Always A Happy Tummy at Hossein’s!

Hossein’s Persian Kebab is a favorite cheat place for me and my companions every time we go to Metro Manila1.

hosseinPhoto from: https://www.facebook.com/hosseinspersiankebab/photos/a.226129307478327/1138618449562737/?type=1&theater

This restaurant specializes in halal2 Persian, Arabian, Indian, Iranian, and Eastern Mediterranean3cuisine. It is one of the first Middle Eastern4 cuisine restaurants in the Philippines.

Chef Hossein Sohrabi is the person behind Hossein’s. He wanted to showcase his Persian culture and history as well as his family’s traditions, adding his own modern twist, along with Arabian, Indian, Mediterranean5 and South Asian6 specialties.

IMG_4877 - CopyChef Hossein Sohrabi (Photo from:  https://www.facebook.com/hosseinspersiankebab/photos/a.226129307478327/1138618449562737/?type=1&theater)

He established his first restaurant – Hossein’s Persian Kebab – in 1985 on Jupiter Street, in Makati City, with just three tables. He was the cook, the wait staff, the marketing department, the dishwasher, and the janitor, all at once. He would be cooking the orders in front of his guests, and serving it to their table. Then, after his guests have finished eating, he would clear the tables, buss the dishes, and wash them once he gets to the sink. He had burned hands from grilling kebabs, cut hands from slicing garnishes, bruised hands from washing dishes, and body aches from carrying supplies – all in a day’s work. No one in Metro Manila then knew what kebab was, or if there even was a market for it. He just did what he loved to do, seven days a week, 364 days a year.

He later moved to the ground floor of LKV Building in Makati Avenue which is now Habibi7, his shisha8 bar. The second floor, renovated in March 2018, became the main restaurant, with his son as architect. The walls of the stairs leading to the second floor has a Persian rug design, painted by a British painter.9

There are now has six outlets in Metro Manila1, all open daily from 11 AM till 12 MN:

  1. MAKATI AVENUE – 2/F 7857 LKV Building, Makati Avenue (right across Burgos Street), Makati City – Tel. (02) 890-6137, 890-5928; Fax (02) 890-5803
  2. MAKATI AVENUE – HABIBI SHISHA BAR – 1/F, 7857 LKV Building, Makati Avenue (right across Burgos Street), Makati City – Tel. (02) 890-9174, Fax (02) 890-5803
  3. GREENBELT – 2nd Level, Greenbelt 3 (above Starbucks), Ayala Center, Makati Avenue, Makati City – Tel. (02) 729-0266; Fax (02) 729-0267
  4. SERENDRA – 2nd Level, C-201 Serendra, Bonifacio High Street (in front of Fully Booked), Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City – Tel (02) 856-0632, 856-1278; Fax (02) 916-0056
  5. TRINOMA – Unit 4005, Level 4, Trinoma Mall, EDSA North Avenue, Quezon City – Tel (02) 901-5613
  6. ALABANG – Unit F &B007, Cluster 2, The Street, Alabang Town Center, Muntinlupa City – Tel (02) 511-8899

977924_460542687370320_823213007_oPhoto taken from: https://www.facebook.com/hosseinspersiankebab/photos/a.438484959576093/460542687370320/?type=3&theater

I have dined in three outlets (Makati Avenue, Greenbelt and Serendra) and all my dining experiences were satisfying, but my favorite is the Makati Avenue branch at the second floor (see above).

Let me share with you my latest dining experience (May 2019).

My group of five decided to have an early dinner to meet up with a relative later in the evening in Makati so we sped to the said branch. Parking was available in front of the building because we came early. IMG_4899-ok

Use the side stairs to go to the 2/F dining areaIMG_4898-ok

IMG_4900-ok

IMG_4901-ok

We went up the stairs and upon entry, we were greeted and ushered to a comfortable table for five with very good ventilation on a hot and humid late afternoon.

The interiors, lighting fixtures and decorations show the Middle Eastern4 influences and exude a very relaxed dining experience.BeFunky-collage-1-interiors-ok

IMG_4908-okThe bar, Hossein’s Persian Kebab, Makati Avenue

The layout of the dining area allows for intimate dining for pairs and groups of 4-6.BeFunky-collage-2-interiors-ok

We were given menu cards and let me share with you the menu (pictures taken from the menu card):

APPETIZERS – MEZZE10IMG_4878-appetizers-ok

SALADS, SOUPS, BREADIMG_4879-soups-salads-bread-ok

KEBAB11 SPECIALTIES

IMG_4882-kebab-ok

CHELOU12 SPECIALTIESIMG_4884-chelou-ok

MIDDLE EASTERN4 SPECIALTIES AND RICE SPECIALTIESIMG_4886-ME Specialties-ok

CURRY AND SOUTH ASIAN6 SPECIALTIESIMG_4887-Curry-South-Asian-1-ok

IMG_4888-Curry-South-Asian-2-ok

SANDWICHES AND SHAWARMA,13  BEVERAGES, SHAKES AND JUICESIMG_4889-SW-Shawarma-ok

DESSERTS, TEA AND COFFEE1-desserts-tea-coffee

ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES

1-bevs

We selected a relatively light meal, in anticipation of more food to follow when we meet up with our relative. Two of the members of the group were dieting – low carb and no sugar– but were willing to cheat a bit so we ordered:

1.Roti Channai, a Malaysian puffed sweet bread, served with a special sauce made with a blend of Indian spices (PHP 140 each)

IMG_4897-bead-okSorry, 1/4 of the roti was already taken before I could take a picture.

