Middle Eastern Food

Middle Eastern Food St. LouisIf you like shaorma, hummus, pitas, and falafel, then you are already familiar with some Middle Eastern dishes. However, the cuisine of the Middle East varies widely depending on where you go and you can get many dishes that are on par with Western cuisine for flavor, cooking technique, and serving method, that you would never find in a popular fast food style restaurant. These popular dishes you can purchase in many Middle Eastern restaurants will allow you to move beyond the basics, and try some of the best foods the Middle East has to offer.

Middle Eastern Food at Restaurants in St. Louis

Baba Ghanoush: Hummus may be the most famous Middle Eastern dip, but Baba Ghanoush is another popular starter. The dish is made with roasted eggplant blended with tomato, onion, olive oil, garlic, tahini, and lemon. It’s traditionally served with toasted pita and other flatbreads, and makes a great starter in any Middle Eastern restaurant that offers it.

Manakeesh: Whether you’re in a fancy Middle Eastern restaurant or a street shop, Manakeesh is something that will likely be on the menu. Manakeesh is commonly referred to as Arabic pizza, but the flatbread is prepared and served in an entirely different manner. It’s also traditionally eaten for breakfast or lunch, and almost never for dinner. The most popular variation features za’atar topping with crushed sesame seeds, sumac, and herbs.

St. Louis Middle Eastern Food & Restaurants  Phone  Attributes  Location
 Al-Tarboush Deli  314-725-1944  Lebanese, Deli  University City
 Aya Sofia  314-645-9919  Turkish  St. Louis Hills
 Cafe Natasha’s  314-771-3411  Persian  South Grand
 Central Cafe & Bakery  314-875-0657  Lebanese  Central West End
 Gyro Grill  314-875-9465  Middle Eastern  U City
 Layla  314-553-9252  Middle Eastern  The Grove
 Ranoush  314-726-6875  Middle Eastern  U City
 Sameem Afghan Restaurant  314-534-9500  Afghan  South Grand
 Shahrazad  636-527-4000  Eclectic  West county
 Sheesh Restaurant  314-833-4321  Turkish  South Grand
 St. Louis Oasis  314-361-6666  Middle Eastern  Central West End
 The Vine  314-776-0991  Middle Eastern  South Grand
 Ya Hala Restaurant, Bar & Hookah Lounge  314-738-0559  Middle Eastern  Bridgeton

Manakeesh: Whether you’re in a fancy Middle Eastern restaurant or a street shop, Manakeesh is something that will likely be on the menu. Manakeesh is commonly referred to as Arabic pizza, but the flatbread is prepared and served in an entirely different manner. It’s also traditionally eaten for breakfast or lunch, and almost never for dinner. The most popular variation features za’atar topping with crushed sesame seeds, sumac, and herbs.

Mansaf : A Jordanian lamb dish, Mansaf is every bit as delicious as the ever-popular shaorma or kebab, and served in a similar way. The dish looks like a pizza with a large amount of lamb, rice, and almonds or pine nuts. In reality, Mansaf is a flatbread known as markook or shrak, with a layer of rice, lamb cooked in fermented and dried yogurt, and topped with a yogurt sauce and pine nuts or almonds. While famously known as Jordan’s national dish, it is actually a newer invention, and considerably different from traditional Mansaf. It’s also traditionally eaten with the right hand, and shared with friends, rather than eaten alone.

Tabouleh: Tabouleh is a Levantine dish popular throughout the Middle East, and served in a variety of ways depending on the ethnicity of the restaurant. The traditional dish is a vegetarian salad with tomatoes, bulgur, mint, parsley, chopped onions, olive oil, salt, and lemon. Variations may add garlic, couscous instead of bulgur, or romaine lettuce.

Masgouf: If you’re a fan of fish then Masgouf is a must-try Middle Eastern dish, primarily found in Iraqi restaurants. Masgouf is traditionally made with carp, and is typically brushed with a marinade of olive oil, rock salt, tamarind, and ground turmeric, and then grilled for up to three hours. Traditionally the dish is cooked over an open fire with apricot logs, but you will typically find it baked in a clay oven in restaurants. You can also order Masgouf Bagdad style, with mango chutney.

The Middle East has a lot to offer in terms of culture and cuisine, so, whether you’re traveling there or visiting a restaurant, remember to try as much as possible. Because every restaurant has their own specialty and favorite, you might get a vastly different menu, even in restaurants that serve food from the same country.

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.

If you’re considering visiting Pakistan, then trying the food is very important. Pakistan is a very diverse culture with food influence from their history and from countries around them as well as various cultures that have imposed themselves on Pakistan. The food varies greatly according to your region, but is known for being rich, flavorful and delicious.

Here are just a few types of food you can look out for in St. Louis restaurants featuring Pakistani food

Curries – These are one of the most popular foods found in Pakistan as well many other St. Louis ethnic restaurants. Curries can contain any type of meat from goat, lamb, beef, chicken or port, to even vegetarian dishes that rely on chickpeas, lentils or black beans for the protein. Curries are commonly sold with rice and can usually be quite hot. If you aren’t used to the spice, you may want to consider buying something else as mostPakistani curries are developed from Indian ones, and India is rather famous for spicy food. Alternately, you can buy a curry from a tourist location where the food is likely to be less spicy.

Breads – The Pakistani are famous for their breads, and the most famous of those are roti and naan. Naan is bread made with white flour and cooked in a tandoor oven. It’s usually eaten with curry, but can and is eaten with anything and everything. Another, popular Pakistani bread is Roti, especially Tandoori roti. Roti is a very traditional Pakistani food and is a must have for any tourists in the area.

Kebabs – Most of the world is familiar with the term Kebabs, but the Pakistani take special pride in them. You can usually enjoy kebabs with goat or lamb meat, although you can also find them with beef. The Pakistani version can be curried, sprinkled with black pepper and served with a wide variety of vegetables.

Rice Dishes – Rice dishes are also very popular in Pakistani restaurants in St Louis. Rice is served alongside curry and kebabs, but can also be a dish all its own. A few dishes to look out for include Yakhni pulao which is made with stock and meat, and will usually be brown. Other versions of the dish require saffron and chicken as well, which creates yellow rice. Biryani is another popular rice dish that relies on rice, it is a type of thick rice dish that can be served as a soup, or as rice.

Deserts- There are also plenty of popular Pakistani deserts that you can try. A few include simple things such as ice cream, or more exotic deserts consisting of carrots boiled in milk with sugar. One of the most popular Pakistani deserts is pudding, with one of their most famous being a vermicelli pudding similar to a rice pudding.

Resources about Pakistani Cuisine, Dining, & Recipes

PakiRecipes.com | Great site featuring tons of Pakistani food recipes, videos, information  Visit the site

DesiCookbook.com | Bills itself as the largest largest collection of authentic Pakistani recipes Visit the site