Lebanese cuisine is a Levantine style of cooking that includes an abundance of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, starches, fresh fish and seafood; animal fats are consumed sparingly. Poultry is eaten more often than red meat, and when red meat is eaten, it is usually lamb on the coast, and goat meat in the mountain regions. It also includes copious amounts of garlic and olive oil, often seasoned by lemon juice. Chickpeas and parsley are also staples of the Lebanese diet. Lebanese cooking derives its style from various influences, such as Turkish, Arab, and Mediterranean cuisines.
Well known savoury dishes include baba ghanouj, a dip made of char-grilled eggplant; falafel, small deep-fried patties made of highly spiced ground chickpeas, fava beans, or a combination of the two; and shawarma, a sandwich with marinated meat skewered and cooked on large rods. An important component of many Lebanese meals is hummus, a dip or spread made of blended chickpeas, sesame tahini, lemon juice, and garlic, typically eaten with pita bread. A well known dessert is baklava, which is made of layered filo pastry filled with nuts and steeped in date syrup or honey. Some desserts are specifically prepared on special occasions: the meghli, for instance, is served to celebrate a newborn baby in the family.
Arak, an anise-flavored liqueur, is the Lebanese national drink and usually served with a traditional convivial Lebanese meal. Another historic and traditional drink in Lebanon is wine.
Lebanese National Dishes
Kibbeh (also spelled and pronounced kibbe, kebbah, kubbeh, kubbah or kubbi depending on region, and known in Egypt as kobeiba and in Turkey as içli köfte) is a Levantine dish made of bulgur, minced onions, and finely ground lean beef, lamb, goat, or camel meat with Middle Eastern spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, allspice).
Other types of kibbeh may be shaped into balls or patties, and baked, cooked in broth, or served raw. Kibbeh is considered to be the national dish of many Middle Eastern countries.
Kibbeh is a popular dish in Middle Eastern cuisine. Mainly, it is found in Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Jordan, Egypt (kubbeh, kebbah, or koubeiba), Iraq, as well as Armenia (Keufteh), Iran, Israel, Cyprus (koupa, plural koupes) and in Turkey.
It is also found throughout Latin American countries that received substantial numbers of Levantine immigrants during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In the region, the dish is particularly popular in the Yucatan peninsula, the Caribbean coastline of Colombia and in Brazil.
Tabbouleh (also tabouleh, tabbouli, tabouli, or taboulah) is a Levantine vegetarian salad made mostly of finely chopped parsley, with tomatoes, mint, onion, bulgur (soaked, not cooked), and seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Some variations add garlic or lettuce, or use couscous instead of bulgur.
Tabbouleh is traditionally served as part of a mezze in the Arab world. Its popularity has grown in Western cultures.