From the 11th and 12th centuries, western Europe, the eastern Mediterranean, and the Middle East have shared and indulged in one another’s cultures. Thanks to an influx in trade in the Eastern Mediterranean area and the Crusaders invaded different areas, people from places such as Greece, Armenia, Egypt, Turkey, Syria and the Middle East (including places such as Lebanon and Jordan) began to share ideas about food and ways of life. This beautiful combination of cultures, explains the Daily Sabah, is called Levantine.
Levantine stems from the French word “levere,” which means “rise of the sun.” Despite Levantines having such a long history, their traditions are still popular today and that includes the appreciation for Levantine cuisine.
Why Do People Love Levantine Cuisine?
Although you may not have heard the term Levantine before, there’s a good chance that you will have tasted Levantine food. One of the most popular examples of Levantine food includes hummus. As highlighted by Deliveroo.com.au, hummus is enjoyed in a variety of ways, including as a flavorsome dip for falafel, a delicious spread for a lamb shawarma roll (shawarma is a Levantine dish, too), or as a tantalizing topping on pita bread, alongside tahini, baba ganoush, and fresh and aromatic salad.
Levantine dishes are also often served as vegetarian alternatives to meat. For example, juicy beef burgers become grilled halloumi patties while the light and fresh salad tabouleh (tomatoes, onion, parsley, mint and bulgur) make eating your greens far more exciting.
Levantine cuisine has spread across the world as people from Levantine cultures have emigrated to new destinations, taking their scrumptious recipes and cooking methods with them, sharing them with a new audience. It means that whether you’re on the golden coast of Australia or in a midwestern city in the United States, there’s a good chance that you know someone with Levantine heritage or that the cuisine has found its way to your doorstep.
Where to Eat Authentic Levantine Cuisine
After a turbulent time, the Middle Eastern tourism industry is picking up, with sightseers and foodies hoping to catch a glimpse of local wonders such as the Rub’ Al Khali and Mada’in Saleh and enjoy a refreshing bite to eat as they do so. However, you needn’t renew your passport and catch a flight if you’re looking to eat authentic Levantine cuisine.
As noted, migration means that there will likely be Levantine people who live near you, including restaurants run by those with Levantine heritage who are offering up modern twists on classics like falafel, shawarma, also finding new things to do with condiments such as hummus.
Because there are significant Levantine populations around the world, you can also find some limited options of Levantine foods such as chickpeas and pita bread in local supermarkets. Spinning these into full Levantine dishes yourself may be quite difficult, though, so you may want to bypass DIY in favor of eateries.
So there you have it, without buying a fancy appliance or spending your air miles you can still taste some of the wonderful wonders of the culinary world.