Lebanese cuisine is one of the most unique mixes of culinary traditions in the world, as well as one that prides itself on a constant evolution and reinvention of many other dishes popular in Europe and the Middle East.
Because of this, a taste of Lebanon is a taste of the world, and with that in mind, here are just five of the most popular dishes Lebanon is well known for.
A dish so connected to Lebanon they even hold the world record for its largest-ever serving, hummus is a core part of not only traditional mezze dishes served with drinks, but is a vital base for many other Lebanese dishes, such as Fateh b’hummus, a combination of hummus, flatbread chunks and spiced yoghurt.
There are many different variations with a mix of garnishes, spices and drizzles, but the core of mashed chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice and garlic contain a little bit of everything that makes Lebanese food so special.
Another dish that has been connected to Lebanon since the very start, Kibbeh are a must-try mouthwatering mezze snack.
They are fried bulgur wheat croquettes mixed with ground lamb and served with yoghurt, although uncooked and baked varieties are also exceptionally popular.
A truly magnificent street food dish made up of slow-cooked meat (usually chicken, but you can also find lamb and beef shawarma), thinly sliced and served in a pitta with onions, pickled vegetables and tomatoes.
There are many variations, as is common with Lebanese dishes, but the key to a great shawarma serving is a delicate, long slow-roasting of the meat, generous basting and an exceptional, authentic marinade, which has made it a popular street food favourite around the world.
A bright, crunchy, exceptionally vibrant salad made with parsley leaves, chopped mint leaves, bulgur wheat and olive oil, with other ingredients added to this base such as minced onions, tomatoes, fresh lemon juice and red tomatoes.
The key to a great tabbouleh that makes it different from any other side or mezze salad is the chilling stage, which is where the tabbouleh mixes, marinates and brings out its most powerful flavours.
Around the same time as the biggest serving of hummus was being prepared, a similarly huge dish of falafel was also made, which may serve as an indication of just how popular the fried chickpea balls and fritters truly are.
Most commonly enjoyed either in a sandwich or in pita bread with vegetables and tahini dip, falafel is a hugely popular dish, especially with vegetarians due to its bold flavours and delightful crunch.
A dish that literally translates to ‘meat on dough’ this open-faced pie is hugely popular not only in Lebanon but also in South America when Levantines who travelled to the area brought the dish with them.
Traditionally it is a mix of spices with minced lamb, chopped onions, tomatoes, olive oil and a yoghurt or tahini dip, often garnished with an array of coriander, chopped cucumber or pomegranate seeds to add an extra dimension to a delicious hot pastry.