attracts a lot of foodies. If you want to have a quick meal in one skillet, you should not miss this food.
The residents in North Africa firstly created the dish, but people in many other places, namely Syria, Palestine, Egypt, and more, have enjoyed it. The ingredients cannot be easier with eggs, green peppers, simmering tomatoes, garlic, and onions.
You can enjoy it any time of the day, yet I prefer lunch or dinner as I have plenty of time to dip flatbread or baguette to taste all the sauce. Don’t forget to add olive oil and spice to elevate the flavor.
15. Harak Osbao – Pasta And Lentil Stew
If you are vegetarian and want to immerse yourself in Syrian cuisine, let’s try Harak Osbao. It is a nutritious and budget-friendly dish you can find on your travels, but don’t underestimate its traditional value.
This stew is one of the oldest foods. It will provide you with many nutrients, including a rich source of protein. You can easily taste this Syrian recipe at dinner time in the winter, and it is served warm to heat your body in the freezing weather.
What’s better than experiencing the winter in Syria and enjoying the steaming food? You will have a more “real” local feeling when spreading some fried pita bread and pomegranate seeds to add more texture to your mouth.
16. Baterish/Mutabal Hamwi – Three-Layer Eggplant Dip
The previous dish is perfect for the winter, while Baterish is an excellent choice to relieve the heat of summer. The upcoming summer cannot be great if there is an absence from this cold food.
This food hailed from the city of Hama. Besides being a specialty of this region, it is also popular in other central areas. The 3 layers include chopped or mashed grilled eggplant for a base, minced beef cooked in tomato sauce for the middle layer, and freshly chopped parsley with some walnuts for the topping.
Don’t forget to add some salt and squeeze lemon to the eggplants unless you want the dip to be tasteless.
Signature Syrian Foods For Wedding And Festivals
Special foods are indispensable on all occasions, especially weddings and festivals. You can find some places selling these dishes on normal days; however, soaking in the festival atmosphere and tasting them will bring you a different experience.
17. Karabij Halab – Aleppo Cookies
Its name-Aleppo Cookies can tell you about its origin. That’s right; it comes from Aleppo, a city in Syria. The word “Halab” in Karabij Halab is an ancient name of Aleppo that means this sweet treat has existed for a long time.
This is one of the most heavenly Syrian desserts many tourists favor, you can easily buy it from pastry shops to enjoy it.
These cookies can be separated into 2 parts: the filling and the cover. The filling is made from crunchy nuts mixed with rose and orange blossom water, while the other’s ingredient is semolina flour. You have to shape it by hand or use carved molds to produce authentic cookies.
On important holidays and occasions, especially Eid Al-Fitr, Karabij Halab is served with natef, soapwort root-make white cream.
18. Tabouli (Tabbouleh) – Vegetable Salad
If you usually watch the news, you probably know an event in 2009 relating to tabouli. In this time, 350 workers worked continuously for more than 10 hours to produce the largest bowl of tabouli salad.
It was recorded in the Guinness World Record as the biggest salad globally with a 9,532 lb 12 oz in weight. This salad was born in the mountains of Syria, and Lebanon dates back to the Middle Ages.
It has quickly become an indispensable dish in Lebanese and Syrian meals. The ingredients, including tomato, mint, onion, and more, make it perfect and nutritious to serve as an appetizer. You cannot skip this food if you have an upcoming Syria tour. If not, you will regret it for the rest of your life.
Tabouli is simple to make at home. Let’s give it a try.
19. Mansaf Al-Melehi – Syrian Lamb Cooked In Sauce
Mansaf is one of the well-known traditional Jordanian foods you can catch it in almost all gatherings, from funerals to weddings. I say that to help you imagine the popularity of mansaf.
It appeared a long time ago and was consumed by Bedouin tribes. The first Mansaf didn’t have sauce; it was just lamb or camel meat eaten with flatbread, meat broth, and clarified butter. Time flies and people create sauce made from rice, yogurt, and jameed to enhance the whole flavor.
Though its birthplace is Jordan, it has various variants, and the Syrian version-Mansaf Al-Melehi is the most delicious. This food was changed by citizens in the Horan region in the South of Syria to adapt to the local’s taste.
This variant includes bulgur wheat soaked into ghee and basic ingredients of the original mansaf. However, you need to serve it warm along with fried vegetables and kibbeh.
20. Al-Maglouba – Upside Down Eggplant And Rice
As you know, Syrian meals cannot be completed without eggplants; thus, I will introduce you to a staple dish that is Al-Maglouba. This food is a savory cake made from meat, eggplants, and rice. It is easy to cook and store, this food is usually served in Muslime families during Ramadan.
You just need to add all ingredients in a flat round pot and cook in slow heat for a certain time. The result is an eye-catching cake, and you will turn over to place it on a plate. The interesting fact is “Maglouba” meaning “flipped over”.
I cannot provide you with the exact birthday of this dish. However, it was printed in Baghdad Cookery Book written by Muhammad bin Hasan al-Baghdadi in the 18th century. It is an old dish served commonly in Jordan and has many famous versions, including Syria one.
21. Ma’amoul – Stuffed Cookies
No one can tell you the correct answer to the question about Ma’amoul’s hometown. Yet, many people know that it has been an all-important part of various religious holidays for hundreds of years.
You can find these cookies in regions belonging to the Levantine. Ma’amoul also plays an essential role in Islam and Christain holidays. These religions have enjoyed this dessert to celebrate the end of the Lent and Ramadan periods for centuries.
In the traditional version, chefs stuffed date paste into the dough. The date with natural sweetness could captivate anyone’s heart. The pistachio and walnuts are used to fill more modern cookies.
Why don’t you bring the Syrian atmosphere to your home by making ma’amoul?
Try Syrian Foods Right After Landing In Syria
After a long time sitting on a plane to Syria, your stomach starts to growl. Why don’t you find a local restaurant and other unique Syrian foods? In case you don’t know what you should order, you can remember my post.
This article has introduced to you a few must-try and impressive dishes. Besides enjoying these suggestions, you can explore Syrian cuisine on your own by walking on crowded streets in this nation.
Don’t forget to let me know via the comment box if you find other fantastic foods. You can inspire the love of worldwide cuisines by liking and sharing this post with others. Sharing is caring, right?