OMG! I am so in love with this flaky, moist flatbread, and that is why we had three orders! It was served hot, and after you pull a piece and dip it in the sauce, it was so satisfying. Its texture – a combination of soft, flaky layers with crisp-chewy parts, along with the delightfully sweet-oily taste is enough for me to eat it plain – without a dip. The dip is like icing on the cake for me. You need to try this, trust Tita S!

2. Mega Kebab I, a chelou12 specialty which is a Persian kebab11 platter consisting of 2 sticks each of beef kubideh14, beef shish kebab15, chicken kebab, with grilled tomatoes on the side, and served on a bed of biryani16and saffron rice (PHP1,755)

IMG_4896-kebabs-ok

This order is ideal for a group of four to five people, depending on your level of hunger and other orders. The beef and chicken kebabs were so tasty, tender, and cooked just right. The combination of rice and grilled tomatoes with small amounts of grilled onions complemented the kebabs to the max!

3. Tabbouleh, the customary Syrian salad made of a mélange of bulgur17, delicately chopped parsley, and diced tomatoes, dressed with lemon juice and olive oil (PHP525, family size) 

IMG_2416-ok

This bulgur-vegetable dish was so refreshing with just the right amount of dressing. This is a wonderful side order with any kebab11 choice in this restaurant.

A male member of the group ordered two bottles of San Miguel Beer (PHP108 per bottle), all served well chilled.

You might find this restaurant a bit pricey but it is worth it. So indulge when you can, treat yourself, you deserve it! And, do not forget your senior citizen cards for your discount! Please check prices with the restaurant before visiting this restaurant.

The service was very professional. Orders were served as promised, at the right temperature, and with appropriate accompaniments. Water glasses were immediately refilled.

I went to the restroom and it was well-maintained and well-stocked, with good water pressure, and smelled really good. There is a separate cubicle for males and females.

The bill was promptly presented upon request and our senior discounts were deducted.

Bottomline, I recommend Hossein’s for (dieting or cheating) seniors and non-seniors! I counted their dishes and it totaled 251, along with 66 kinds of beverages, so there is definitely a dish and a drink for everyone! Absolutely a happy tummy always!

Information and some pictures were obtained from the website: www.hosseins.com and https://www.facebook.com/hosseinspersiankebab/

This is not a sponsored post. I paid for all my visits in the different branches of this restaurant.

Did you find this post informative? Do you also dine at Hossein’s? What outlet/s do you frequent? I would like to hear from you. Simply scroll to “Leave a Reply” and enter your comment in the box. Please scroll and click the “Like” tab and “Facebook” to share this post. Do not forget to follow me by clicking “Follow” on the lower right corner of your device.

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The following terms are defined for interested readers, especially non-Filipinos, those with “Senior-Moments”, and those too busy or lazy to Google such terms:

 1Metro Manila is the official and administrative urban area in the southwestern portion of Luzon surrounding Manila, established in 1975. It is the center of culture, economy, education and government of the Philippines. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Metro Manila”.19

2Halal is the Arabic word which means “permissible” in English, with food particularly prepared in accordance to Islamic law, especially meat processed and prepared in accordance with those requirements (e.g., Allah’s name must be pronounced during slaughter; the animal must not be unconscious; the animal must have been fed a natural diet that did not contain animal by-products; the instrument must be very sharp to ensure humane slaughter and the animal must be slit at the throat; the animal must be hung upside down and allowed to bleed dry; eating blood is not halal). These steps must be accomplished by a Muslim or the People of the Book (Christian or Jew).20, 21

3Eastern Mediterranean countries are geographically to the east of the Mediterranean Sea, and include Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Palestine, Syria, and Turkey. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Eastern Mediterranean”.22

4Middle East is a transcontinental region centered on Western Asia23, Turkey and Egypt. It consists of the following countries: Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Middle East”.24

5The Mediterranean countries are those that surround the Mediterranean Sea. Southern Europe25, the Levant26 and North Africa27 regions border the Mediterranean, in addition to two island nations – Cyprus and Malta. Here are the countries and territories bordering the Mediterranean Sea: (1) Southern European coast: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, France, Gibraltar, Greece, Italy, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Slovenia, Spain, and Turkey; (2) Levantine coast: Cyprus, Israel, Lebanon, Palestine (Gaza Strip), and Syria; (3) Northern African coast: Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “List of Mediterranean countries”.28

6South Asia, or Southern Asia, is the term used to represent the southern region of the Asian continent, bounded on the south by the Indian Ocean, and on land (clockwise, from the west) by West Asia23, Central Asia29, East Asia30, and Southeast Asia31. It consists of the territories of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “South Asia”.32

7The term habibi is an Arabic term that literally means “my love”, but sometimes translated as “my dear,” “my darling,” or “beloved”.33

8Shisha is the term used in the Arab Peninsula (Algeria, Bahrain, Kuwait, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Tunesia, UAE, Yemen), Egypt, Sudan, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, by the Moroccan immigrants in Spain, and the Arab and Indian communities in Southeast Asia32) for the single- or multi-stemmed waterpipe used to vaporize and smoke flavored tobacco, where vapor or smoke is passed through a water basin, often glass-based, before inhalation. People in the Arab world and the Middle East4 smoke these waterpipes as part of their culture and traditions, Social smoking is held during parties, small get-togethers, and in (Middle Eastern) cafés. Hookah is the Indian term for shisha. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Hookah”.34  (I will insert 2 pics from Wiki here and give proper credit)

9www.primer.com.ph/food/cuisines/indian/hosseins-persian-kebab-in-makati

10A meze, mezze, or mezza, is a selection of small dishes served as appetizers in parts of the Middle East4 (as a multi-course meal), the Balkans35 and Greece (as snacks while drinking or talking), and North Africa27. It is generally accompanied by distilled drinks like arak, mastika, ouzo, raki, rakia, or tsipouro. It may also be consumed with beer, wine and other alcoholic drinks. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Meze”.36

