The Most Popular Middle Eastern Foods Photo Gallery

Some foods are generally more popular than others. England is famous for fish and chips, Italy for its pasta dishes, and the Middle East is famous for a few different dishes. Here you will find the most popular and widely recognized Middle Eastern dishes and their recipes.

  • 01 of 13


    Kebabs. Robert Van Ribbentropp

    Kebabs are simple meat and vegetables on a skewer. Any type of meat can be marinated and skewered, even Cornish hens and small roasting chickens. Popular kebab vegetables include tomatoes, onions, and eggplant.

  • 02 of 13



    The Spruce

    Shawarma is like the ultimate on the go meal. Thinly sliced meat, wrapped in a pita with veggies and sauce is a delicious quick meal. Shawarma is a lot like a gyro, kind of like a taco, but so different in many ways. If you have never had shawarma, you have been missing out!

  • 03 of 13

    Pita Bread

    Pita Bread
    The Spruce

    Pita bread is served at just about every meal in the Middle East. It can be used for dipping, or to make delicious sandwiches in the pocket. In the Middle East, pita is made in brick ovens, where very high heat can be achieved. In some Middle Eastern countries, it is called khubz.

  • 04 of 13

    Turkish Coffee

    turkish coffee
    The Spruce

    Turkish coffee is famed for the way it is made. It is prepared in an ibrik, a small coffee pot that is heated. Sugar is added during the brewing process, not after, so the need for a serving spoon is eliminated. Cream or milk is never added to Turkish coffee, and sugar is optional. It is always served in demitasse cups.

    In some regions, your fortune is told by the placement of the coffee grinds left in the cup!

    Continue to 5 of 13 below.
  • 05 of 13


    Tabouleh Tabbouleh. Edward Karaa

    Tabouleh is a salad like no other. Made with fresh veggies, olive oil and spices, it can be eaten in pita bread, scooped onto pita bread, or traditionally with a fork. In the Middle East, fresh grape leaves are used as a scoop. Tabouleh can be made with a variety of veggies according to taste. You can add carrots, cucumbers, red or green onions. I always suggest to taste as you go along in preparation. You can also add romaine lettuce for a fuller salad.

  • 06 of 13

    Baba Ghannouj

    Baba Ghannouj, photo by Paul Cowan. Paul Cowan

    Baba ghannouj is a poular dip made from eggplant and tahini. It has a smooth, creamy texture, and a slightly smoked taste. It is traditionally served with pita bread (toasted or fresh), however Many people like it as a chip dip with potato chips or tortilla chips.

  • 07 of 13


    The Spruce

    Falafel is very popular in the Middle East as a fast food. Vendors sell it on the street corners in Cairo. As a main dish, it is served as a sandwich, stuffed in pita bread with lettuce, tomatoes, and tahini. As an appetizer, it is served on a salad, or with hummus and tahini. Falafel is a favorite among vegetarians.
    In Egypt, McDonald's has their version of a falafel sandwich. Can you guess the name? McFalafel, of course.

  • 08 of 13

    Turkish Delight

    Turkish Delight. Pat Herman

    Turkish Delight is a candy that originated in Turkey in the 1700's. The candy was featured in "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe", by C.S Lewis. The White Witch tempted a character, Edmund with Turkish Delight. This easy Turkish Delight recipe will tempt you, too!

    Continue to 9 of 13 below.
  • 09 of 13


    Hummus With Tahini
    The Spruce

    Hummus is one of the more popular Middle Eastern dips. Served with fresh or toasted pita, it makes for a great snack or appetizer.

    Hummus can also be made a variety of ways. Try these hummus recipes for delicious variations:

  • 10 of 13

    Sigara Boregi

    siagara boregi
    Edward Karaa

    Serve sigara boregi with coffee, as an appetizer, or as a side dish, it is sure to be a crowd pleaser!

  • 11 of 13


    Paul Cowan

    Moutabel is a spicy dip from Lebanon. The enticing appetizer gets its heat from green chile peppers, which can be omitted if desired. Add as many chiles to the recipe as your tastebuds can handle!

    Some people prefer to serve this dip cold, but I think its best warm or hot. Serve with warm or toasted pita bread, chips, or crackers. No matter what you use for dipping, watch out! This dip is addictive!

  • 12 of 13

    Grilled Vegetables

    grilled veggies
    Emil Schreiner

    Grilling brings out the flavor of vegetables like no other way of cooking. All you need are some fresh vegetables, a little olive oil, salt and pepper and you have an easy side dish with no mess to clean up!
    My favorite vegetables to grill are peppers, squash, onions and eggplant. This vegetable mixture grills beautifully and the flavors of each vegetable mesh together well.
    Try grilled vegetables at your next cookout. They are sure to be a crowd pleaser!

    Continue to 13 of 13 below.
  • 13 of 13


    Edward Karaa

    Labneh is strained yogurt and has a cheeselike consistency. It makes a great alternative to sour or cream cheese. Spread it on bread, bagels, or fresh pita. It is even better on fresh fruit! Labneh is popular for breakfast in the Middle East.