National Dishes of the Middle East


A national dish is a culinary dish that is strongly associated with a particular country. A dish can be considered a national dish for a variety of reasons although many nations have favorite or popular dishes but not necessarily a national dish.

When a Middle Easterner or an Arab think of Mansaf, Jordan instantly comes to mind and same goes to the Egyptian dish Ful Mudammes and the Saudi dish Kabsah. So many of the Middle Eastern nations have their own national dish and some nations boast more than one as in the case with  the Palestinian cuisine.

Of course, not all countries have a national dish and some countries share popular or favorite dishes as in the case with the nations of the Arabian (Persian) Gulf.
Since this is not a food blog, we have no recipes to offer you but there are many food blogs and ton of websites that offer thousands of recipes. 

Here are a few good food blogs: (some are no longer active but they have good archives)

Anissa Helou

Syrian Foodie in London

Turmeric & Saffron

Allrecipes - Middle Eastern Recipes

Hummus with Tabbouleh

Taste of Beirut

Orange Blossom Water

Here is a list of all Middle Eastern countries with their respective national dishes or popular (favorite) dishes. Items in bold indicates an "unofficial" national dish followed by other popular dishes

Jordan - Mansaf, Mjederra, Oozi, Kofta

Lebanon Kibbeh, Tabbouleh, Halawat Al Jebneh, Kofta, Sayadiyah, Sujuk

Egypt - Ful (fool) Muddames, Koshary, Moloukhiya, Falafel

Yemen - Saltah, Mandi, Ogdat

Palestine Makloobah, Musakhan, Falafel,, Knafeh, Mloukhiyah, Mjederra

Oman - Mashuai, Machboos, Shuwa, Kebab (curried)

Syria - Kibbeh, Kebab Halabi, Shanklish, Kofta, Muhammara, Sujuk

Saudi Arabia - Kabsah, Mutabbag, Oozi

Kuwait - Machboos,  Margoog,  Harees, Mutabbag, Balaleet, Quwarmah Ala Dajaj

Bahrain Muhammar, Machboos Margoog,  Harees, Mutabbag

Qatar - Harees, Machboos, Kabsah, Balaleet

United Arab Emirates Popular dishes are blend of the Levant and the Gulf region but Shawarma seems to be UAE's favorite dish!

Morocco - CouscousTajine, Harissa, Harira, B'ssara, Pastilla

Tunisia - Couscous, Lablabi, Harissa, Marqa, Brik, Ojja

Algeria Couscous,  Harisa, Merguez. Harira, Makroudh, Mechoui

Libya - Osban, Asida, Bazeen, Couscous

Iraq Samak Mashouf,  Kleicha, Iraqi Kebab

Sudan Ful (fool) Masri, Kammonia

Non-Arab Middle Eastern Countries:

Armenia Harissa, Khash, Dolma, Lavash

Afghanistan Kabuli Pulao, Kabebs, Oorma, Manto, Shoaba

Turkey - Doner Kabob, Yaprak Sarma, Pilav, Dolma, Kofte, Manti, Lahmacun

Iran Chelo-Kabob, Ghourmeh SabziBademjan, Baghali Polo, Tahdig, Jeweled Rice

Somalia - Halwa, Canjeero, Anjara, Doro Wat

Mauritania Thieboudiene , Yassa Poulet, Mahfe