11Kebabs are various cooked, skewered or not skewered, (cut up or ground) meat (or seafood) dishes, sometimes with fruits and vegetables, with origins in Middle Eastern4 cuisine, with variants throughout Asia and even worldwide. In the Muslim world, a kebab is any of a wide variety of grilled (cooked on a skewer over fire) meat dishes. It can also be grilled, baked in a pan in an oven, or as a stew, and served with various accompaniments. It is traditionally made of mutton, but regional variations use beef, goat, chicken, or fish. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Kebab”.37

12Chelou, or chelow kebab, is an Iranian dish consisting of cooked rice and one of many varieties of kebab11. It is considered the national dish of Iran. It is served with accompaniments such as butter, sumac powder, basil, onions, and grilled tomatoes. The traditional beverage which accompanies chelou is doogh, an Iranian yogurt-based drink, sometimes made of carbonated water. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Chelow kebab”.38

13Shawarma is a Middle Eastern4 meat preparation based on the Turkish döner kebab39, originally made of seasoned mutton. Modern versions are also made of beef, chicken, turkey or veal, cut into thin slices, and stacked in a cone-like shape on a vertical rotisserie. Thin slices are shaved off the cooked surface as it continuously rotates. Spices added include cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, paprika and turmeric. It is commonly served as a sandwich or wrap, in a flatbread such as pita40 or laffa41, often garnished with diced tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions, pickled vegetables, and tahini42 sauce or amba43 mango sauce. Some restaurants may offer additional toppings like grilled peppers, eggplant, or French fries. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Shawarma”.44

14Kabab kubideh/koobideh/kubide is an Iranian meat kebab11 made from ground lamb or beef, and less commonly chicken, often mixed with parsley and chopped onions. Salt, garlic, black pepper, celery powder, sumac, very finely grated onion and one egg yolk per pound of meat are added. All ingredients are mixed, covered, and left to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight. It is then grilled on skewers, traditionally over hot coals, and is served with polo (Iranian rice pilaf with oil, salt and saffron), accompanied by grilled tomatoes and onions. Sumac (a reddish-purple powder for a tart, lemony taste) is usually served as a tableside garnishing spice. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Kabab kubideh”.45

15Shish kebab is a type of Middle Eastern kebab11traditionally made of grilled cubes of lamb, with other versions like beef, veal, swordfish, and chicken meat. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Shish kebab”.46

16Biryani, biriyani, biriani, birani, or briyani, is a mixed rice dish of the Muslims made of Indian spices, rice, meat (beef, chicken, fish, goat, or prawn), vegetables, or eggs, with regional differences. The condiments and spices used may include ghee (clarified butter), bay leaves, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, garlic, ginger, green chili, mace, mint leaves, nutmeg, onion, pepper, saffron, and tomato. The dish consists of two layers of rice with a layer of meat (or vegetables) in the middle. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Biryani”.47

17Bulgur is a cereal food made from the cracked parboiled groats of several different wheat species, most often with durum wheat, with a light, nutty flavor. It originated in Middle Eastern4 cuisine. It is a common ingredient in cuisines of many countries of the Middle East and Mediterranean5. It does not require cooking, although it can be included in cooked dishes; soaking in water is all that is needed. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Bulgur”.48

19“Metro Manila,” accessed May 9, 2019,https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metro_Manila

20“Halal,” accessed May 9, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halal

21https://www.thekitchn.com/good-question-what-is-halal-me-60979

22“Eastern Mediterranean,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_Mediterranean

23Western Asia includes Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Cyprus, Georgia, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Western Asia”.49

24“Middle East,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middle_East

25Southern Europe, or Mediterranean Europe, is the southern region of the European continent, consisting of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Corsica, Croatia, Cyprus, Gibraltar, the East Thrace of European Turkey, Greece, Italy, Malta, Montenegro, Slovenia, and Spain. Andorra, North Macedonia, Portugal, San Marino, Serbia, and the Vatican City are also often included, despite not having a coast in the Mediterranean. It can also include mainland Southern France and Monaco, which are otherwise considered parts of Western Europe. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Southern Europe”.50

26 The Levant refers to a large area in the Eastern Mediterranean3, primarily in Western Asia23. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Levant”.51

27North Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly accepted scope for the region, but the most commonly accepted coverage includes Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Sudan, and Tunisia. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “North Africa”.52

28 “List of Mediterranean countries,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Mediterranean_countries

29Central Asia is a region which stretches from the Caspian Sea in the west to China in the east, and from Afghanistan in the south to Russia in the north. It consists of the former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. It is also colloquially referred to as “The Stans” as the countries generally considered to be within the region all have names ending with the Persian suffix “-stan”, meaning “land of”. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Central Asia”.53

30East Asia is the eastern subregion of Asia, defined in either geographical or ethno-cultural terms to include China, Japan, (North and South) Korea, Vietnam, geographically and geopolitically to also include Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, and Mongolia. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “East Asia”.54

31Southeast Asia, or Southeast Asia, is a sub-region of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China and Japan, east of India, west of Papua New Guinea, and north of Australia. It is bordered to the north by East Asia30, to the west by South Asia6 and the Bay of Bengal, to the east of Oceania and the Pacific Ocean, and to the south by Australia and the Indian Ocean. It consists of 11 states (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor Leste, and Vietnam), two Australian external dependencies (Christmas Island and Cocos/Keeling Islands), and two internal dependencies (Andaman and Nicobar Islands of India). The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Southeast Asia”.55

32“South Asia,” accessed May 9, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Asia

33https://www.dictionary.com/e/slang/habibi/

34“Hookah,” accessed May 9, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hookah

