On this Easter Sunday it is time again to pass judgement on two world cuisines on The World Cup of Food. One of Taiwan and Lebanon will be eliminated form our competition and one will advance to meet the winner of Switzerland and Hungary in the round of thirty-two.
A fine example of how Lebanese cuisine has been exported around its region, shish taouk (recipe follows) can be found in eateries from Egypt to Iraq to Turkey. Marinated chicken cut into cubes is skewered and grilled over a fire until charred on the outside and is served (at least in Lebanon) alongside hummus or inside a pita with grilled vegetables and the Lebanese garlic sauce toum.
Fattoush (recipe follows), the Lebanese salad of diced vegetables and toasted or fried pieces of pita bread, is gaining in worldwide exposure of late, now widely available at most Middle Eastern (and a lot of Greek and Turkish) restaurants. It is our impression that most Americans, though, are unfamiliar with fattoush and its crispy texture and bright, fresh flavors. We would like to do our part, however small, to change that.
Lebanese cuisine has been one of the most underrecognized, highly influential cuisines in the world. Lebanon’s position at the far eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea has historically made it a crossroads for travelers moving between North Africa, the Middle East, and Europe, and as a result a surprising number of dishes popular from Greece to India owe their existence to the food traditions of the tiny country, including hummus, baba ghanouj, fattoush, tabbouleh (recipe follows), tahini, and every superhero’s favorite, shawarma.