Syrian cuisine

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The Fetté, one of the most typical dishes of Damascus

Syrian cuisine is a diffusion of the cultures of civilizations that settled in Syria, particularly during and after the Islamic era beginning with the Arab Umayyad conquest, then the eventual Persian-influenced Abbasids and ending with the strong influences of Turkish cuisine, resulting from the coming of the Ottoman Turks. It is in many ways similar to other (Greater Syria) Levantine cuisines, mainly Lebanese, Palestinian and Jordanian and Iraqi.

The Syrian cuisine includes dishes like kibbeh, kebab halabi, wara' enab, hummus, tabbouleh, fattoush, labneh, shawarma, mujaddara, shanklish, pastırma, sujuk and ba'lawa. Syrians often serve selections of appetizers, known as meze, before the main course. Za'atar, minced beef, and cheese manakish are served as hors d'oeuvres. Arabic flat bread is always eaten together with meze.

Syrians also make cookies to usually accompany their cheese called ka'ak. These are made of farina and other ingredients, rolled out, shaped into rings and baked. Another form of a similar cookie is to fill with crushed dates mixed with butter to eat with their jibbneh mashallale, a string cheese made of curd cheese pulled and twisted together.

A spice mixture called baharat mshakale is endemic to Syrian cuisine.

Vine Leaves[edit]

Stuffed vine leaves in Syria are 2 types:

  • Yabra: Vine leaves stuffed with rice and minced meat cooked and served hot
  • Yalanji: Vine leaves stuffed with rice only and served cold.


Syrian cuisine has the widest variety of Fette:

  • Fette Bsamneh (Fette with hot grease)
  • Fette Bzait (Fette with Oil)
  • Fettet Magdous: Fette with Eggplant, minced meat and tomato sauce.
  • Fettet Kaware'e.
  • Fattet Ma'adem.
  • Fette Bjaj ( Fette with chicken)
  • Fette Blahm (Fette with Meat)

Kebab Halabi[edit]

Kebab hindi from Aleppo

A kind of kebab served with a spicy tomato sauce and Aleppo pepper, very common in Syria and Lebanon, named after the city of Aleppo (Halab). Kebab halabi has around 26 variants[1] including:

  • Kebab karaz for cherry kebab in Arabic - meatballs (lamb) along with cherries and cherry paste, pine nuts, sugar and pomegranate molasses. It is considered one of Aleppo's main dishes especially among Armenians.
  • Kebab kashkhash - rolled lamb or beef with chili pepper paste, parsley, garlic and pine nuts.
  • Kebab hindi - rolled meat with tomato paste, onion, capsicum and pomegranate molasses.
  • Kebab kamayeh - soft meat with truffle pieces, onion and various nuts.
  • Kebab siniyye for tray kebab in Arabic - lean minced lamb in a tray added with chili pepper, onion and tomato.


A variety of Syrian dishes made with bulgur and minced lamb are called kibbeh. The northern Syrian city of Aleppo (Halab) is famous for having more than 17 different types.[2] These include kibbeh prepared with sumac (kәbbe sәmmāʔiyye), yogurt (kәbbe labaniyye), quince (kәbbe safarjaliyye), lemon juice (kәbbe ḥāmḍa), pomegranate sauce, cherry sauce, and other varieties, such as the "disk" kibbeh (kәbbe ʔrāṣ), the "plate" kibbeh (kәbbe bәṣfīḥa or kәbbe bṣēniyye) and the raw kibbeh (kәbbe nayye).

However, Kubbat Halab is an Iraqi version of kibbeh made with a rice crust and named after Aleppo.


Mehshi is a famous dish served in Syria, it is essentially Zucchini or Eggplants Bathenjan stuffed with ground beef, rice and nuts. The northern city of Aleppo is known in the Arabic world as "Halab, the mother of Mehshis and Kebbehs (Arabic: حلب أم المحاشي و الكبب‎) " [3]

Syrian Street Food[edit]

  • Falafel: are fried balls or patties of spiced, mashed chickpeas. Falafel is most often served in Syrian flat bread, with pickles, tahina, hummus,Sumac, cut vegetable salad and often, Shatta, a hot sauce, the type used depending on the origin of the falafel maker.
  • Shawerma ( meaning "rotating" in Turkish) is usually made with lamb or chicken meat. The shawarma meat is sliced and marinated and then roasted on a huge rotating skewer. The cooked meat is shaved off and stuffed into the Syrian flat bread and sometimes in French bread "Baguet", plainly with hummus and tahina, or with additional trimmings such as fresh onion, French fries, salads and pickles.
  • Tamari Kaak.


  • Baklava - a dessert of layered pastry filled with nuts and steeped in Atar syrup (orange [or] rose water and sugar), usually cut in a triangular or diamond shape.
  • Taj al-malek (King's crown) - a dessert of round dry pastry, centre is filled with pistachio, nuts or cashew.
  • Swar es-sett (Lady's wristlet) - a dessert of round pastry steeped in Atar syrup while the centre is covered with smashed pistachio.
  • Lisan asfour (Sparrow's tongue)
  • Mabrumeh
  • Balloriyyeh
  • Znood Es-sett (Lady's arms) - filo pastry cigars with various fillings.
  • Asabe'e antakiyyeh (Antioch fingers) - a finger-like rolled and stuffed pastry.
  • Halawa Homsiyeh also called Halawet al-jeben - Cheese pastry, rolled and stuffed with cheese or thick milk cream, served with Atar syrup.
  • Mamuniyeh - semolina, boiled in water and added by significant amounts of sugar and ghee butter, usually served with salty cheese or milk cream (qeshtah).
Syrians are renowned for producing dried apricot paste
  • Zilebiyeh - thin sheets of semolina dough, boiled, rolled and stuffed with pistachio or milk cream (qeshtah).
  • Ghazel al-banat - sugar, toasted with a special system and stuffed with pistachio or cashew.
  • Karabij (Whips of Aleppo)
  • Shuaibiyyat
  • Mushabbak
  • Halva - sesame paste sweet, usually made in a slab and studded with fruit and nuts.
  • Kenafeh - shoelace pastry dessert stuffed with sweet white cheese, nuts and syrup.
  • Ma'amoul - date, pistachio or walnut filled cookies shaped in a wooden mould called a tabi made specially for Christian holidays (traditionally Easter), Muslim holidays (such as Ramadan), and Jewish holidays (Purim).
  • Qada'ef - semolina dough stuffed with a paste of sweet walnuts or milk cream and honey syrup (qater).
  • Nabulsiyeh - a layer of semi-salty Nabulsi cheese covered with a semolina dough and drizzled with a honey syrup (qater).
  • Basbousa - a sweet cake made of cooked semolina or farina soaked in simple syrup.
  • Phoenicia dessert


Special edition of 5 years-aged Arak Al Hayat from Homs, Syria

See also[edit]


Further reading[edit]

  • Gerbino, Virginia Jerro; Kayal, Philip (2002). A taste of Syria. New York: Hippocrene. ISBN 9780781809467. 
  • Kadé-Badra, Dalal; Badra, Elie (2013). Flavours of Aleppo : celebrating Syrian cuisine. Vancouver, Canada: Whitecap Books. ISBN 9781770501782. 

External links[edit]