Syrian cuisine

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The fatteh, one of the most typical dishes of Damascus.
Lakhma, also known as "Cappadocian" bread among Greek-speaking communities.
A Syrian meal, with makdus at the bottom left corner. Continuing clockwise are Syrian salad, hummus, haloumi and baba ganouj, with pita bread partially visible at the upper right corner.

Syrian cuisine may refer to the cooking traditions and practices in modern-day Syria (as opposed to Greater Syria), merging the habits of people who settled in Syria throughout its history.

Syrian cuisine mainly uses eggplant, zucchini, onion, garlic, meat (mostly from lamb, mutton and poultry), dairy products, bulghur, sesame seeds, rice, chickpeas, wheat flour, pine nuts, fava beans, lentils, cabbage, cauliflower, vine leaves, pickled turnips or cucumbers, tomatoes, spinach, olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, mint, a spice mixture called "baharat mušakkalah" (Arabic: بهارات مشكّلة‎), hazelnuts, pistachios, honey and fruits.

At the beginning of the 21st century, selections of appetizers known as "meze" are customarily served along with Arabic bread before the Syrian meal's main course, which is followed by coffee, with sweet confectioneries and/or fruits at will. Many recipes date from at least the 13th century.[1]



Meze include:

Name Description
Fatteh (فتّة) Pieces of Arabic bread covered with other ingredients.
Fatteh bi-s-samn (فتّة بالسمن) Fatteh made with beef or sheep tallow.
Fatteh bi-z-zayt (فتّة بالزيت) Fatteh made with vegetable, corn, or olive oil.
Fatteh al-makdus (فتّة المكدوس) Fatteh with makdus and minced meat.
Fatteh dajaj (فتّة دجاج) Fatteh with chicken.
Fatteh bi-l-lahm (فتّة باللحم) Fatteh with meat.
Makdus (مكدوس) Stuffed and pickled eggplants.
Muhammarah (محمرة) A hot pepper dip from Aleppo,[2] made from Aleppo pepper.
Shanklish (شنكليش) Cheese.

Vine leaves[edit]

Name Description
Yabra' (يبرق) Vine leaves stuffed with rice and minced meat cooked and served hot.
Yalanji Vine leaves stuffed with rice and a variety of vegetables and served hot or cold.


Kebab khashkhash from Aleppo.
Name Description
Kebab (كباب) Grilled meat.
Kebab Halabi (كباب حلبي meaning "Aleppine kebab") Kebab served with a spicy tomato sauce and Aleppo pepper. It has about 26 variants,[3] including:
  • kebab hindi (كباب هندي), made from rolled lamb, with tomato paste, onion, capsicum and pomegranate molasses;
  • kebab kamayeh (كباب كميه), made from soft meat with truffle pieces, onion and various nuts;
  • kebab karaz (كباب كرز), made from lamb meatballs with cherries and cherry paste, pine nuts, sugar and pomegranate molasses;
  • kebab khashkhash (كباب خشخاش), made from rolled lamb or beef with chili pepper paste, parsley, garlic and pine nuts;
  • siniyyet kebab (صينيّة كباب), made from lean minced lamb served on a tray with chili pepper, onion and tomato.


A variety of Syrian dishes made from a fried, baked, grilled, cooked, or raw mixture of bulghur and minced lamb are called "kubbeh" (كبّة). Kubbeh recipes include:

Name Description
Kubbeh bi-s-siniyyeh (كبّة بالصينيّة meaning "plate kubbeh") A plate of baked kubbeh.
Kubbeh Halab (كبّة حلب) Kubbeh with a rice crust. Although named after Aleppo, this recipe seems to be of Iraqi origin.
Kubbeh hamid (كبّة حامض) Kubbeh with lemon juice.
Kubbeh labaniyyeh (كبّة لبنيّة) Cooked kubbeh with yogurt.
Kubbeh 'qras (كبّة أقراص meaning "disc kubbeh") Grilled kubbeh.
Kubbeh nayyeh (كبّة نيّة) Raw kubbeh.
Kubbeh safarjaliyyeh (كبّة سفرجليّة) Kubbeh with quince.
Kubbeh summa'iyyeh (كبّة سمّاقيّة) Kubbeh with sumac.


A famous dish served in Syria is made from vegetables (usually zucchiniكوسا / kūsā—or eggplantباذنجان / bādhinjān) which are stuffed (محشي / maḥshī) with ground beef or lamb or mutton, and nuts and rice.

Street food[edit]

Baking flat bread in the 1910s.
Falafil and hummus in a Syrian breakfast.

