Damascenes are enormously happy with their native food. one among Damascus’ many charms is the street food, that is everywhere. you will not walk far without seeing a Shawarma stand and Syrian vogue Shawarma is totally delicious – hard to match with something in the middle east.
At a restaurant or home, you’ll likely start with an array of mezze (appetizers) that may include hummus (chick pea dip), baba ganoush (eggplant and yoghurt dip) – usually freshly made and delicious, a range of zaytuun – green olives, black olives, olives with tomato or hot sauce and always with pits. Wharich ayeneb (Stuffed grape leaves) very similar to Greek dolma are popular – filled with rice and lamb. Makdous – small, lemony eggplants filled with walnuts and marinated, and a range of shredded raw vegetables like radishes are especially popular, as are green onions! you also see turnips, dyed bright fuschia pink that have an unusual, slightly bitter yet sour, vinegary taste.
The next course will likely be salads – traditional salad offerings include taboulleh – a well-liked parsley, radish, tomato and lemon juice salad or fatoosh that has lettuce, tomatoes, lemon juice and shredded up bread seasoned with sumac and lemon juice.
The sumac seasoning isn’t the North american variety, that is toxic, but a different Arabic variety perfectly suitable as a seasoning for food. you also may see a shredded salad of cucumbers, green peppers, tomatoes, onions and parsley with either lemon juice, sumac and olive oil or a yogurt dressing.
Salad seasonings will vary slightly by region, but contain the same basic ingredients. the main course is grilled skewers of chicken or lamb – beef is accessible, but not popular – in the kind of kabobs. Kefte kebab is ground meat shaped into balls or chunks with seasonings. Kibbeh is also served, delicious very little balls of bread surrounding a filling of ground meat and walnuts with seasoning.
You might see Fatah, that is ground meat mixed with browned almonds and parsley, served over a soupy bed of hummus and a drizzle of olive oil -a very rich dish that’salso used as a dip for bread.
After dinner, it’s into the streets for dessert, to stroll and gossip with the neighbours! Damascus has an incredible array of sweet outlets, and plenty of of them keep open quite late to supply goodies to the “after dinner” crowd.
You’ll see lots of slices of quite elaborate cake – gateaux – and little spherical balls that appear as if shiny doughnuts. These are baklawa (also spelt baklava) that tastelike doughnut balls soaked in honey. Another dessert which is more probably to be served at home, for a special day is RuzHalib – a rice pudding served in an enormouspan, that everybody attacks with spoons! Yallah! Bring your toothbrush to damascus, the sweets will make your teeth ache!