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The Beginner’s Guide to Lebanese Food

The Beginner’s Guide to Lebanese Food

If you've never tried Lebanese food, it may all seem a little mysterious. When you first look at a menu, the names may not be familiar, but actually, there's often something similar in a different cuisine that you already know.

Much of Lebanese cooking is similar to Greek and Italian cooking, thanks partly to their geographical vicinity and similar local produce. This is a cuisine that can be very healthy, with lots of fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains and pulses like chickpeas going into many of the dishes. Poultry features as much - if not more than - red meat in the Lebanese diet, and there's always plenty of garlic and olive oil in Lebanese cooking.

If you're interested in trying some new flavours, we've highlighted some popular Lebanese dishes here for you to sample.


If you like pizza, you'll love the Lebanese version, which is called manakeesh. It's made with a fresh dough base that's oven-baked, and toppings can include meat, cheese, kishik (cracked wheat paste) and zaatar (thyme). Like other pizzas, the toppings can be hugely varied.

Man'oushe Street has all kinds of Manakeesh on its menu. From the simple options like Egg 'N' Cheese and Akkawi Cheese through to choices like Lahmeh Bi A'jine 'N' cheese, which comes with minced meat, tomatoes and pomegranate molasses, topped with three cheeses.


Shawarma is meat cooked on a vertical spit that's grilled for up to 12 hours. When ordered, it's shaved off the spit and served on a plate with salad and hummus or in a sandwich or wrap. Shawarma makes for a great lunch or dinner at home or in the office, and one of our preferred places to get it from is Shawarma Time.


Many Lebanese foods have similarities to Greek foods; falafel is popular in both countries, as well as ingredients such as parsley and tomato. Made from ground chickpeas, rolled into balls and deep-fried, falafel is often served in a pita sandwich with salad and hummus or tahini sauce and is a great hit with vegetarians and meat-lovers alike.

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At Kris Kros, one of the most popular dishes is the Falafel Sandwich Large Combo, but if you want falafel without the bread, there's a choice of a half-dozen or dozen of falafel with veg and tarator, or the Falafel Salad on the menu too.


Mashawi are a classic staple dish in Lebanese cooking, where barbecued meats are served on pita, or with french fries and salad. The meat can be cooked as kebab, shish taouk or kofta.

At Mazaher, the Mashawi Kafta comes with Lebanese kofta, eggplant kebab, and orfoli kebab, all served with horro crispy bread.

You may also want to consider the Mazaher Mashewe Mshakale, a big mixed grill plate that includes lamb, lamb kofta, chicken kofta, shish tawook and lamb chops served with grilled veg and sauces. Make sure you're hungry if you order this one!

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Like every other cuisine, Lebanese cooking has traditional desserts too. One of the favourite sweet treats in Lebanese cuisine is kunafeh - also known as kanafeh and knafeh.

It can be eaten as a sugary snack anytime, of course, but it often appears on breakfast and dessert menus. It can even be served on bread as a sandwich. Essentially, it's a cheese pastry, with pistachios and a sugary syrup topping. What's not to like? The Cheese Knafeh at Zyara in Media City can be delivered to your door whenever you feel like a bit of a sugar rush.

Any of these dishes will give you a little taster of what Lebanese food has to offer. And the good news is that you don't even need to leave home to try them - Deliveroo delivers them all.

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