Everybody loves new experiences. As they say, variety is the spice of life. But often, it can be scary to throw yourself completely into something that you know nothing – or very little – about. This rings true with the food you eat too. You want to be adventurous, try new and exciting cuisines and dishes. But if you know nothing about the food you are ordering, you may be constantly worried that it might be too spicy for you, or contain an ingredient that isn’t to your taste.
So to help you get to grips with the delicious Lebanese cuisine offered at Layalina, we’ve gathered some facts you might not have known about Lebanese food.
Bread is served with most meals
Pita, a type of flat bread is a very common staple of Lebanese food and bread is served as an accompaniment to most meals. Bread has become such a staple of Lebanese cuisine that some Arabic dialects refer to it as “esh” which means life.
Meals of many dishes
Another staple of Lebanese food is the Meze, or a shared platter of many small dishes. The meze appears in many different Middle Eastern cuisines, where it is often served as an accompaniment to alcoholic drinks, or as a starter for a large meal. This is also true for Lebanese food, but the meze can also serve as a meal in its own right, made up of dozens of small dishes, it is the perfect meal for sharing.
Spices and seasonings
A lot of Lebanese dishes use a heady mix of herbs and spices to create deep, rich flavour profiles and add colour and vibrancy to dishes. But the emphasis is always on flavour over heat so those adverse to fiery food needn’t worry. Lemons and lemon juice are frequently used to season Lebanese food, along with allspice, garlic, nutmeg and oregano amongst others.
Try a few different Lebanese dishes and you’ll probably be struck by the use of cinnamon to season savoury food. Using cinnamon in this way opens up completely different flavours compared to using cinnamon for sweet dishes.
Leave room for deserts
The most well-known Lebanese sweet dish is undoubtedly Baklawa, a derivative of the Greek Baklava. This desert is made up of layers of filo pastry filled with chopped nuts, spices and simple syrup flavoured with perfumed rosewater and usually served cut into lozenges or squares. Desert is often paired with Ahweh, a strong, thick coffee.
Due to the large of fresh fruit that grows in Lebanon, after dinner deserts will often also include a variety of fruits from grapes and figs to oranges, melons and apples.
Deserts are often served with a glass of Arak, the national drink of Lebanon. This colourless drink is aniseed flavoured and is often served mixed with water poured over ice, which causes the liquid to turn a translucent milk white colour.
Now that you know a little of what Lebanese cuisine has to offer, why not stop by Layalina to try some dishes first hand today!