Syrian street food includes:

Name Description
Falafil (فلافل) Fried balls or patties of spiced, mashed chickpeas, most often served in Arabic bread, with pickles, tahina, hummus, sumac, cut vegetable salad and often, shatteh, a hot sauce, the type used depending on the falafil maker.
Ka'ak (كعك) Rings of bread, made from farina and other ingredients, commonly sprinkled with sesame seeds, occasionally served on the table to accompany Syrian cheese. A buttery and sweetened version of these, filled with crushed dates or walnuts, is eaten as a dessert, usually served to eat with string cheese shaped into a braid (jibneh mashallaleh).
Shawarma (شاورما) Sliced and marinated meat shaved off a roasting skewer and stuffed into Arabic bread or sometimes baguette, alone with hummus, or with additional trimmings such as fresh onion, French fries, salads and pickles.


Syrians are renowned for producing dried apricot paste (qamar ad-din).

Sweets include:

Name Description
Ba'lawah (بقلاوة) Layered pastry filled with nuts, steeped in a honey syrup called "'atr" (قطر), and usually cut in a triangular or diamond shape.
hrisa (بسبوسة) A sweet cake made of cooked semolina or farina soaked in simple syrup.
Ghazal al-banat (غزل البنات) Sugar cutton candy stuffed with pistachios or cashew.
Halaweh Homsiyyeh (حلاوة حمصيّة)
Halawet al-jibn (حلاوة الجبن) Pastry rolled and stuffed with cheese or thick milk cream, served with a honey syrup called "'atr" (قطر).
Halweh (حلوة) A slab of sesame paste studded with fruit and candy/sweets.
Kanafeh (كنافة) Shoelace pastry dessert stuffed with sweet white cheese, nuts and syrup.
Ma'mul (معمول) Biscuits filled with dates, pistachios or walnuts, and shaped in a wooden mould called "tabi'" (طابع). It is a popular sweet on Christian holidays (Easter), Muslim holidays ('Id al-Fitr), and Jewish holidays (Purim).
Mamuniyyeh (مامونيّة) Mixture of semolina and ghee butter simmered in water with sugar, usually served with salty cheese or milk cream called "qishteh" (قشطة).
Nabulsiyyeh (نابلسيّة) A layer of semi-salty Nabulsi cheese covered with a semolina dough and drizzled with a honey syrup called "'atr" (قطر).
Qada'ef (قطايف) Semolina dough stuffed with a paste made from sweet walnuts or milk cream, with a honey syrup called "'atr" (قطر).
Qamar ad-din (قمر الدين) Dried apricot paste.
Suwar as-sitt (سوار الست meaning "lady's wristlet") A disc-shaped pastry steeped in a honey syrup called "'atr" (قطر) while the centre is covered with smashed pistachios.
Taj al-malik (تاج الملك meaning "king's crown") Round dry pastry, the centre of which is filled with pistachios, cashews or other nuts.
Zilabiyyeh (زلابيّة) Thin sheets of semolina dough, boiled, rolled and stuffed with pistachios or milk cream called "qishteh" (قشطة).
Znud as-sitt (زنود الست meaning "lady's arms") Phyllo pastries with various fillings.


Tresse cheese is a form of string cheese, known by its Arabic name, Jibneh Mshallaleh , that originates in Syria, as does Jibne Khadra. See also Syrian cheese.


Special edition of 5 year-aged Arak al-Hayat ('ara') from Homs, Syria.
Name Description
Arabic coffee (قهوة عربيّة) A beverage made from lightly roasted coffee beans along with cardamom, and served with dates, dried fruit and nuts.
'Ara' (عرق) A distilled alcoholic spirit, transparent in color, made from anise seeds.
'Ayran (عيران) A yogurt-based beverage mixed with salt and water.
Jallab (جلاب) A fruit syrup which can be combined with liquid to form a hot or warm beverage.
Al-mateh (المته) A caffeine-infused drink produced from ground yerba mate leaves and served hot.
Polo (بولو) Mint lemonade.
Syrian beer (البيرة السوريّة) A beverage prepared from yeast-fermented malt, flavored with hops.
Qahweh bayda' (قهوة بيضاء meaning "white coffee") A caffeine-free drink made from water and orange blossom water, sweetened with sugar at will, usually served in lieu of coffee.
Wine (خمر) An alcoholic beverage made from fermented grapes.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Eddé, Anne-Marie. (1999). La Principauté ayyoubide d'Alep (579/1183 – 658/1260).
  2. ^ The Culinary Institute of America (2008). Garde Manger: The Art and Craft of the Cold Kitchen (Hardcover ed.). Wiley. p. 53. ISBN 0-470-05590-1. 
  3. ^ "كونا :: المطبخ الحلبي ينفرد بتنوع اطعمته وطيب نكته 11/01/2006". 

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]

Media related to Cuisine of Syria at Wikimedia Commons