Chopstick Cinema

Celeste Heiter's Adventures in Asian Food & Film

About Syrian Food

syrianmezzablog This Week's Film: The Visitor
Cuisine: Syrian

The cuisine of Syria, although culturally distinctive, has much in common with that of its neighboring countries. Even the names of the dishes are remarkably similar if not the same. Dishes like hummus, fatoush, baba ganoush, and ba’lawa (baklava).

One of Syria’s most popular culinary traditions is meze or mezza, an array of dishes to nosh and nibble over the course of several hours. Popular mezza include dips and salads served with lettuce leaves and khubz flatbread for scooping. Syrian cheeses such as labneh, jibbneh mashallale, jibne baida, and shankleesh are included with the mezza, as are dishes such as lamb kibbeh, and meat filled pies called sambusic and sfeeha. Pastries and other sweets are popular in Syrian cuisine, especially those filled with nuts and flavored with rose or orange water.

Condiments and flavorings for Syrian cuisine include olive oil and lemon juice, along with an array of spices such as black pepper, sumac, coriander, cumin, cardamom, paprika, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. These spices are often blended into spice mixture called baharat mshakale.

My Syrian recipe will be posted at the end of the week along with my film review of The Visitor.