35The Balkans is a term used more generally for the region, including states in the region, which may extend beyond the peninsula, and is not defined by the geography of the peninsula itself. The Balkans are usually said to comprise Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, and Slovenia. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Balkans”.56

36“Meze,”accessed May 9, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meze

37“Kebab,”accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kebab

38“Chelow kebab,” accessed May 9, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chelow_kabab

39Döner Kebab is a type of Turkish kebab11 made of seasoned meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie. The outer layer is sliced into thin shavings as it cooks. The sliced meat may be served on a plate with various accompaniments, stuffed into a pita40 or other type of bread as a sandwich, or wrapped in a thin flatbread such as lavash57 or yufka58. It inspired similar dishes like the Arab shawarma13, Greek gyros59, and the Mexican al pastor60. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Döner Kebab”.61

 40Pita is a Middle Eastern4 family of yeast-leavened round flatbreads baked from wheat flour, also common in neighboring areas. It is used to scoop sauces or dips, such as hummus62, or to wrap kebabs11, gyros59, or falafel63, in the manner of sandwiches. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Pita”.64

41Laffa, or taboon bread, is a Middle Eastern4 flatbread, traditionally baked in a taboon oven or a tannur, and is similar to the various tandoor breads in many parts of Asia. It is of medium thickness, slightly chewy, and does not tear easily. It is used as a base or wrap in many cuisines, and eaten with different accompaniments. It is a staple in Middle Eastern cuisine worldwide. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Taboon bread”.65

42Tahini is a condiment made from toasted, ground, hulled sesame seeds. It is served by itself as a dip, or as a major ingredient in baba ghanoush66, halva67, and hummus62. Tahini-based sauces are common in Middle Eastern4 restaurants as a side dish or as a garnish, usually including lemon juice, salt and garlic, and thinned with water. The sauce is also a popular topping for meat and vegetables in Middle Eastern cuisine. It is used in cuisines of the Eastern Mediterranean3, the South Caucasus68, as well as parts of North Africa27. It is also used in Chinese and Southeast Asian55 cuisine. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Tahini”.69

43Amba, or anba, is a tangy mango pickle condiment popular in Indian and Middle Eastern4 cuisine, particularly Iraqi, Israeli and Saudi cuisines. It is typically made of mangoes, vinegar, salt, mustard, turmeric, chili and fenugreek, similar to mango chutney. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Amba (condiment)”.70

44“Shawarma,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shawarma

45 “Kabab kubideh,” accessed May 9, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kabab_kubideh

46 “Shish kebab,” accessed May 9, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shish_kebab

47“Biryani,” accessed May 9, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biryani

48“Bulgur,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bulgur

49“Western Asia,” accessed May 9, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_Asia

50“Southern Europe,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_Europe

51“Levant,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Levant

52“North Africa,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Africa

53“Central Asia,” accessed May 9, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Asia

54“East Asia,” accessed May 9, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_Asia

55“Southeast Asia,” accessed May 9, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southeast_Asia

56“Balkans,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balkans

57Lavash is a soft, thin, Armenian unleavened flatbread made in a tandoor (a cylindrical metal oven) and also eaten all over Azerbaijan, Iran and Turkey. It is made with flour, water and salt. The thickness of the bread varies, depending on how thin it was rolled out. Toasted sesame seeds and poppy seeds are sometimes sprinkled before baking. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Lavash”.71

58Yufka is a thin, round and unleavened flat bread in Turkish cuisine, similar to lavash57, usually made from wheat flour, water and salt. It is about 18 inches (40-50 cm) in diameter. The sheets of yufka dough are baked on a heated iron plate called a sac for about 2-3 minutes, turned over once to brown the other side. Before consumption, dry yufka bread is sprayed with warm water. The moistened bread is covered with a cotton cloth and is rested for 10-12 minutes before serving. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Yufka”.72

59Gyro, or gyros, is a Greek dish made from meat (pork, chicken, ground beef, mutton, or veal), cooked on a vertical rotisserie, similar to shawarma13 (of the Middle East4). The roasted meat is sliced vertically in thin, crisp shavings when done. It is generally served wrapped or stuffed in a lightly grilled flatbread (like pita40), and rolled up with sliced tomatoes, chopped onions, tzatziki73 sauce, and sometimes, French fries. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Gyro (food)”.74

60Al pastor, or tacos al pastor, is the Mexican version of Turkish döner kebab39 and the Greek gyros59. It is a pork dish developed in central Mexico that is based on shawarma13 spit-grilled meat, brought by Lebanese immigrants to Mexico. Al pastor literally means “shepherd style” in Spanish. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Al pastor”.75

61“Döner Kebab,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Döner_kebab

 62Hummus is the classic Middle Eastern4 chickpea and sesame dip or spread. Cooked or mashed chickpeas or other beans are blended with tahini42, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic. It is also popular in the Mediterranean5. It is rich in protein, fiber, B vitamins and minerals like manganese. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Hummus”.76

63Falafel is a Levantine77 and Egyptian deep-fried ball, or a flat or doughnut-shaped patty, made from ground chickpeas, fava beans, or both, commonly eaten in Western Asia23, most likely originated in Egypt. Herbs, spices, and onion relatives are commonly added to the dough of this vegetarian dish, considered a street food. The balls are commonly served in a pita40, laid over a bed of salad or pickled vegetables, and drizzled with hot sauce or a tahini42-based sauce. It can also be wrapped in a flatbread called a taboon. It can be eaten alone as a snack, or served as part of an assortment of appetizers called meze10. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Falafel”.78

64“Pita,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pita

65“Taboon bread,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taboon_bread

