9 Must-try food in Syria
Food in Syria

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.

What is the 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. Maybe the secret why food in Syria is so good.

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! 

9 Must-try food in Syria in Aleppo
9 Must-try food in Syria – Syrian food is simply amazing.

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.

9 Must-try food in Syria
9 Must-try food in Syria – Ful Medames is served for breakfast

2. Svehha

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.

travel to damascus pizza in syria
9 Must-try food in Syria – Svehha

3. A typical Syrian breakfast (what a feast!)

Breakfast time in Syria – We loved waking up to this huge spread each morning at our hotel in Damascus. If you are interested to learn what is it like to travel to Syria, read our blog Travel to Damascus, Syria – What it’s really like.

Each morning, our breakfast consists of eggs, halawa, Syrian cheeses, hummus, fresh jam, laban arabi (sheep’s milk yogurt), laban baqari (cow’s milk yogurt), labneh, makdous (oil-cured eggplants), olives (green & black), olive oil, shanklish (cheese), sliced cucumber & tomato, za’atar, Arabic bread and tea.

In conclusion, one of the best breakfasts we ever had.

Our hotel in Damascus was the famous Beit Al Mamlouka.

9 Must-try food in Syria Breakfast
9 Must-try food in Syria – Breakfast at our hotel was simply insane.

4. Hummus

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 hero of Syrian cuisine. 

9 Must-try food in Syria Hummus
9 Must-try food in Syria – Some of the best hummus of the Middle East is in Syria

5. Fattoush salad

After taboulleh, fattoush is the most well-known salad in 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 their fingers.

9 Must-try food in Syria
9 Must-try food in Syria – Food in Syria is healthy with lots of salad options.

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.

9 Must-try food in Syria vine leaves
9 Must-try food in Syria – Stuffed vine leaves

Our best travel tips from 20+ years of travel

7. Tabbouleh – the best Syrian salad

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.

Syrian Food - 9 Must-try food in Syria
9 Must-try food in Syria – Tabbouleh is our favourite salad

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8. Baba ghanoush – The 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 kebabs in Syria. Predominantly, kebab is made from minced lamb, mixed with garlic, parsley, and spices and then grilled over charcoal.

Often served with different salads, dips, vegetables and, of course, bread.

9 Must-try food in Syria meat kebab
9 Must-try food in Syria – Syrian kebab

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?

If you’re planning a trip to Syria, read our post about how to travel to Syria – everything you need to know. Before you get excited about all the food in Syria, know about the visa process.

It’s not so easy to get a Syrian visa, so our post about getting a Syrian visa and how to do it may be helpful to you.

To give you an idea about what to expect in the capital city, we share our experience here – Travel to Damascus in Syria – What is it really like?

We highly recommend you plan some time to visit Lebanon at the same time. We enjoyed this country so much; our independent day trip to Baalbek was terrific. 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.