Lebanese cuisine is one of the most popular cuisines in the world. From the mouthwatering Hummus to the national treasure of Kibbeh, Lebanese dishes have found their way into every food lover’s heart… And stomach.
If you’re a fan, and of course you are, here are 10 interesting facts you should know about your favorite Lebanese dishes.
#1 Tabbouleh is ancient
Tabbouleh is not only one of the most beloved dishes in Lebanese cuisine today but has been as such for a very long time. The popular salad is believed to have been around in Lebanon for as long as 4,000 years!
#2 Hummus Day is a real thing
World Hummus Day is celebrated every year around the world on May 13th by having Hummus for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The next Hummus Day happens to be next week and marks the 8th year of the celebration.
According to some reports, Kanafeh was created around the 7th century by the Islamic Caliphate in Damascus as a rich Suhoor meal to help Muslims fasting in Ramadan.
#4 Kibbeh evolved over centuries
Hundreds of years B.C, the Assyrian Empire was known for a primitive dish called Gubibate, which was made with cracked wheat and meat.
Gubibate is considered the ancestor of the modern Lebanese Kibbeh, which has evolved to contain more complex ingredients over the years.
#5 Fatteh and Fattoush are siblings
Fattoush and Fatteh, as may be obvious from their similar names, belong to the same family of dishes known as fattat, which roughly means “crumbs” or “fragments.”
In fattat dishes, fried or toasted pita bread is broken up over the plate to add a crunchy texture and a distinct taste to the recipe.
#6 There’s a minor historical Manakish vs Pizza feud
Which inspired the other? Ancient Manakish or ancient Pizza? The question of which flatbread recipe was invented first is still subject to some debate today.
Since tomatoes were not yet discovered in Ancient Rome at the time when people were already spreading thyme and olive oil on flatbread in the Middle East, it’s likely that Manakish came first.
Nonetheless, Ancient Romans did have their own versions of flatbread with various toppings, way before the modern-day pizza was invented, and this is what keeps the debate alive.
#7 “Shawarma” is not meaningless
The world-famous word Shawarma comes from the Turkish çevirme that stems from çevirmek, i.e, “turn” or “rotate,” which is the cooking method of the shawarma.
#8 Falafel is the second most common chickpeas dish
Not only is Falafel one of the most popular dishes in Lebanon, but it’s also the second most common dish made of chickpeas in the world. What’s number one? Hummus, of course!
#9 Baklava has a religious aspect to it
Traditionally, Christians made Baklava with 33 layers of filo dough, with each layer representing 1 year of the life of Jesus Christ. The delicious sweet pastry is also a common dessert for Muslims in Eid al-Fitr.
#10 Hummus makes you happy
It’s scientifically proven that consuming Hummus, which contains a specific kind of amino acids, promotes the release of Serotonin in the body, which is one of the “happiness hormones.”
Its capacity to regulate mood can also be helpful for people who have insomnia and depression… But you probably don’t need this fact to know how great Hummus is!