Visiting a Lebanese or Middle Eastern restaurant can be a daunting task for you and your family if your a “first timer”. With so many different dishes on the menu from it’s difficult ordering something you know you’d like, but also something your children will enjoy.
Here, we narrow it down for you, listing the top 5 dishes that children (and adults) from Lebanon eat regularly and often when they dine out or eat at home. Not only are these dishes healthy and tasty, they’re good for the kids as well.
5 Kid-Friendly Dishes from Lebanon
Hummus is made from boiled and mashed chickpeas blended with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic. It the most popular dish throughout the Middle East (including Turkey), North Africa and in Middle Eastern cuisine around the globe. All Lebanese restaurants serve hummus and children love dipping fresh Arabic bread (khobz) into it. Eating hummus in Lebanon without Arabic bread is unheard of.
2. Mixed Grill
This is a popular main course meal usually ordered after mezze (appetizers) consisting of an assortment of grilled meats such as chicken, beef, lamb chops and kofta (meat with spices). Mixed grill is best served with a side of fattoush (mixed salad with fried bread) and hummus for dipping. Let the kids pick and choose their favorite meats and sample away!
3. Grape Leaves
Stuffed grape leaves are most often picked fresh from the vine and stuffed with a mixture of rice, meat, and spices, then cooked by steaming and usually served as an appetizer or as a main dish. You will find that children often love the “cold, vegetarian” version of grape leaves which is similar to the Turkish dolmas.
4. Shawarma (Chicken)
Shawarma is a style of meat preparation, where either lamb, chicken or beef are placed on a spit and grilled. Shavings of the shawarma meat are cut off the block of meat and served in on a plate with rice or in a sandwich wrap similar to the Turkish doner kebab and the Greek gyro. Lebanese children eat chicken shawarma served with a side of rice.
The pizza of the Arabic world, manakish is a round bread sprinkled with either cheese, ground meat or herbs (zaatar). It’s ideal for breakfast or lunch. Varieties come from both fancy Levantine restaurants or street vendors and the cheese manakish is a kid favorite!
Lebanese cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the West in the last few years because of its fresh, aromatic, healthy dishes. That’s because Lebanese cook with and use a lot of olive oil, lentils and chickpeas which are a good source of healthy fats, protein and fiber.
As more and more people all in love with Middle Eastern cooking, don’t be surprised if you see one pop up in your neighborhood real soon!
This post is part of our new series Global Learning for Kids. Each month we will feature a country and host a link party to collect all the various posts people about teaching kids about that country–crafts, books, lessons, recipes, etc. It will create a one-stop place full of information about the country.
This month we are learning all about Lebanon, so visit our main page to link up below any old or new posts designed to teach kids on Lebanon–crafts, books, lessons, recipes, music, and more!
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