Lebanon and good food are two words that are usually mentioned in the same sentence. Therefore is you fancy some fine dining in Dubai, a Lebanese restaurant is a smart decision. If you like small bites with a large variation, Lebanese mezza is definitely for you.
To help you to choose here are the five most popularly cold and warm served mezza: Hummus, Moutabal, Warak Enab, Habra Nayeh & Kebbe Nayeh, Moujadara, and Sambousek, Fried Kebbe, Soujouk, Chicken Liver, and Makanek.
One of the most famous cold mezzas in the world is Hummus. This delicious paste of chickpeas, Tahini – sesame oil – lemon, and a twist of garlic is delicious with freshly baked pita bread. It is topped with olive oil and also serves as a great dip for grilled poultry or meat. In Europe, it is often smeared it onto their sliced bread instead of using butter. Some good variations are Hummus topped with pine nuts or small cuts of beefsteak, which is called in Arabic Hummus Bil Lahme.
Another famous cold mezze is Moutabal, or Baba ghanoush. This paste is made of cooked eggplant mixed with tahini, and topped with olive oil and is sometimes mixed with onions, tomatoes, and other seasonings. Delicious when dipped with freshly baked, warm pita or toasted saj bread. Like hummus, Moutabal is quite commonly served as a side dish at a Lebanese meal.
Stuffed wine leaves, in Arabic Warak Enab, is another cold mezza worth trying. These rolled and stuffed grape leaves are a refreshing cold snack. They are usually filled with a mix of rice, tomato, parsley, and occasionally minced meat. Once stuffed and rolled they are cooked in a broth that contains a lemon twist. In one word: delicious.
Habra & Kebbe Nayeh
For raw meat lovers, Habra Nayeh and Kebbe Nayeh are definitely something you a try. Habra Naye is raw meat – comparable to steak tartare – flavored with a pinch of salt, pepper and served with a garlic dip. Kebbe Nayeh is a variant with fine bulgur, onion and spices, sometimes served with a chili dip. Both dishes are often eaten with bread, beware where you are when ordering raw meat, bad meat can not only ruin a dish but is extremely bad for the digestive system. With the best Lebanese restaurants in Dubai you can be sure that they serve the healthy ones.
Moujadara is another worthy cold mezza one could make at home. It is traditionally vegetarian and healthy dish made out of a mix with lentils and rice, and often garnished with cabbage and caramelized onions.
A well-known warm mezza is Sambousek. It is a small savory pie that can also be made as a vegetarian mezza. Before being deep fried the dough is commonly stuffed with a mix of meats – beef or lamb – sometimes mixed with fresh labneh. The vegetarian option is the one stuffed with feta cheese, parsley and onion.
A frequently served warm mezza at a Lebanese household is Fried Kebbe. This Lebanese deep-fried, meatball mix made of minced beef, bulgur, with a core of fine cut onion and pine nuts is truly tasty. A good match with hummus dip and freshly baked pita bread of course.
For the sausage lovers grilled Soujouk is a finger-licking sensation. This originally Armenian-Turkish dish, consists of a mildly spicy sausage made with beef or in some parts of Eastern Asia, horsemeat. A feast for the mouth when topped with a tomato sauce and kashkaval cheese.
For the connoisseur, the Lebanese style Chicken Liver is something that should be tried at least once. In Lebanon, it is often served as a delicacy on special occasions. It is sautéed with lemon, garlic and pomegranate molasses.
Another popular warm mezza is Makanek. It’s a Lebanese sausage like soujouk, but more spicy. Makanek are made of lamb or beef, and sometimes a mix of both. Ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg are used as main spices. When topped with garlic, lemon, and topped with pine nuts these sausages are difficult to resist.
Try the some brilliantly made versions of the above mentioned dishes at top Lebanese restaurants located in the heart of Dubai like Grand Café Boulvard. Cheers!