Over the years, the Middle East has seen a decline in tourism due to political unrest. However, there are still some great countries that are waiting to be explored. Not only will you find incredible scenery and rich culture, but you will also discover some of the most amazing cuisines you have ever tried.
Whenever I have travelled to different continents, the food really is what makes a place… It is one of the best ways to experience the wealth of culture in different parts of the Globe.
Today though, I want to focus on exploring two of the main countries in the Middle East which have strong cuisines which shouldn’t be missed (after the Global Pandemic passes of course!)
Let’s take a closer look…
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The Middle East is getting a reputation within culinary travellers as being one of the best destinations you can head to. Palestine has an incredible farmers market which sells the country’s delicacies, local cheeses and mezze.
You can actually book a nine-day food tour in Tel-Aviv where you can understand the cultural relevance of the dishes you eat, where they are made and also the history of cooking around the country.
One of the other Middle East travel highlights is Jordan. A beautiful country that welcomes tourists with passion and heart. Food is an integral part of their culture, and they have so many incredible dishes that will keep you wanting more, even when you are full!
Not all the dishes you find in Jordan originated here, which is why you will have such a diverse and exciting experience. Influences come from Persia, the Mediterranean and North Africa. Many of the country’s traditional dishes came from other countries and were adopted and adapted by Jordan.
One dish that is very common in Jordan is moutabel. This is a traditional middle eastern dish of smoked eggplant, lemon juice and tahini. In Jordan, they use yoghurt to give it a more creamy flavour. It is fabulous with bread and as part of a mezze. Alongside this you can also get hummus, again Jordan has put its twist on the Greek chickpea-based dip, the flavours are incredible, and you could spend all evening dipping flatbreads and enjoying the warm evenings.
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On some Jordan Tours, you may come across Ful Medames which again, is a traditional Egyptian food that the Jordanians have adapted and made part of their culture. This delicious bean dish is similar to Mexican fried beans and is commonly served with falafel. It’s a quick meal which will fill you and warm you with its incredible spices and aromas.
Jordans enjoy meat, and you can often find chicken livers cooked in oil alongside your mezze—one of the favourite dishes in the shawarma. Often with mixed meat such as lamb, beef or chicken, the shawarma is the most delicious kebab you will ever eat. Commonly it’s wrapped in bread with tahini and pickled cabbages.
Jordan is famous for its sweet treats, and hareeseh is one of the best. Made with semolina coconut, cream and nuts this delicious bar has the same texture as a brownie. It is extremely sweet and works deliciously with some fresh yoghurt on the side.
Travelling should be about getting to the heart of a country. And one of the best ways to do this is to eat and experience the local cuisine. Food really is at the heart of most cultures.
Have you been to the Middle East? I would love to hear your thoughts on Middle East travel in the comments below!