vegetables. Familiar dishes include lamb shanks, Tunisian egg rolls, roast chicken with couscous, cucumber yogurt salad, meatballs, and baklava ( phyllo pastry layered with honey and chopped nuts) for dessert. Bahrain meals consist of falafel (fried balls of mashed chickpeas), shawarma (shaved lamb or chicken in pita bread), quzi (fried lamb stuffed with eggs, onions, and spices), and lobster stew. Qatar dishes include majboos (marinated chicken, lamb, camel, or fish served in rice) and saloona (a type of beef, lamb, or fish stew with potatoes and carrots). Hand washing before and after meals is essential, as most people throughout the region use their hands to eat. That said, some people also use a broad range of utensils, including spoons, forks, and knives. Most Middle Eastern meals involve dishes that require spoons, due to various ingredients like rice and couscous. People avoid using their left hand to eat, whether picking up food or using your utensils with it. Doing so is thought to bring bad luck or even to showcase evil traits.


Historians believe that the first coffee shops opened in and around Mecca in the mid-15th century. From there, the use of coffee spread across the region, and by the 16th century, the bitter brew was found in North Africa and Turkey. The Italians brought coffee from the Middle East to Europe in the early 17th century. Coffee is an integral part of many Muslim’s lives. They are forbidden from drinking alcohol, but caffeine is an acceptable vice.

Middle Eastern


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