The History of Lebanese Cuisine

Situated between the east and the west, Lebanon is a culinary and cultural crossroad where western civilisation is believed to have begun.

Situated between the east and the west, Lebanon is a culinary and cultural crossroad where western civilisation is believed to have begun. The cuisine of this ancient land is diverse and engraved in history with both the eastern and western influences evident in its cuisine.

A unique cultural history has paved the way for Lebanese food to be categorised as one most popular of Middle Eastern cuisines. For the majority of history, Lebanon has been ruled by foreign powers that have influenced the Lebanese cuisine. From the 16th Century, the Ottoman Empire controlled Lebanon and introduced a variety of foods that have become staples in the Lebanese diet, including baklava, pickled vegetables and lamb dishes.

After the Ottomans, France took control of Lebanon, when the country won its independence. During this time, the French introduced an array of their most widely eaten foods, particularly treats such as cheese and a variety of pastries. The genius of Lebanese cookery is the simplicity and freshness that rely on the product of the sun, the sea and the land. It has the sophistication and finesse of the European cuisine with the exotic aromas of Middle Eastern spices.

Today, the cuisine of Lebanon is the epitome of the Mediterranean diet. It includes an abundance of starches, fruits, vegetables, fresh fish and seafood. It also includes copious amounts of garlic and olive oil. While the cuisine of Lebanon doesn’t boast an entire repertoire of sauces, it focuses on herbs, spices and the freshness of ingredients; the assortment of dishes. The meals are full of exotic, earthy flavours and their desserts jam-packed with succulent rose water and orange blossom.  

The food of Lebanese culture is a celebration of life; it’s fresh, colourful and incredibly diverse. At Zahli Restaurant, we pay homage to the authentic flavours of Lebanese cuisine combining traditional dishes with a modern twist.

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