Middle Eastern Food Influences

Middle Eastern food on the whole encompasses dishes from across the whole Middle East, this divided into Arabic and non-Arabic influences. Despite being separated by a small stretch of the Red Sea and connected by the Gulf Aqaba, Egypt is classed as Arabic and Israel is non- Arabic. 

The three prominent religions of the Middle East are monotheistic; Islam, Christianity and Judaism. Whilst its thought that the religious Holy texts prohibit the consumption of pork due to hygiene and food safety, it is a practice that the majority of Jews and Muslims continue today. Meaning that, in the section of the Middle East we are focusing on, Lamb and Mutton are the preferred meats- if any at all. 

From this section of the world, is a spice mix we use here at Yorks, every single day. Dukkah or Daqqa is an Egyptian spice mix of herbs, nuts and spices. The word is derived from the Arabic word ‘to pound’. The nuts and spices are cooked off then blended to form a spice mix served as a side or starter, traditionally served with olive oil on raw vegetables or bread. 

Jewish culinary traditions date back 3000 years and over these years their traditions have been shaped by influences from Africa, Asia and Europe. Traditional Jewish food is based on locally grown produce and spices that were imported, due to the close proximity of the east-west spice trade route. 

In modern times, many Israelis have adopted a mediterranean style diet. There has been a lot of outside influence on people diets in general due to migration and the way in which we now trade and export products. Fun fact of the day: Bagels are a Jewish food, brought to New York City by the Orthodox Jewish community in the 17th century when Hasidic Jews began to settle there. The bagel was developed and fiercely protected by the Bagel Bakers Local 338 in the early 20th century.