66Baba ghanoush, baba ganoush, or baba ghanouj, is a Levantine77 appetizer of mashed baked or broiled eggplant mixed with tahini42, olive oil, and various seasonings. It is a typical mezze10, often eaten as a dip with pita40 bread, and is sometimes added to other dishes. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Baba ghanoush”.79

67Halva, halvah, or halwa, is any of various dense, sweet confections, mostly made in the Middle East4, Central Asia29, and the Indian subcontinent80. It could be flour-based, made by frying flour (such as semolina, cornstarch, and rice flour) on oil (like clarified butter or ghee), mixing it into a roux, and cooking it with a sugary syrup, very popular in Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Greece, India, Iran, Pakistan, Somalia, and Turkey. It could also be crumbly and nut butter-based, usually made from tahini42 or other nut butters such as sesame and sunflower, and sugar. Halva can also be based on other ingredients like beans, lentils and vegetables, like carrots, pumpkins, squashes, and yams. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Halva”.81

68The South Caucasus is a geographical region in the southern Caucasus Mountains on the border of Eastern Europe82 and Western Asia49. It roughly corresponds to modern Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “South Causasus”.83

69“Tahini,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tahini

70“Amba (condiment),” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amba_(condiment)

71“Lavash,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lavash

72“Yufka,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yufka

73Tzatziki, cacik, or tarator, is a dip, soup, or sauce found in the cuisines of Southeast Europe25 and the Middle East4. It is made of salted strained yogurt or diluted yogurt, mixed with cucumbers, garlic, salt, olive oil, sometimes with vinegar or lemon juice, and herbs such as dill, mint, parsley and thyme. It is generally served as a cold appetizer (meze10) or a side dish. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Tzatziki”.84

74“Gyro (food),” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gyro_(food)

75“Al pastor,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_pastor

76“Hummus,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hummus

77Levantine cuisine is the traditional cuisine of the Levant26 which covers a large area of the Eastern Mediterranean3. The most distinctive aspect of Levantine cuisine is meze10, including baba ghanoush66, hummus62 and tabbouleh85.The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Levantine cuisine”.86

78“Falafel,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falafel

79“Baba ghanoush,” accessed May 9, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baba_ghanoush

80The Indian subcontinent is a southern region and peninsula of Asia, delineated by the Himalayas in the north, the Hindu Kush87 in the west, and the Arakanese88 in the east. Politically, it includes Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Indian subcontinent”.89

81“Halva,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halva

82Eastern Europe is the eastern part of the European continent, and although there is no common definition of its coverage, the United Nations’ Statistics Division included the following countries: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Russian Federation, and Slovakia, as well as the republics of Belarus, Moldova, and Ukraine.90

83“South Caucasus,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Caucasus

84“Tzatziki,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tzatziki

85Tabbouleh is a Lebanese and Syrian vegetarian salad made mostly of finely chopped parsley, tomatoes, onion, mint, (soaked, not cooked) bulgur17, and seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Some variations add garlic or lettuce, or use couscous91, instead of bulgur. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Tabbouleh”.92

86“Levantine cuisine,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Levantine_cuisine

87Hindu Kush is an 800-km-long mountain range that stretches near the Afghan-Pakistan border, from central Afghanistan to northern Pakistan, according to the Wikipedia page “Hindu Kush”.93

88The Arakan Mountains, or the Rakhine Mountains, are a mountain range in western Myanmar, according to the Wikipedia page “Arakan Mountains”.94

89“Indian subcontinent,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_subcontinent

90http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Eastern_Europe

91Couscous is a Maghrebi95 dish made of (3 mm or 0.12 in.) small steamed balls from crushed durum wheat semonila, traditionally served with a stew spooned on top. It is a staple food throughout the North African27 cuisines of Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunisia. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Couscous”.96

92“Tabbouleh,”accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tabbouleh

93“Hindu Kush,” accessed May 9, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindu_Kush

94“Arakan Mountains,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arakan_Mountains

95The Maghrebi is a major region of North Africa27 that consists primarily of Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunisia. It is also called Northwest Africa, Northern Africa, Greater Arab Maghreb, Arab Maghreb, Greater Maghreb, the Berber world, Barbary, or Berberry. It additionally includes the disputed territories of Western Sahara (mostly controlled by Morocco), and the cities of Ceuta and Melilla (both controlled by Spain and claimed by Morocco). The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Maghrebi”.97

96“Couscous,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Couscous

97“Maghrebi,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maghrebi

Revisiting CAFÉ MEDITERRANEAN: Flavors of the Sun

LOCATION: Lower Ground Floor, Power Plant Mall, Rockwell Drive corner Estrella Street, Makati, Metro Manila 1210

I had a sentimental lunch here with close family while at the Power Plant, remembering my sister-in-law who passed away because this was one of her favorite dining places in the metro.

Café Mediterranean is a cozy, casual Mediterranean1 restaurant that offers “the Mediterranean lifestyle … through fresh, healthy meals with family and friends, finding a balance between work, relaxation, and experiencing the pleasures of an active life.”2 It believes that “sharing meals with friends and family, pausing to taste, smell and enjoy, rather than simply refuel, is one of the most valued foundations of traditional Mediterranean culture!”2

1-dining                                Cafe Med Power Plant dining area, upon entry, to the right

1-dining-1                                 Cafe Med Power Plant, upon entry, to the left

1-fx rm                                            Cafe Med Power Plant function room

Here is a brief history of this restaurant before I share my recent senti-dining experience with you, dearest readers/followers. In 1994, siblings Gonzalo and Giovanna Mabanta, along with Gonzalo’s then sister-in-law Marla Moran, opened the first branch of this restaurant in Greenbelt Mall, and it became an instant hit among the corporate crowd in Makati. The name was derived from Caffe Mediterraneum, a long defunct early 1960’s beatnik hangout in Berkeley, California.2

Café Mediterranean features “fresh, light, yet flavorful, and slightly unusual and interesting menu offerings … the traditional cooking of the 14 or so countries located within the Mediterranean… keeping the key ingredients (olive oil, garlic and tomato) as unifying elements”2. Employees and loyal customers are treated as extended family, thereby exuding a sense of family tradition in the restaurant.2

The menu is customer-friendly, indicating if dishes are vegetarian/vegan, with appropriate descriptions.

