Top 30 Popular Middle Eastern (Arabic) Street Foods, Snacks and Sweets


Top 30 Popular Middle Eastern (Arabic) Street Foods, Snacks and Sweets

This is our take of the top and favorite Middle Eastern (Arabic) dishes. It was originally Top 10 foods but we had to expand it to Top 30 foods. The Middle Eastern cuisine is so rich and varied, it would be almost impossible to have just 10 Top dishes. 

Additionally, this list is only for quick foods, street foods, snacks and sweets. So traditional dishes such as the Moroccan Tajine, The Saudi Kabsa, the Jordanian Mansf, or the Syrian Kebab will be listed under another list (coming soon). In that list, we will explore the top traditional "home cooked" dishes from various nations of the Middle East - specifically the Arabic nations which comprise the majority of the Middle East.

The following list is not in any particular order but Hummus is certainly number one! You can check out ton of recipes for any item below on Google or Pinterest and see food blogs below:

Anissa Helou

Syrian Foodie in London

Turmeric & Saffron:

Allrecipes - Middle Eastern Recipes

Hummus with Tabbouleh

Taste of Beirut

Orange Blossom Water


Hummus a creamy, garlicky, lemony,  protein-packed dip. It's all the rage in this country now, the most ubiquitous Arabic food to reach the American table. The most common Middle Eastern dish in the U.S., this dip made its way into grocery store aisles a long time ago. Typically made of mashed chickpeas, tahini, olive oil and garlic with a splash of lemon juice, it’s often served as an appetizer accompanied by pita bread, but you’ll also find it smeared on wraps and other sandwiches. The best kinds come with a drizzle of olive oil on top and a sprinkling of spices like Za’atar, paprika, sumac, or cumin. See Hummus post.

Baba Ganouj / Moutabal

Baba ganouj (second most common dip after hummus) is a popular dip made from eggplant and tahini. It has a smooth, creamy texture, and a slightly smoked taste. It is traditionally served with pita bread (toasted or fresh).

Pita Bread (Khubz Arabi

Pita bread is served at just about every meal in the Middle East. It can be used for dipping, or to make delicious sandwiches in the pocket. In the Middle East, pita is made in brick ovens, where very high heat can be achieved. In some Middle Eastern countries, it is called khubz.


Tabbouleh is an Arabic vegetarian dish traditionally made of tomatoes, finely chopped parsley, mint, bulgur and onion, and seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice, and salt. Some variations add garlic or lettuce, or use couscous instead of bulgur. Tabbouleh is a Lebanese favorite dish.


Falafel is the ultimate Middle Eastern street food. It's made from ground chickpeas, minced parsley, onions and spices, then fried for a crunchy outer layer while the inside is nice and soft.  As a main dish, it is served as a sandwich, stuffed in pita bread with lettuce, tomatoes, and tahini. As an appetizer, it is served on a salad, or with hummus and tahini. Falafel is a favorite among vegetarians.


Made of strained yogurt and has a cheese like consistency. It makes a great alternative to sour or cream cheese. Spread it on bread, bagels, or fresh pita. It is even better on fresh fruit! Labneh is popular for breakfast in the Middle East.

Arayes  (meat stuffed pita)

Arayes are pita bread sandwiches stuffed with minced lamb meat, tomato, onion and different spices.  Although it’s a popular market and restaurant food in the Levant region, Arayes are ideal choice for barbecue and cookouts.


Baklava (Baklawa)

Baklava is a rich, sweet pastry made of layers of filo filled with chopped nuts and sweetened and held together with syrup or honey.

Ful (Fool) Mudammes

Ful Mudammes (pronounced fool) is boiled fava beans with spices. Foul is traditionally served warm and topped with minced chili peppers, dices tomatoes, parsley and lots of olive oil. Ful is an Egyptian dish dating back to ancient Egypt.


The pizza of the Arabic world, manakeesh 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 Levant restaurants or street vendors.


Fattoush is a Levant bread salad made from toasted or fried pieces of pita bread combined with mixed greens and other vegetables, such as radishes and tomatoes. Fattoush like tabbouleh is a very common side salad or dish.


Meat, glorious meat! The Middle Eastern version of rotisserie, shawarma refers to a big block of lamb, beef, chicken or some combination of the three that is placed on a spit with spices and slowly roasted over a flame, yielding tender shavings to be devoured on their own or, more likely, in a pita wrap with tahini, hummus and pickled vegetables. Sound like a diner kebab or gyro that you've devoured before? Right you are: those two are shawarma's cousins.

Shish Tawook (Chicken Kabob)

Shish tanoak is a traditional marinated chicken shish kebab of Middle Eastern cuisine. It is widely eaten in Turkey, Azerbaijan, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, the Palestinian Territories.


Kunafa (Knafeh)  is a Levantine dessert made from spun shredded wheat that is filled with cream, cheese, or nuts and raisins. The pastry, which is originally from Nablus, a city in the West Bank of Palestine, is cooked with butter which helps it get a golden brown crust when baked.

