We finally had the chance to travel to Syria in 2019 and try some amazing food in Syria. This was a country that had been high on our bucket list for a long time. Instantly, we fell in love with the warm hospitality of the people, the stunning architecture, and the atmosphere and vibe of the capital, Damascus. It’s no surprise that some of our favourite memories from Syria are ones that include food. So what is it about food in Syria that was so memorable?
We’ve always been huge fans of Middle Eastern food. After our trip to Syria, this cuisine is right up there with the best food we’ve ever eaten in the entire world.
So what is food in Syria like?
To sum it up, imagine fresh ingredients, aromatic spices and meals always packed with flavour. The care taken to prepare each dish to taste just right and look equally beautiful is consistent. Any foodie can appreciate when that all-important ingredient is present in each and every dish, and we found it in everything we tasted here.
We’re talking about love! Syrian people cook with love and passion.
Seriously, whether eating out in restaurants, from the lady cooking pizza in her oven on the side of the road, the chicken schwarma guy on the street or from our hotel breakfast buffet – we never had a bad food experience in Syria.
We travel to learn about different cultures, to educate ourselves and to experience incredible sights and meet extraordinary people – but we also travel for food!
Syria has also been one of the best food journeys we’ve ever taken and we can’t wait to return in the future to enjoy so much more.
Here are our favourite dishes and must-try food in Syria:
1. Ful Medames – Syrian breakfast
This is a typical breakfast dish. It doesn’t look so pretty in pictures, but wow does this dish taste amazing!
Fava beans, parsley, onion, tomato, lemon juice, olive oil and tahini bring this warming dish together to create a winner! Eaten with a basket of fresh Syrian bread to scoop it all up – this meal is heart-warming.
Wandering around the Old Town, we stumbled upon this bakery cooking one of our favourite street snacks. We entered and asked to take a few photos of the baker slinging them out at a rapid pace.
Naturally, we ordered a couple to eat. They refused to take any money from us and they giggled at the delight on our faces as we bit into one.
We’ve eaten these little minced meat pizzas mixed with spices and herbs before. These are called svehha in Syria. However, they’re eaten in other Middle Eastern countries and throughout Central Asia too.
Possibly my favourite dip of all time! This is another dish that is found in most Middle Eastern countries. But the best hummus I’ve eaten was right here in Syria and on a different trip to Jordan.
Hummus is prepared using fresh chickpeas, tahini (sesame puree), lemon juice, garlic and salt. Then, it’s blitzed together to produce the most wonderful, creamy dip ever.
Usually served with hot pita bread, either by itself or as an accompaniment to other dishes. To sum it up, it’s a real her of Syrian cuisine.
5. Fattoush salad
After taboulleh, fattoush is the most well-known salad of Syria. The best thing about this salad is the crunch of the chunky pieces of fresh tomato, cucumber and radish, the unmistakable flavour of the sumac in the dressing and the thin crisp pieces of flatbread to soak up the dressing. Believe me, it’s very special.
Many locals eat fattoush by placing a spoonful into a lettuce leaf, wrapping it up and eating it with the fingers.
6. Yalanji (Stuffed vine leaves)
Yalanji is a Syrian appetiser, usually served cold. These little parcels of goodness are made using grape leaves which are stuffed with rice and a variety of vegetables. We certainly had one too many.
The secret to a good yalanji is when the rice filling is packed full of flavour using ingredients such as garlic, lemon and fresh herbs.
Tabbouleh is arguably the most well-known salad in Syria and Lebanon. A vegetarian salad made of finely chopped parsley, with tomatoes, fresh mint, onion and bulgur wheat. In addition, the salad is seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
The simplicity of this salad is what makes it so popular. Simple, fresh ingredients come together to produce a healthy, fresh dish which is usually served as part of a mezze in the Arab world.
8. Baba ghanoush – Best food in Syria
Popular in Arab countries throughout the Middle East – This smoky roasted eggplant dip with tahini, garlic, lemon, olive oil and spices is delicious. Baba ghanoush is usually served as an appetizer or mezze. It can be used as a dip or for example as a spread. And is typically served at room temperature.
9. Grilled Meat Kebab
There are so many varieties of kebab in Syria. Predominantly, kebab is made from minced lamb, mixed with garlic, parsley, spices and then grilled over charcoal.
Often served with different salads, dips, vegetables and of course, bread.
Did you enjoy our blog about food in Syria? If yes, please leave us a comment below. But most importantly, which Syrian food would you like to try?
TRAVEL PLANNING RESOURCES
✈️ Flights:Aviasales & WayAwayare the best websites to book the cheapest flights.
🏨 Accommodation: Booking.com, Agoda, andHotellookare the top platforms to search for fantastic hotels and accommodation options at the best price.
🚌 Transportation: To book trains,Trainline is the best and cheapest website. To book transport in Europe, USA & Canada, we useOmio & FlixbusUS. For travel in Asia, we use 12Go.For all other countries, we use BookaWay to compare and book Bus, Ferry, or train tickets to get around.
We highly recommend you plan some time to visit Lebanon at the same time. We enjoyed this country so much and our independent day trip to Baalbek was amazing. Here is how to get to Baalbek from Beirut using public transport.
For more of our travel tips, knowledge and advice to help you travel more, visit our Travel Resources Page.
Rach is a self-confessed travelling foodie. Her passion for food and culture has seen her eat her way through 190 countries. She's currently on a big food adventure to visit EVERY country in the world!
When Rach isn't travelling, you can find her at the beach, drinking coffee or wine with friends or chowing down on the best eats around her home city of Melbourne, Australia.