Here is the menu:

  1. Appetizers and Little Plates
  2. Soups and Salads

1-menu-1

 

  1. Sandwiches
  2. Pastas
  3. Pizzas

1-fd-2

  1. Gyros3
  2. Gyro Plates
  3. Gyro Platters
  4. Döner Kebabs4

1-fd-3

  1. Large Plates
  2. Kebabs5
  3. Kebab Platters

1-fd-4

  1. Side Orders
  2. Desserts
  3. Beverages

1-fd-5

Prices are inclusive of government taxes, and subject to 10% service charge.

You can also ask your server about the creamy, low calorie, and genuine Gelato Italiano. Perhaps I will try it next time.

1-fd-icream

Now here is my dining experience in this restaurant:

We were only four that lunchtime and we ordered the following: a Kebab5 Platter with Pita6, Tabbouleh7 (served with grilled chicken), and Roti8 (with dip). There were three in my group who had the Zomato9 Gold app but only opted for the 1+1 drink promo so we ordered the Mango Banana Lassi10 and the Lemon Cucumber Shake, with syrup/Splenda11 on the side (to minimize/avoid using sugar).

1-order-1-aThe Kebab5 Platter with Pita6 was very satisfying with a mix of chicken and beef kebabs, fish kebabs and kofta12, with small portions of hummus13, moutabal14, and tabbouleh7. The 5 large pitas6 were served warm and best savored dipped in these accompaniments/dips. We dipped the pieces of grilled chicken, beef, fish and kofta in our individual dipping ware with the sauce served in a bowl. The grilled onions and tomatoes were enjoyed with every bite of the grilled meat/fish and dips, along with the pita. Happy tummies! My favorites were the fish and chicken kebabs since they were very savory, tender and juicy. I found the beef kebab a bit tough and the kofta savory, but too strong for my taste.

We enjoyed dipping pita6 bread and rotiin the accompanying sauces/dips.

1-order-2The Tabbouleh7 (served with grilled chicken) was served chilled. We enjoyed this very refreshing vegetarian salad with the grilled items ordered.

The Mango Banana Lassi10and Lemon Cucumber Shake were both served well chilled and were refreshing. They were good combinations of the major ingredients used for each beverage, and were not too sweet.

1-fd-hummus-bowlsIt was late when I saw a separate menu for Hummus13 Bowls, which are served with two pieces of pita6 bread. I could have ordered one had I seen this menu earlier. I wanted to support Café Mediterranean which is partnering with the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR. All proceeds of these orders go to Syrians displaced by the Syrian War. So, what are you waiting for? You not only get to enjoy a freshly made, hearty and healthy hummus bowl, but you get to help displaced Syrians too.

Contact details: Tel Nos.: (02) 898-1301 or (02) 765-5010; Mario Gutierez (Manager); mario.gutierez@thecafemediterranean.com;    website: https://thecafemediterranean.com/

If you cannot go to Power Plant Mall, here are the other branches of Café Mediterranean in Metro Manila, Laguna, and Davao:

  1. 3rd Floor, 1 Bonifacio High Street (Phil.Stock Exchange), 5th and 28th Streets, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig (coming soon)
  2. 2nd Floor, Corte de las Palmas, Alabang Town Center, Alabang, Muntinlupa City
  3. Unit 45 & 46, Basement 1, Estancia Mail, Capitol Commons, Pasig City
  4. 1st Level, Greenbelt 1, Ayala Center, Paseo de Roxas corner Legaspi Street, Makati City,
  5. Ground Floor, Entertainment Center, SM Mall of Asia, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City
  6. 5th Floor, The Podium, Ortigas Center, ADB Avenue, Mandaluyong City
  7. GFF-8 Ground Floor, Solenand 3, Nuvali, Sta. Rosa, Laguna
  8. Chimes Mall, Davao City

This is not a sponsored post. I paid for my visit in this restaurant.

Did you find this post informative? I would like to hear from you re your dining experience in this restaurant. Simply scroll and click “Leave a comment”. Do share this post with your Facebook friends, follow me by clicking on the bottom right corner of your device, and do not forget to like this post.  Thank you!

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The following terms are defined for interested readers, especially those with “Senior-Moments”, and those too busy or lazy to Google such terms:

1Mediterranean cuisine is characterized by these key ingredients – olive oil, garlic, fresh fruits and vegetables, protein-rich legumes, fish, chicken, whole unprocessed grains, seeds and nuts, with moderate amounts of dairy, wine and red meat15, prepared by people of the Mediterranean region16. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Mediterranean cuisine”.17

2www.thecafemediterranean.com

3Gyro, or gyros, is a Greek dish made from meat (pork, chicken, ground beef, mutton, or veal), cooked on a vertical rotisserie, similar to shawarma18 (of the Middle East19). The roasted meat is sliced vertically in thin, crisp shavings when done. It is generally served wrapped or stuffed in a lightly grilled flatbread (like pita6), and rolled up with sliced tomatoes, chopped onions, tzatziki20 sauce, and sometimes, French fries. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Gyro (food)”.21