Fatayer (Spinach, Meat or Cheese Pies)

Fatayer  (pies or pastries)  comes in different shapes and flavors from spinach to cheese to meat stuffed pies. Fatayer are one of the most popular snacks in the Middle East.

Warak Inab Mahshi (meat stuffed grape leaves)

Grape leaves stuffed with rice and lamb or ground beef and spices. Not quite a quick meal as it is labor intensive but it is a very popular dish in the Levant and Egypt. Other variations include stuffed zucchini or kousa mahshi. 


Kibbeh, kibbe, kebbah (falafel meaty cousin) is a Levantine dish made of bulghur, minced onions, and finely ground lean beef, lamb, goat or camel meat with Middle-Eastern spices. Kibbeh can be fried or baked. Kibbeh is a popular Lebanese dish and is often eaten raw (kibbeh niyyeh).

Grilled / Fried Cheese 

Grilled cheese can be made from:

-Nabulsi Cheese (from the city of Nablus, Palestine) also called Jibneh baida is a firm white cheese, with a high melting point, a pungent flavor of goat and sheep milk, and a salty tang that will leave you reaching for bread.  Fried and served with eggs, or as part of a mezze, this cheese is hearty enough that it can be served as a side dish. 

-Halloumi cheese is a semi-hard, unripened brined cheese made from a mixture of goat's and sheep's milk, and sometimes also cow's milk. It has a high melting point and so can easily be fried or grilled.

Basbousa, Hareessa, Namoura

A sweet cake made of semolina, same wheat used in pasta and couscous, soaked in simple sweet syrup; sometimes the syrup is flavored with coconut or rose water. Basbousa can be eaten with nuts, heavy cream or plain. In Egypt this dessert is called Basbousa and its called  Namoura in Lebanon and Syria and Hareessa in Jordan and Palestine.


Couscous is a traditional North African dish of semolina, which is cooked by steaming. It is traditionally served with a meat or vegetable stew spooned over it. Although couscous is mainly a North African dish, it is gaining popularity in the Middle East and Europe.

Sfiha (Lahma Ba'ajeen)

Sfiha is a pizza-like dish (open faced meat pie) originating from the Levant mostly likely Lebanon.


Shakshoukah or shakshuka is a dish of eggs poached in a sauce of tomatoes, chili peppers, and onions, often spiced with cumin. It is believed to have a Tunisian origin.


Not quite a quick meal but it's a simple dish and very easy to make. .Mujaddara or Mjedarrah  consists of cooked lentils together with groats, generally rice, and garnished with sautéed onions. Simple lentils and rice dish. Thin pasta noodles or bulgur can also be used. Red lentils are not so good for this one, green or brown work best. There are quite a few varieties of Mujaddarah depending on the region or country.

Shish Kabobs (Lamb or Beef)

Shish kabab (also known as Lahm Mashwi in the Arab world) is a skewer with marinated cubed lamb or beef and vegetables (onions, tomatoes, green peppers) and is usually grilled. Although originating in the Middle East, shish kababs are popular world wide with many nations having their own version or method of cooking. Kabab is usually served with pita bread or Arabic flat bread and accompanied with Arabic salads and hummus.

Kofta Kabobs (Ground Lamb / Beef)

Kofta kabob  is usually prepared by mixing minced lamb or ground beef with onions, parsley and spices such as all spice, cumin, cinnamon, salt and pepper. It is then shaped into balls or cigar shaped-cylinders and grilled or broiled. Kofta is served with hummus or tahini sauce, Arabic salads and Arabic flat bread or pita.

Tahini Sauce

Tahini (sesame paste) is  Middle Eastern pantry essential and is the foundation for many dishes such as hummus and baba ganouj. Tahini sauce is made by thinning out the tahini paste. Basic recipe for tahini sauce is mixing tahini paste with water, lemon juice, fresh garlic and salt. Other ingredients are cayenne papper, cumin and parsley. Tahini sauce often accompanies kofta kabobs and falafel. Tahini sauce also used for baked fish and kofta.

Umm Ali

Tis Egyptian dessert staple is made of phyllo pastry, milk, double cream, nuts and is sometimes topped with raisins, powdered sugar and coconut flakes.

Arabic (Palestinian) Salad

Salad made of diced tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and green peppers. Chopped parsley, dry or fresh mint, olive oil and fresh lemon juice is added and also a pinch of salt. Arabic also know as Palestinian salad usually accompanies rice such as mjedarrah and maklouba.


These oil-cured tiny eggplants are very popular in Lebanon, Syria and Palestine. They are normally stuffed with walnuts and garlic.  They function as a plate on a mezzeh/tapas table, as a perfect snack when scouting your fridge for something yummy to eat or as an accompaniment to a main dish.

Shorabet 'Adas (Lentil Soup)

 Rich, creamy soup made of lentils, minced onions, cumin and other spices. 

Turshi (Pickled Vegetables)

Turshi is made of variety of pickled vegetables. Turnips, cucumbers, beets and eggplants are the most popular pickled vegetables. Most Arabic dishes are served with turshi. Pickles are usually added to shawarma and falafel sandwiches.