Random Food Pictures From Our Middle East Vacation

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Can you spot the floating glass?  :)

I had the chance to organize a few more of my pictures from our Middle East vacation and I wanted to share some random food pictures with you.  It truly is a feast for the eyes.

Hospitality and generosity play a huge role in Middle Eastern culture.  When guests come over they are served the best of everything in an endless process of food and drink.  Nuts are almost always part of a visit, since they’re something to snack on and keep your hands busy while talking.

They have so many different varieties of nuts…some roasted, some salted, some coated, some with unusual flavorings, some made from things you would never expect to get a nut from (like watermelon seeds, which are roasted and eaten the same way that pumpkin seeds are…except they’re much harder to get out :) ).  Nuts can vary a great deal in quality and price, and I’ve heard it said that a person’s generosity is demonstrated in the type of nuts he serves his guests.

(Above) Roasted Watermelon Seeds

(Above) Tissiyeh (Fetteh bil Humous) is a chickpea, bread, yogurt, and tahini casserole.  It’s inexpensive, unpretentious, hearty, and satisfying.  This was made by my brother-in-law, a fantastic chef.

(Above) Fried Kibbeh

(Above) Shawarma!

(Above) Frying Falafel, Washing Mint, & Falafel Fixings…in Damascus, falafel sandwiches are one of the best meals on the go.  Fresh mint and pomegranate molasses are my two favorite secret ingredients. 

Just about any kind of veggie is pickled and can be added to sandwiches or mazza platters, which are platters full of small plates of different dishes.  Mazza platters are typically served for breakfast and/or dinner (the smaller meals), since lunch is the largest meal of the day.

(Above) Grape Leaves (For stuffing!)

Of course, the best is for last –Middle Eastern sweets!  Each is a masterpiece in and of itself.

(Above) Atayef, which I first had when my sister-in-law made it a few years ago during Ramadan, is my favorite Middle Eastern sweet.  It is pancake-like dough that is filled with either cheese (my favorite!), thick cream, or walnuts, then deep fried and soaked in orange blossom-scented sugar syrup.  Truly blissful.

(Above) Syrian Harissa, which is a lovely cake made from semolina flour and occasionally coconut, is sweetened with sugar syrup.  (You’ll also see this cake called Basbousa or Namoura, depending on where you are or who you’re talking to.)

(Above) Warbat bil Ashta

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  1. says

    I loved your photos, Faith. The nuts look delicious. Never thought of roasting watermelon seeds, but why not? The assortment of veggies and pastries are mouth watering; you must have been nibbling all day long.
    What’s with the floating glass? Was he juggling?

  2. says

    What a mecca of fine and simple living through a paradise of amazing food varieties. I can only assume you’ll be adding these stunning captures in your upcoming recipe book?

    Seeds within those small watermelon seeds…now that I really didn’t know.

    Beautiful post Faith…always a true pleasure ;o)

    Ciao for now and flavourful wishes,

  3. says

    Wow! Love the bulk “bins”! The Roasted Watermelon Seeds sound awesome. And I don’t know what shawarma is, but I think I want some.

  4. says

    loved the middle-Eastern recipes! I am amazed by the variety of nuts shown! All the foods are looking truly authentic and I must say, you photographed these very well. This is a very good post.

  5. says

    Oh Faith, thank you for sharing these wonderful pictures…enjoyed everyone of them…they sure brought me some memories of my trip to Turkey.
    Have a great week ahead :-)

  6. says

    First off, i love your new design on your blog, Faith!
    I would do happy dance with all the nuts they have over there coz i love nuts haha. I spotted rice crackers too! didn’t know they have those. It sounded like a really fun trip. I wanna go!!

  7. says

    My mouth is watering at the sight of those pictures!! Fried kebabs? Yummo!! Wish I could go to middle east sometime & try out all those delicacies! Thanks for sharing those lovely pictures!

  8. says

    Wow amazing pictures! Thanks for sharing- I feel like my eyes were opened a lot more to middle eastern cuisine. I want to try that couscous casserole thing and of course the shwarma pic looked soo good!

  9. says

    Oh wow!! Love these pics so very much, Faith. :-) I’ve never been to the Middle East and am dying to go. That casserole your bro-in-law made looks so hearty and homey. :-) Love that floating glass. :-)

  10. says

    Dear Faith, these lovely pictures made my mouth water. Shawarma is quite popular here too. And I’ve made this Basbousa cake before, that was really delicious. Thanks for sharing these yummy pics :)

  11. says

    OMG…everything looks so delicious!!! I wish I could have experienced all this in person like you did. I’d probably gain 10 pounds a day though!

    I finally spotted the floating glass! It took me a long time though. LOL! Was he juggling?

  12. says

    The photos leave me speechless! I didn’t even know that watermelon seeds can be enjoyed roasted?? This definitely is a feast, all the nuts, baked goods, meats… unbelievable! Good to know about hospitality traditions too. Next time I visit, I’m going to be keeping a stash of delicious foods for sure!

  13. says

    Your trip to the Mid East sounds so wonderful! I so want to go there sometime. Thanks for sharing the great pics and I hope that you’ll release more soon.

  14. says

    How lovely! These pictures remind me of my own travels to the Middle East. What a magical part of the world…thank you for sharing them with me. I hope you are having a blessed week, my friend. Much love!

  15. says

    Gasp. I never even thought of wanting to travel to the Middle-East until now. Oh my heart. Aching so much for traveling! I’m glad you had such a fantastic time, Faith!

  16. says

    How incredibly incrediable. The food just looks so tasty and colorful too. Thanks for the mini break from my desk, looks like a wonderful experience. Can’t wait to see more from this trip.

  17. says

    Haha. If you didn’t mention the floating glass, I totally would’ve missed it. Wow! Look at all this. Definitely a feast for the eyes indeed. Pancake-like dough stuffed with cheese? YES PLEASE!

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