Everybody had heard of Damascus. It lays claim to being one of the oldest inhabited places in the world with people reported to have been living there for over 6,000 years. And if you hadn’t heard of Syria before, you probably have now – but sadly not because of the delicious food, which we explore in our post today.
Syria in the past was a very busy route for trade coming out of Asia to the west. The trade in Syria in today’s day is local but it’s history and food is ever reflecting of its past. Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq ring Syria and as a result it’s food a melting pot of history and cuisines from Turkey, Persia and the Ottoman Empire.
Mezze heaven! Syrian food is all about Mezze and what comes before and after served with baba ghanoush (delicious aubergine dip), labneh (strained yoghurt) and hummus (chickpea dip). If you are a fan of Levantine food, then you will certainly enjoy the Syrian twist.
Syrian food is synonymous with lemons, garlic, mint and parsley rich in vegetables, beans, nuts and grains and of course spices like cumin. Presentation is everything and each dish is a small work of precision. Main meals are meat heavy although chicken and fish are very popular. Each dish is dependent on fresh vegetables and fruits. Generally served with salad, rice and Syrian bread (pitta).
Our favourite starter or mezze was a sambusak made from semolina dough filled with cheese. Apparently the preparation of this is the measure of how good a cook is.
In the sweet section baklava is a must. It is made with filo pastry, stuffed with crushed pistachio nuts and sweetened with sugar syrup.
Here is also some music to get you in the mood:
What follows below are selected group dishes which we had the opportunity to test: