Introduction The Middle East has a rich and long history that stretches back to the very beginnings of human civilization. Historians believe that the first known cultures and civilizations began around the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers about 14,000 years ago. As a result, the Middle East is often known as the cradle of civilization. Here, some of the first cuisine cultures began and spread throughout the world. Middle Eastern food is varied yet universally aromatic and retains a unique simplicity of preparation and depth of flavor. The history and development of Middle Eastern cuisine are just as varied, and in modern times, its influence on the food scene has increased with its presence throughout the rest of the world. Think of 50 countries around the world. Chances are, you can find a falafel shop in just about all of them. Different regions have their distinct food cultures, but similarities exist based on a shared history and connected cooking style. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Qatar: These three Arabian peninsula nations have unique cultures that have influenced each other heavily throughout their history. However, they all have similar takes on dishes such as harees , qemat , biryani , and seafood. Yemen, Oman, and United Arab Emirates: For these Gulf states, fresh seafood has been the centerpiece of their cuisine for centuries. Meat and rice are other staple foods, with mutton and lamb more plentiful than beef or goat. Favorite dishes include saltah , majboos , and hareeth . Iran, Iraq, and Kuwait: These Persian Gulf neighbors have a long and contentious history but share a love of flavorful food. Kuwaiti cuisine is a fusion of Arabian, Iranian, and Mesopotamian (Iraqi) cuisine. Iraqi cuisine comes from a blend of many cultures, including Persian, Babylonian, and Kurdish. In addition, Iranian cuisine draws upon Persian food as a significant cuisine type.
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