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Food in Syria

Syrian food is Arabic, similar to the Middle Eastern food found elsewhere, especially in Jordan and Lebanon. Mezzeh or small starters, which include hummus (made of chick peas), tabbouleh (a parsley and tomato salad) and maqlubbeh, or steamed rice, topped with grilled sliced eggplant, meat, tomato and pine nuts. Mar-ya is a thin pastry base with a mincemeat and spice topping, folded over and cut into sandwich like squares. Among deserts, baqlawa, a flaky pastry with nuts and honey, and Halawat al-jibna, a speciality of Hama, is a soft doughy pastry filled with cream cheese and topped with syrup and ice cream. Coffee is an important ritual in Syria and is consumed in vast quantities. Alcoholic beverages are easily available despite Islamic prohibition. But public display of drunkenness is objected to and drinking publicly in the month of Ramadan is forbidden. 'Araq', similar to the Greek uzo, is the local liquor, usually had with meals diluted with water. Fresh fruit juices are available everywhere.

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