Lebanese cuisine

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An array of Lebanese cuisine.
Kibbet batata (potato kibbeh)

Lebanese cuisine (Arabic: المطبخ اللبناني‎‎) (French: cuisine libanaise) is a Middle Eastern cuisine. It includes an abundance of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, starches, fresh fish and seafood; animal fats are consumed sparingly. Poultry is eaten more often than red meat. When red meat is eaten it is usually lamb on the coast, and goat meat in the mountain regions. It also includes copious amounts of garlic and olive oil, often seasoned by lemon juice. Also, there is a large amount of chickpeas in their diet. [1] Olive oil, herbs, garlic and lemon are typical flavors found in the Lebanese diet.

Arak (عرق), an anise-flavored liqueur, is the Lebanese national drink and usually served with a traditional convivial Lebanese meal. Another historic and traditional drink in Lebanon is wine (نبيذ).

In Lebanon some desserts are specifically prepared on special occasions: the meghli, for instance, is served to celebrate a newborn baby in the family.


The Lebanese cuisine is an ancient one and part of the Levantine cuisine. Many dishes in the Lebanese cuisine can be traced back thousands of years to eras of Roman and Phoenician rule. More recently, Lebanese cuisine was influenced by the different foreign civilizations that held power. From 1516 to 1918, the Ottoman Turks controlled Lebanon and introduced a variety of foods that have become staples in the Lebanese diet, such as cooking with lamb.

After the Ottomans were defeated in World War I (1914–1918), France took control of Lebanon until 1943, when the country achieved its independence. The French introduced foods such as flan, a caramel custard dessert dating back to the 16th century AD, and croissants.[2]


Ftayer be lefet (turnip turnovers)

Most often foods are grilled, baked or sautéed in olive oil; butter or cream is rarely used other than in a few desserts. Vegetables are often eaten raw, pickled, or cooked. Herbs and spices are used frequently and in large quantities. Like most Mediterranean countries, much of what the Lebanese eat is dictated by the seasons and what is available. Lebanese cuisine also varies by region.

In Lebanon, very rarely are drinks served without being accompanied by food. Similar to the tapas of Spain, mezeluri of Romania and aperitivo of Italy, mezze is an array of small dishes placed before the guests creating an array of colors, flavors, textures and aromas. This style of serving food is less a part of family life than it is of entertaining and cafés. Mezze may be as simple as raw or pickled vegetables, hummus, baba ghanouj and bread, or it may become an entire meal consisting of grilled marinated seafood, skewered meats, a variety of cooked and raw salads and an arrangement of desserts.

Although simple fresh fruits are often served towards the end of a Lebanese meal, there is also dessert, such as baklava and coffee. Although baklava is the most internationally known dessert, there is a great variety of Lebanese desserts.

A typical mezze will consist of an elaborate variety of thirty hot and cold dishes and may include:

Family cuisine offers also a range of dishes, such as stews (or yakhneh), which can be cooked in many forms depending on the ingredients used and are usually served with meat and rice vermicelli.

Lebanese flat bread, called pita, is a staple to every Lebanese meal and can be used in place of a fork.

Cuisine by Region[edit]

These recipes are attributed to these regions in Lebanon, although you find them now as main dishes at most Lebanese homes across the country with local variations.

  • Ain-Zibdeh: Hareeseh (wheat and chicken)
  • Baalbek: Safiha Baalbakieh (meat-stuffed puff pastry)
  • Baino: Kebbe and Lahme bil-khal (meat mixed with crushed wheat and meat soaked in vinegar)
  • Baskinta: Makhlouta (meat, rice, and nuts)
  • Beirut: Samkeh Harra and Akhtabout (spicy fish and octopus), Roastuts
  • Beit Chabab: Riz bi-Djaj (chicken with rice)
  • Beit Mery: Kebbe Lakteen (pumpkin-flavoured meat)
  • Beiteddine: Kafta Bithine (spiced meat with sesame concentrate)
  • Broummana: Deleh Mehshi (stuffed rib cage of lamb)
  • Bsharri: Koussa bil-Laban (meat and rice-stuffed zucchini cooked in yoghurt)
  • Dhour El Choueir: Shish Barak (dough balls stuffed with ground beef and cooked in yoghurt)
  • Douma: Laban Immo (cooked yoghurt and lamb with rice)
  • Ehden: Kebbe Zghartweih (oven-cooked meat and crushed wheat blend)
  • El Koura: Abu Shoushe (topinambur and lentils stew)
  • Ferzol: Freikeh (cooked wheat with meat)
  • Hammana: Fasoulya Hammanieh (kidney bean stew)
  • Ihmej: Ghameh (stuffed cow intestines)
  • Jbeil: Koussa and Wark Inab bil-Kastaletah (stuffed zucchini, grape vines and steak)
  • Qalamoun: Fresh Carrot juice with ice cream inside
  • Kfar meshki: Kebbe bil-Kishk (meat mixed with wheat and yoghurt)
  • Marjayoun: Vine leaves with squash and grilled chicken
  • Nabatieh: Sfiha (aka: lahm baajin but much tastier)
  • Ras El Matn: Fatet (yoghurt, fried bread and nuts)
  • Rashana: Mjadrat Fasoulya (lentils and kidney beans)
  • Rashaya Al Wadi: Kebbe Heeleh (meatballs)
  • Saghbeen and Machghara: Zinkoul bil-Laban (meat filled pastry and yoghurt)
  • Shouf: Fatet Batinjan (yoghurt, fried bread and aubergine) and mate
  • Sidon: Riz bil-Foul (Rice and fava beans)
  • Tripoli, Lebanon: Mjadrah and Fattoush (crushed lentils and salad)
  • Tyre: Saiyadit al-Samak (rice and fish)
  • Zahlé: Kebbe Zahleweieh (meat and crushed wheat blend)

Lebanese Dishes and Ingredients[edit]

Hummus and pita bread
Lebanese Fateh b'hummus
Kibbeh nayyeh
Sheikh Mahshi served with rice
Lebanese Tabbouleh

Lebanese Sweets[edit]

Lebanese Atayef Asafeeri
  • Pastries such as baklava, Ka'ak, Sfouf and Maamoul.
  • Lebanese ice cream with its oriental flavors (Amar el Din made from dried apricots; fresh fruits; pistachios).
  • Lebanese roasted nuts with variety and mixes.

Lebanese Beverages[edit]

List of Lebanese wines[edit]

Lebanese Coffee[edit]

The coffee served in Lebanon is sometimes a variation of Turkish coffee, but a dark type of coffee is the main type served.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Middle western cuisines: gain ground". 
  2. ^ Choueiri, Ramzi N. (2002-01-01). The Culinary Heritage of Lebanon. Ramzi Choueiri. ISBN 9789953007533. 

External links[edit]