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Middle Eastern cuisine is quite diverse, with a wide range of flavors and ingredients, whilst also sharing many common local ingredients, such as olives, olive oil, dates and parsley. When visiting the Middle East, the number of new dishes can sometimes seem overwhelming, so OROGOLD has put together some must-try dishes for the next time you’re in the region.

Creamy hummus with pita chips and olive oil in a bowl.

Hummus
This is a common and simple Middle Eastern dip made from chickpeas, olive oil, tahini paste, lemon juice and garlic. When ordered on its own, it is usually served with pita bread, making it the perfect appetizer or snack. It is also served with other dishes, such as a shawarma, as its delicious taste and texture makes it the perfect accompaniment to meat.

Traditional shawarma with sauce on a plate.

Shawarma
This is one of the most commonly eaten foods in Dubai, which has led to its growing popularity across Asia. Meat, usually lamb or chicken, is placed on a spit and grilled for up to a day, after which shavings are cut off the meat and served. Although you can have the meat on its own, the term ‘shawarma’ usually refers to a sandwich or wrap with the shawarma meat inside, and is often served with small accompanying dishes.

Stuffed Camel
This may seem off-putting at first, but camel meat is common in the Middle East, and is considered a delicacy in many areas. This dish, which won a place in the Guinness Book of Records for being the largest single food dish, is a popular one for big gatherings, as a whole camel is stuffed with herbs and spices, as well as chicken, eggs and other ingredients, before being roasted over an open flame. The meat is rich and tender, and is a must-try dish for those who have never eaten camel before.

Closeup of a tabbouleh salad on a rustic table.

Tabbouleh
Tabbouleh is a vegetarian Middle Eastern dish that is often considered to be a salad, as it is made from chopped tomatoes, parsley, mint and onion, and seasoned with olive oil and fresh lemon juice. It is usually served as part of a mezze, which is a large platter with different dips, salads and snacks. Although simple, it is extremely refreshing and energizing, and makes the perfect mid-day snack.

Ghuzi
This is a dish that you will find in restaurants across the Middle East, and is especially common in Dubai. It is made from a whole roasted lamb, served on top of a specially made rice that contains vegetables and nuts. Onion juice is also added to the rice whilst it is cooking, giving the dish a tangy edge. If you are looking for a filling authentic meal that will give you a true taste of Middle Eastern cuisine, you won’t go wrong with ghuzi.

There is such a variety within Middle Eastern cuisine, and many destinations have their own versions of common dishes, often completely changing the flavor profile. Local cuisine will vary depending on which country you visit, but you are bound to find delicious dishes that will please even the pickiest of eaters.

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