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Traditional Damascus Food

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Cuisine is an integral part of any local culture, and no trip to Damascus is complete without tasting the local food. This directory offers information about the traditional dishes and drinks available in Damascus to help visitors better understand the local food culture and make an informed decision when trying them.


  • Bathenjan: eggplant dip.
  • Fatayer: triangular shaped pastry, filled either with spinach or cheese.
  • Hummus: dip or spread made from cooked, mashed chickpeas, blended with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic.
  • Kibbi Nayeh: minced raw meat of lamb or beef mixed with fine bulgur and spices.
  • Koubeiba: dish made of bulgur (crushed wheat) or rice and chopped meat.
  • Labneh: yogurt with a consistency between that of yogurt and cheese, with distinctive sour taste.
  • Manoushi Bread: popular Syrian bread.
  • Pastırma: spicy, air-dried cured beef delicacy.
  • Shanklish: type of cow's milk or sheep milk cheese.
  • Syrian Onion Bread: bread made with white flour with the aromatic topping of onions, mint and spices.



  • Fattoush: salad made from toasted or fried pieces of pita bread combined with mixed greens.
  • Makdous: tiny eggplants stuffed with walnuts, red pepper, garlic, olive oil and salt.
  • Shanklish salad: salad made with goat cheese, vegetables (peppers, tomatoes, onions) and spices.
  • Tabbouleh: salad traditionally made of bulgur, finely chopped parsley and mint, tomato and spring onion, seasoned with lemon juice and olive oil.

Main courses

  • Bamia: meat and okra stew with tomato sauce.
  • Batata Harra: potatoes, red peppers, coriander, chili, and garlic, all fried together in olive oil.
  • Bathinjan Ma' Bayd: eggplant omelette.
  • Circassian chicken: chicken meat and creamy and nutritious walnut sauce.
  • Dolma: grape leaves stuffed with meat and rice.
  • Fatteh: pieces of toasted or fresh flatbread are used as a foundation upon which various ingredients are added on top for the bread to be mixed and crushed with it.
  • Ful medames: cooked and mashed fava beans served with olive oil, chopped parsley, onion, garlic, and lemon juice.
  • Kibbi bil sanieh: spiced beef or lamb mince and pine nuts, baked between two layers of kibbeh.
  • Kousa mahshi: squash, courgettes or zucchini, which are stuffed with rice and meat.
  • Lamb with Okra (Syrian Style): lamb meat, chopped okra, minced garlic, tomato paste, lemon juice and seasonings.
  • Macaroni bi Laban: yogurt pasta.
  • Makloube: upside-down dish made with chicken and rice.
  • Mujaddara: lentils cooked with groats, wheat or rice, garnished with roasted onions.
  • Samaka Harra: spiced fish.
  • Sayadieh: baked fish with rice.
  • Syrian Noodles with Lentils: vermicelli, lentils, chopped onions, minced garlic cloves, cumin seeds, coriander, cayenne pepper, bay leaf.
  • Syrian Rice With Beans: is made with Vermicelli, rice, butter, tomato sauce, onions, garlic, water, salt and green beans.


  • Baklava: sweet pastry made of layers of filo pastry filled with chopped nuts and sweetened with syrup or honey
  • Halva: dense, sweet confection.
  • Harisi: semolina cake.
  • Kanafeh: sweet made of very fine vermicelli-like pastry.
  • Karabij: sweet delicious pistachios filled cookies.
  • Ma'amoul: small shortbread pastries filled with dates, pistachios or walnuts.
  • Za'atar Swirls: za'atar, flour,salt,sugar,yeast.
  • Znood Es-sett: filo pastry with cheese, sugar, pistachios, melted butter, rose water and oil.

Fast food

Street food

  • Falafel: ball or patty made from ground chickpeas and/or fava beans.
  • Pide: round pocket bread.
  • Shawarma: grilled meat rolled into a sandwich wrap, served with sauce and vegetables.
  • Shish taouk: grilled chicken meat pieces in a pita wrap, with lettuce, tomatoes, and pickled turnips, or with rice and salad.

Drinks (Non-alcoholic)

  • Arabic Coffee: is a general name that refers to the way coffee is prepared in many Arab countries.
  • Ayran: cold beverage of yogurt mixed with cold water and sometimes salt.
  • Jallab: type of syrup made with carob, dates, grape molasses and rose water.
  • Sahlab: beverage made from salep flour.
  • White coffee: can refer to any of a number of coffee or herbal tea beverages worldwide.

Drinks (Alcoholic)

  • Arak (Araq): is a highly alcoholic spirit from the anis drinks family.
  • Barada: most popular beer.

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