Located in the Eastern Mediterranean corner on the crossroads between the Mediterranean basin and the Arabian hinterland, the junction of the ancient trade roads, the smallest country of continental Asia has been a melting pot of various cultural influences for centuries, which is also reflected on the country’s national cuisine.
Similar to other Mediterranean cuisines, Lebanese dishes are healthy, spicy, tasty and colourful. Dairy products are less prominent than in the Western cuisines, possibly due to the climate. Fresh fruits and vegetables are, on the other hand, one of the main ingredients of the Lebanese diet.
In Lebanon, drinks are rarely served without food. An array of small, elaborately decorated various dishes called ‘mezze’ is often served with drinks and as a sign of welcome. A traditional ‘mezze’ features salads and dip dishes, as well as pastry and meat dishes and these may be:
A typical salad of the Levantine region, tabbouleh is made of bulgur, tomatoes, parsley, mint, onion and garlic, and seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice and salt. It is a genuine explosion of flavours and colors.
Hummus is a traditional dip dish of the region, made of mashed chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic. It is consumed with the Lebanese flat bread.
A Samosa is usually triangular, baked or fried pastry filled with spiced peas, lentils, onions, potatoes or ground meat.
Baba ghanoush is a dish made of baked or broiled aubergine mixed with virgin olive oil and seasonings, most frequently onions and tomatoes in Lebanon.