4Döner Kebab is a type of Turkish kebab5 made of seasoned meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie. The outer layer is sliced into thin shavings as it cooks. The sliced meat may be served on a plate with various accompaniments, stuffed into a pita6 or other type of bread as a sandwich, or wrapped in a thin flatbread such as lavash22 or yufka23. It inspired similar dishes like the Arab shawarma18, Greek gyros3, and the Mexican al pastor24. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Döner Kebab”.25

5Kebabs are various cooked, skewered or not skewered, (cut up or ground) meat (or seafood) dishes, sometimes with fruits and vegetables, with origins in Middle Eastern19 cuisine, with variants throughout Asia and even worldwide. In the Muslim world, a kebab is any of a wide variety of grilled (cooked on a skewer over fire) meat dishes. It can also be grilled, baked in a pan in an oven, or as a stew, and served with various accompaniments. It is traditionally made of mutton, but regional variations use beef, goat, chicken, or fish. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Kebab”.26

6Pita is a Middle Eastern19 family of yeast-leavened round flatbreads baked from wheat flour, also common in neighboring areas. It is used to scoop sauces or dips, such as hummus13, or to wrap kebabs5, gyros3, or falafel27, in the manner of sandwiches. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Pita”.28

7Tabbouleh is a Lebanese and Syrian vegetarian salad made mostly of finely chopped parsley, tomatoes, onion, mint, (soaked, not cooked) bulgur29, and seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Some variations add garlic or lettuce, or use couscous30, instead of bulgur. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Tabbouleh”.31

8Roti, or chapatti, is a round, unleavened, flatbread native to the Indian subcontinent32, made from stoneground wholemeal flour, traditionally called atta, and water that is combined into a dough. It is also consumed in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and parts of Africa, Fiji, Mauritius and the Caribbean. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Roti”.33

9Zomato is an Indian restaurant search and discovery service, founded in 2008 by Deepinder Goyal and Pankaj Chaddah, and now operating in 24 countries, including the Philippines. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Zomato”.34 

10Lassi, lacchi, chaas, or taak, is a popular, traditional dahi (yogurt)-based drink that originated in the Indian subcontinent32. It is a blend of yogurt, water, spices, and sometimes, fruit. It is traditionally a sweet, savory drink, sometimes flavored with ground and roasted cumin, and served chilled. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Lassi”.35

11Splenda is the commercial name and registered trademark of a sucralose-based artificial sweetener, owned by the American company Heartland Food Products Group, and manufactured by the British company, Tate & Lyle. It is available in both granular and dissolvable tablet forms. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Splenda”.36

12Kofta is a family of savory meatball or meatloaf dishes found in the Indian subcontinent32, South Caucasian37, Middle Eastern19, Balkan38, and Central Asian39 cuisines. It is made of minced or ground meat, usually beef, chicken, lamb, pork, fish or shrimps, mixed with spices and/or onions. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Kofta”.40

13Hummus is the classic Middle Eastern19 chickpea and sesame dip or spread. Cooked or mashed chickpeas or other beans are blended with tahini41, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic. It is also popular in the Mediterranean16. It is rich in protein, fiber, B vitamins and minerals like manganese. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Hummus”.42

14Moutabal is a smoked eggplant and tahini41 dip, and sometimes has cumin.43 It is similar to baba ghanoush14, a Levantine44 appetizer of mashed, baked or broiled eggplant, mixed with tahini, olive oil, and various seasonings. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Baba ganoush”.45

15www.eatingwell.com

16The Mediterranean countries are those that surround the Mediterranean Sea. Southern Europe46, the Levant47 and North Africa48 regions border the Mediterranean, in addition to two island nations – Cyprus and Malta. Here are the countries and territories bordering the Mediterranean Sea: (1) Southern European coast: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, France, Gibraltar, Greece, Italy, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Slovenia, Spain, and Turkey; (2) Levantine coast: Cyprus, Israel, Lebanon, Palestine (Gaza Strip), and Syria; (3) Northern African coast: Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “List of Mediterranean countries”.49

17 “Mediterranean cuisine,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mediterranean_cuisine

18 Shawarma is a Middle Eastern19 meat preparation based on the Turkish döner kebab4, originally made of seasoned mutton. Modern versions are also made of beef, chicken, turkey or veal, cut into thin slices, and stacked in a cone-like shape on a vertical rotisserie. Thin slices are shaved off the cooked surface as it continuously rotates. Spices added include cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, paprika and turmeric. It is commonly served as a sandwich or wrap, in a flatbread such as pita6 or laffa50, often garnished with diced tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions, pickled vegetables, and tahini41 sauce or amba51 mango sauce. Some restaurants may offer additional toppings like grilled peppers, eggplant, or French fries. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Shawarma”.52

19Middle East is a transcontinental region centered on Western Asia53, Turkey and Egypt. It consists of the following countries: Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Middle East”.54

20Tzatziki, cacik, or tarator, is a dip, soup, or sauce found in the cuisines of Southeast Europe46 and the Middle East19. It is made of salted strained yogurt or diluted yogurt, mixed with cucumbers, garlic, salt, olive oil, sometimes with vinegar or lemon juice, and herbs such as dill, mint, parsley and thyme. It is generally served as a cold appetizer (meze55) or a side dish. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Tzatziki”.56

21“Gyro (food),” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gyro_(food)

22Lavash is a soft, thin, Armenian unleavened flatbread made in a tandoor (a cylindrical metal oven) and also eaten all over Azerbaijan, Iran and Turkey. It is made with flour, water and salt. The thickness of the bread varies, depending on how thin it was rolled out. Toasted sesame seeds and poppy seeds are sometimes sprinkled before baking. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Lavash”.57

