Street Eats: A Culinary Tour of the Middle East

The Middle East is renowned for its vibrant and diverse culinary scene, offering many flavors and aromas. Among these delights, street food holds a special place; these treats not only satisfy your hunger in a flash but are also known for their irresistible flavors.

The Middle East is bustling with vendors dishing out savory snacks and hearty meals on the go, and the streets are full of an array of delicious treats.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the iconic street foods that have captivated palates across the region.


Falafel is a staple of Middle Eastern street food culture. Crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, falafel balls are made from ground chickpeas mixed with herbs and spices like cumin and garlic. These flavorful balls are deep-fried to perfection, resulting in a delicious snack or filling for sandwiches.

You can find falafel vendors lining the streets of cities like Cairo and Beirut, serving them with tahini sauce, pickles, and fresh vegetables.


The Middle East culinary icon, Shawarma, maybe the most beloved street food in the region. Thinly sliced layers of seasoned meat, typically chicken, beef, or lamb, are stacked on a vertical rotisserie and roasted slowly until tender and flavorful.

The protein is then shaved off and served in rice or flatbread, along with tahini sauce, hummus, and crunchy vegetables.

Whether in bustling markets or busy street corners, shawarma stands are a common sight across all Middle Eastern countries.


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Koshary, the hearty Egyptian dish, is a comforting street food favorite that satisfies hunger with its flavorful combination of ingredients. A mix of rice, lentils, and macaroni is topped with spicy tomato sauce and topped with crispy fried onions and chickpeas.

Koshary vendors can be found in Cairo and other Egyptian cities, serving up steaming bowls of this wholesome dish to eager customers.


This Egyptian street food specialty is a must-try for food lovers exploring the flavors of the Middle East.

Hawawshi is made by stuffing a pocket of dough with a spiced mixture of minced meat, onions, and herbs. The filled dough is then baked or grilled until golden and crispy, resulting in a delicious handheld treat.

Whether enjoyed on the streets of Alexandria or Cairo, hawawshi is not to miss.


These Moroccan potato fritters are a popular street food snack enjoyed across the Middle East. Maakouda is made from mashed potatoes mixed with herbs, spices, and sometimes minced meat or vegetables. It is shaped into patties and fried until crispy and golden brown.

Maakouda can be found in Moroccan street markets, serving up these irresistible snacks alongside spicy harissa sauce.


Tunisian brik is a delectable street food that offers an amazing blend of flavors and textures. This savory pastry is made by layering thin sheets of pastry dough and filling them with a mixture of tuna, herbs, spices, and a raw egg. The pastry is then folded into a triangle or rectangle and fried until crispy and golden.

Brik vendors can be found in Tunisian markets and coastal towns.

The Middle East holds a treasure of delectable street foods. Whether you’re exploring the bustling streets of Cairo, Beirut, or Casablanca, be sure to pass by these iconic dishes that have been satisfying appetites for generations.

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