About the food of Syria

Lattakia Beach. Photo by Taras Kalapun.

Lattakia Beach. Photo by Taras Kalapun.

Oh, Syria.

This wedge-shaped land spreads from the west, where she dips delicately into the Mediterranean sea, back to the east, up, over the mountains, all the way to the Iraqi border. Along the way, her cliffs and canyons smooth out into hot desert and scrubby grasslands.

Lost, towards the south, is the ancient city of Damascus, quite possibly the world’s oldest city according to National Geographic.  While Damascus has all the allure of a teeming city and world heritage site, the fun fact that stuck with me the most was that the buses don’t stick to their scheduled stops in Damascus. They just drop you where you want to get off, as long as it’s on their route.

Makes sense to me.

Panorama of Damascus. Photo by Wurzelgnohm.

Panorama of Damascus. Photo by Wurzelgnohm.

Arches in the Church of Saint Simeon Stylites, Syria. Photo by Bernard Gagnon.

Arches in the Church of Saint Simeon Stylites, Syria. Photo by Bernard Gagnon.

This week we explore Syria’s love for bold flavors, like garlic, pomegranate, sour cherry, and more.

Of course, traditional Middle Eastern favorites are everywhere, such as hummus, tabbouleh, stuffed grape leaves, and falafel… all enjoyed with a bite of homemade pita bread (and all, I might add, previously made for other Global Tables – simply follow the links to find the recipes!).

Mosque in Damascus. Photo by "strangerer."

Mosque in Damascus. Photo by “strangerer.”

But if you really want to enjoy Syria, you need to explore the depths of her cuisine and, for this, you’ll need to try the kibbeh or perhaps the kebabs – meatballs [Recipespiced with baharat seasoning [Recipe] and skewered with sour cherries… or even one of her many salads tossed with lemon juice, mint, and cilantro.  Finally, warm up with a bite of Syrian lentils [Recipe], a garlicky, lemony side dish filling enough for an entree.

Finish the day off with small sips of sweet, rich coffee.

And don’t forget to sip with love.

Everything tastes better with love.

Syrian maps and flag, courtesy of CIA World Factbook.

Syrian maps and flag, courtesy of CIA World Factbook.

What’s the closest you’ve been to Syria in your travels? 

What about with the food you’ve cooked?

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Comments

  1. Brian S. says:

    I visited Damascus many years ago. Here’s what I wrote. “Damascus is landlocked and far from the sea but the light and lazy pace of life reminded me of the Mediterranean. Young men with carefully blow-dried hair strolled along the streets; they wore tailored army uniforms with shaped waists and bell-bottom trousers. These jaunty soldiers seemed familoar. I knew I had seen their like before, other men with faces and clothes and swaggers like theirs. Then I remembered; it was many years before and only a few miles away, on Dizengoff Street in Tel Aviv.”

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