Hommos: the History of a Favourite Served at the Best Lebanese Restaurant in Sydney
Hommos is a cherished favourite in Lebanese restaurants across Sydney. Over the last few decades, the creamy, vegan dip was thrust into popularity around the world, possibly due to migration over the years, and definitely because of the dish’s deliciousness. As common as hommos is and as universally popular as it has become, many people do not understand the history of this Lebanese dish.
At Zahli, we truly believe in knowing where your food comes from as that is what makes cuisines that are rooted in history as special as they are. For this reason, we’ll share a brief overview of the history behind hommos so that you can appreciate our food as much as you love to eat it.
Does our Lebanese restaurant offer traditional hommos?
Like many other Lebanese restaurants in Sydney, we also offer hommos to our diners. At our restaurant we offer two versions of hommos:
— Hommos: A traditional version is made by blending chickpeas with tahini, garlic and fresh lemon juice. We recommend this dish to anyone trying hommos for the first time, or to vegans and vegetarians who are in search of a traditional but satisfying dish.
— Hommos with meat: This dish is made with our traditional hommos which is then topped with minced meat and crunchy pine nuts. This version is common in Lebanon and is perfect for meat-lovers or anyone who wants an explosion of flavours.
Who invented hommos?
A great way to start off with an overview of the history of hommos is by discussing which country in the Middle East can claim hommos. The Lebanese, Turks, Syrians and every country in between have long battled to claim hommos. While a healthy debate is certainly welcomed, the true origin of hommos is almost impossible to determine.
The combination of chickpeas, lemon, garlic and sesame paste (tahini), have been eaten in several countries for centuries. The main ingredient of hommos, chickpeas, have been around for more than 10,000 years and according to Anissa Helou, Syrian-Lebanese author of several Middle Eastern cookbooks, is one of the earliest legumes ever cultivated. Tahini, the sesame paste that’s key to the hommos’ nutty flavour, is mentioned in Arabic cookbooks dating back to the 13th century, however, the genesis of the dish is difficult to find.
Hommos is eaten in several different countries
As you’ve probably been able to surmise from the previous section, hommos is not just eaten in Lebanon or Syria, but all over the Middle East and Egypt. Depending on the country that you eat hommos in, there will be some minor changes. Here’s a brief overview of hommos in different countries (apart from Lebanon).
Egypt – Hommos is eaten with pita bread and flavoured with cumin and other spices.
Palestine – It is garnished with olive oil, mint leaves, paprika, and parsley.
Palestine & Jordan – Laban ma’ hummus is served which substitutes the tahini for yoghurt and the olive oil for butter.
Israel – Hommos is spiced with paprika.
Turkey – Hommos is oven-dried with pastirma.
Did you know there was a hommos war?
Yes, there was an actual hommos war! It began when Lebanon accused the Israeli people of trying to steal and make hommos their national dish. This caused a food feud and prompted Fadi Abboud, the Lebanese minister of tourism, to settle the food with a plate of hommos that was large enough to be recognised by the Guinness Book of World Records.
What happened? The Lebanese made a plate of hommos that weighed approximately 2,000 kilograms! This did, in fact, set the record. In response, Jawdat Ibrahim, a famous Arab-Israeli hummus joint in Abu Ghosh, Israel produced a plate of hommos that weighed 4,000 kilograms. However, this didn’t stop the Lebanese who counter-attacked with a hommos plate weighing 10,452 kilograms. The war stopped there with Lebanon holding the record since 2010.
While the hommos war has been settled, the origin of hommos has not. Most Lebanese people believe that hommos came from the motherland. Regardless, the dish’s rich history and popularity make it a staple at any Lebanese restaurant.
If you are interested in indulging in authentic Middle-Eastern food as well, then Zahli, Modern Middle Eastern restaurant can gladly provide a memorable meal. Zahli is here to provide you with a culinary experience like no other. Call us on (02) 9318 2228 to reserve a table or for pick-up orders.