Lebanese food is similar to Turkish and Greek food but with its own rich cultural heritage. The cuisine is rich in potatoes and flour with hearty helpings of fish, chicken and whole grains while being notoriously low on red meat and animal fats. The Lebanese diet requires a strong love of garlic and olive oil, because they use plenty of it. If you’re going out to a Lebanese restaurant in St Louis or are planning to try some of the food, here are a few popular dishes you might want to consider.
Mezze: This is one of the most popular dishes in Lebanese cuisine because it is a meal rather than a dish. Similar to Spanish tapes, this dish requires you to lay out a variety of small dishes in order to give the diner a taste of everything. Common Mezze plates include about thirty different dishes, which makes it ideal for anyone wanting to get a taste of the food. Stuffed grape leaves, salads, hummus and other dips, pitas and other Lebanese breads, samosa (known as Sambusak in Lebanese) and others are all popular additions to this miniature feast.
Lentil Pilaf: A rather popular vegetarian dish, this lentil pilaf consists of rice, lentils, vinegar and vegetables. Think a very thick stew consisting of beans, onion and rice. If you are a little shy of having a dish with no meat, try ordering skewers of marinated chicken on the side. This is another popular Lebanese dish and can be found under the names but one of the most popular is known as Chich Toch and is marinated in garlic.
Baba Ganoush: This eggplant dish is popular around the globe and can be eaten on its own, but is more commonly eaten with pita bread and dips. Ganoush consists of olive oil, roasted or boiled eggplant and various spices that are mashed together into a paste. You can also get this dish with the Lebanese dish Khubz, a type of flatbread that is very popular in the area
Mishee or Mashee: This dish consists of stuffed roasted eggplant, but due to the many varieties and recipes, it’s hard to state an exact list of ingredients. Common ingredients include meat and garlic and the end result will usually look something like an overgrown sausage. Despite its looks, this eggplant really is quite delicious and is definitely worth a try.
There are hundreds of Lebanese dishes that you can consider trying when you go to a restaurant. Common Lebanese food includes the ever popular shawarma, pita bread, hummus, anything made with chick peas and lentils and a great deal of eggplant dishes including stuffed, fried, baked, french fried and pureed versions of this vegetable.
If you’re not sure what to get, try asking the waiter what he would recommend or try your luck. Almost everything is delicious (although you might want to skip the stuffed cow intestines), so you’ll be pretty safe and enjoy your meal no matter what! Lebanese food has a lot in common with Turkish, Greek and their other nearby neighbors.