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Syrian cuisine

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Title: Syrian cuisine  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Palestinian cuisine, Arab cuisine, Turkish cuisine, Levantine cuisine, Jordanian cuisine
Collection: Arab Cuisine, Fertile Crescent, Levantine Cuisine, Mediterranean Cuisine, Middle Eastern Cuisine, Syrian Cuisine
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Syrian cuisine

The fattah, 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, Jordanian and Iraqi.

Syrian cuisine includes dishes like kibbeh, kebab halabi, waraq `inab, hummus, tabbouleh, fattoush, labneh, shawarma, mujaddara, shanklish, bastirma, sujuk and baklava. Syrians often serve selections of appetizers, known as "meze", before the main course, and za`atar, minced beef, and cheese manaqish as hors d'oeuvres. Arabic flat bread is always eaten together with meze. Syrians also make cookies called "ka`ak", to usually accompany their cheese. 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 mushakalah" is endemic to Syrian cuisine.


  • Vine leaves 1
  • Fattah 2
  • Kebab Halabi 3
  • Kibbeh 4
  • Mahshi 5
  • Street food 6
  • Sweets 7
  • Beverages 8
  • See also 9
  • References 10
  • Further reading 11
  • External links 12

Vine leaves

There are two types of stuffed vine leaves in Syria:

  • yabraq (يبرق): vine leaves stuffed with rice and minced meat cooked and served hot;
  • yalanji (يلنجي): vine leaves stuffed with rice only and served cold.


Fattah is prepared in a wide variety of ways, including:

  • fattah bi-as-samna (فتّة بالسمن): fattah with hot grease;
  • fattah bi-az-zayt (فتّة بالزيت): fattah with oil;
  • fattah makdus (فتّة مكدوس): fattahّ with eggplant, minced meat and tomato sauce;
  • fattah kaware'e;
  • fattah ma'adem;
  • fattah djaj (فتّة دجاج): fattah with chicken;
  • fattah bi-al-lahm (فتّة باللحم): fattah with meat.

Kebab Halabi

Kebab khashkhash from Aleppo.

Kebab Halabi (كباب حلبي / kibāb Ḥalabī) is 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 (Ḥalab). Kebab Halabi has around 26 variants,[1] including:

  • kebab karaz (كباب كرز): 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 khashkhash (كباب خشخاش): rolled lamb or beef with chili pepper paste, parsley, garlic and pine nuts;
  • kebab hindi (كباب هندي): rolled meat with tomato paste, onion, capsicum and pomegranate molasses;
  • kebab kamayeh : soft meat with truffle pieces, onion and various nuts;
  • siniyah kebab (صينية كباب): 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" (كِبّة / kubbah). Aleppo is famous for having more than 17 different types of kibbeh.[2] These include kibbeh prepared with sumac (كِبّة سمّاقية / kubbah summāqīyah), yogurt (كِبّة لبنية / kubbah labanīyah), quince (كِبّة سفرجلية / kubbah safarjalīyah), lemon juice (كِبّة حامض / kubbah ḥāmḍa), pomegranate sauce, cherry sauce, and other varieties, such as the "disk" kibbeh (kubbah qrāṣ), the "plate" kibbeh (كِبّة بالصينية / kubbah bi-aṣ-ṣīnīyah) and the raw kibbeh (كبة نية / kubbah nayyah).

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


Mahshi (محشي / maḥshī) is a famous dish served in Syria. It is essentially zucchini (كوسا / kūsā) or eggplant (باذنجان / bādhinjān) stuffed with ground beef, rice and nuts.

Street food

Syrian street food includes:

  • falafel (فلافل) 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.
  • shawarma (شاورما) 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 baguette, plainly with hummus and tahina, or with additional trimmings such as fresh onion, French fries, salads and pickles.
  • tamari ka`ak (تماري كعك).


Sweets include:

  • baklava, which Syrians call "baqlawah" (بقلاوة): layered pastry filled with nuts, steeped in a syrup called "qatr" (قطر), and which Syrians usually cut in a triangular or diamond shape;
  • taj al-malik (تاج الملك), which means "king's crown": round dry pastry, centre is filled with pistachio, nuts or cashew;
  • swar as-sitt (سوار الست), which means "lady's wristlet": round pastry steeped in qatr while the centre is covered with smashed pistachio;
  • lisan `asfur (لسان عصفور), which means "sparrow's tongue";
  • mabrumah (مبرومة);
  • balluriyah (بلورية);
  • znud as-sitt (زنود الست), which means "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 "halawat al-jubn" (حلاوة الجبن): pastry rolled and stuffed with cheese or thick milk cream, served with qatr;
  • mamuniyah (مامونية): semolina, boiled in water and added by significant amounts of sugar and ghee butter, usually served with salty cheese or milk cream (قشطة / qishṭah);
Syrians are renowned for producing dried apricot paste (qamar ad-din).
  • zilabiyah (زلابية): thin sheets of semolina dough, boiled, rolled and stuffed with pistachio or milk cream (qishtah);
  • ghazal al-banat (غزل البنات): sugar, toasted with a special system and stuffed with pistachio or cashew;
  • karabij Halab (كرابيج حلب), which means "whips of Aleppo";
  • shuaibiyyat;
  • mushabbak;
  • qamar ad-din (قمر الدين): dried apricot paste;
  • halva: sesame paste sweet, usually made in a slab and studded with fruit and nuts;
  • kanafeh: shoelace pastry dessert stuffed with sweet white cheese, nuts and syrup;
  • ma'amoul are 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 (qatr);
  • nabulsiyah (نابلسية): a layer of semi-salty Nabulsi cheese covered with a semolina dough and drizzled with a honey syrup (qatr);
  • 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


  1. ^ Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)
  2. ^ "NPR web: Food Lovers Discover The Joys Of Aleppo". 

Further reading

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

External links

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