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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

Faith, author of An Edible Mosaic.
About Faith

I’m the writer, recipe developer, photographer, and food stylist behind this blog. I love finding the human connection through something we all do every day: eat! Food is a common ground that we can all relate to, and our tables tell a story. It’s my goal to inspire you to get in the kitchen, try something new, and find a favorite you didn’t know you had.

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  1. 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!

  2. wonderful post–I am especially drawn to that semolina cake. I hope that some of these delicacies will find their way into your cookbook!

  3. Fabulous photos! I spotted the glass- I’d love to know more about that picture! What a gorgeous array of beautiful food- I love traveling vicariously through my blogging friends. :)

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

  6. 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!

  7. What a beautiful and simply amazing array of food! Wonderful shots of everything.

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. 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?

  11. Wow, the food is stunning! What a trip! And that Shawarma has be craving some now!!

    I had to look really hard for that floating glass!

  12. These photos took me back home; it is hard to not want to eat it all, all the time too! Love the katayef with ashta the best.

  13. Thanks for sharing these gorgeous photos. I can almost imagine how wonderful it must smell ask you walk through the shops.

  14. 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 :)

  15. 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. :-)

  16. Love it! I hope I have a chance to visit the area some day. I would love to experience the food and culture firsthand.

  17. The photos looks so colorful and happy. Hope I can visit there someday too. btw.. this new look of your space.. loving it:)

  18. 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!

  19. 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!

  20. Everything looks so good and colorful! I would love all those nuts and of course the sweets! Thanks for sharing your photos!

  21. 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!!

  22. 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 :-)

  23. It all looks SO delicious. The soup…and of course the sweets. The atayef sounds really good…

  24. What awesome pictures and an amazing experience. Your photo’s are great.

  25. 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.

  26. Wow—I love the pics! It’s so interesting to peer into other cultures and at different foods!

  27. Oh my gosh faith! Everything looks amazing! The sweets have me drooling! Thank you for sharing those pictures :)

  28. I was not feeling hungry until I looked at this post……… Diane

  29. 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.

  30. 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,

  31. 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?

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