23Yufka is a thin, round and unleavened flatbread in Turkish cuisine, similar to lavash22, usually made from wheat flour, water and salt. It is about 18 inches (40-50 cm) in diameter. The sheets of yufka dough are baked on a heated iron plate called a sac for about 2-3 minutes, turned over once to brown the other side. Before consumption, dry yufka bread is sprayed with warm water. The moistened bread is covered with a cotton cloth and is rested for 10-12 minutes before serving. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Yufka”.58

24Al pastor, or tacos al pastor, is the Mexican version of Turkish döner kebab4 and the Greek gyros3. It is a pork dish developed in central Mexico that is based on shawarma18 spit-grilled meat, brought by Lebanese immigrants to Mexico. Al pastor literally means “shepherd style” in Spanish. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Al pastor”.59

25“Döner Kebab,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Döner_kebab

26“Kebab,”accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kebab

27Falafel is a Levantine44 and Egyptian deep-fried ball, or a flat or doughnut-shaped patty, made from ground chickpeas, fava beans, or both, commonly eaten inWestern Asia53, most likely originated in Egypt. Herbs, spices, and onion relatives are commonly added to the dough of this vegetarian dish, considered a street food. The balls are commonly served in a pita6, laid over a bed of salad or pickled vegetables, and drizzled with hot sauce or a tahini41-based sauce. It can also be wrapped in a flatbread called a taboon. It can be eaten alone as a snack, or served as part of an assortment of appetizers called meze55. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Falafel”.60

28“Pita,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pita

29Bulgur is a cereal food made from the cracked parboiled groats of several different wheat species, most often with durum wheat, with a light, nutty flavor. It originated in Middle Eastern19 cuisine. It is a common ingredient in cuisines of many countries of the Middle East and Mediterranean16. It does not require cooking, although it can be included in cooked dishes; soaking in water is all that is needed. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Bulgur”.61

30Couscous is a Maghrebi62 dish made of (3 mm or 0.12 in.) small steamed balls from crushed durum wheat semonila, traditionally served with a stew spooned on top. It is a staple food throughout the North African48 cuisines of Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunisia. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Couscous”.63

31“Tabbouleh,”accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tabbouleh

32The Indian subcontinent is a southern region and peninsula of Asia, delineated by the Himalayas in the north, the Hindu Kush64 in the west, and the Arakanese65 in the east. Politically, it includes Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Indian subcontinent”.66

33“Roti,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roti

34“Zomato,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zomato

35“Lassi,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lassi

36“Splenda,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Splenda

37The South Caucasus is a geographical region in the southern Caucasus Mountains on the border of Eastern Europe67 and Western Asia53. It roughly corresponds to modern Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “South Causasus”.68

38The Balkans is a term used more generally for the region, including states in the region, which may extend beyond the peninsula, and is not defined by the geography of the peninsula itself. The Balkans are usually said to comprise Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, and Slovenia. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Balkans”.69

39Central Asia is a region which stretches from the Caspian Sea in the west to China in the east, and from Afghanistan in the south to Russia in the north. It consists of the former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. It is also colloquially referred to as “The Stans” as the countries generally considered to be within the region all have names ending with the Persian suffix “-stan”, meaning “land of”. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Central Asia”.70

40“Kofta,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kofta

41 Tahini is a condiment made from toasted, ground, hulled sesame seeds. It is served by itself as a dip, or as a major ingredient in baba ghanoush14, halva71, and hummus13. Tahini-based sauces are common in Middle Eastern19 restaurants as a side dish or as a garnish, usually including lemon juice, salt and garlic, and thinned with water. The sauce is also a popular topping for meat and vegetables in Middle Eastern cuisine. It is used in cuisines of the Eastern Mediterranean72, the South Caucasus68, as well as parts of North Africa48. It is also used in Chinese and Southeast Asian cuisine. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Tahini”.73

42“Hummus,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hummus

43https://maninio.com/2017/11/the-original-arabic-moutabal-baba-ganoush-middle-east-vegan/

44 Levantine cuisine is the traditional cuisine of the Levant47 which covers a large area of the Eastern Mediterranean72. The most distinctive aspect of Levantine cuisine is meze55, including baba ghanoush14, hummus13 and tabblouleh7. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Levantine cuisine”.74

45“Baba ganoush,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baba_ganoush

46Southern Europe, or Mediterranean Europe, is the southern region of the European continent, consisting of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Corsica, Croatia, Cyprus, Gibraltar, the East Thrace of European Turkey, Greece, Italy, Malta, Montenegro, Slovenia, and Spain. Andorra, North Macedonia, Portugal, San Marino, Serbia, and the Vatican City are also often included, despite not having a coast in the Mediterranean. It can also include mainland Southern France and Monaco, which are otherwise considered parts of Western Europe. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Southern Europe”.75

47The Levant refers to a large area in the Eastern Mediterranean72, primarily in Western Asia53. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Levant”.76

48North Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly accepted scope for the region, but the most commonly accepted coverage includes Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Sudan, and Tunisia. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “North Africa”.77

49 “List of Mediterranean countries,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Mediterranean_countries

50Laffa, or taboon bread, is a Middle Eastern19 flatbread, traditionally baked in a taboon oven or a tannur, and is similar to the various tandoor breads in many parts of Asia. It is of medium thickness, slightly chewy, and does not tear easily. It is used as a base or wrap in many cuisines, and eaten with different accompaniments. It is a staple in Middle Eastern cuisine worldwide. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Taboon bread”.78

51Amba, or anba, is a tangy mango pickle condiment popular in Indian and Middle Eastern19 cuisine, particularly Iraqi, Israeli and Saudi cuisines. It is typically made of mangoes, vinegar, salt, mustard, turmeric, chilli and fenugreek, similar to mango chutney. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Amba (condiment)”.79

52“Shawarma,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shawarma

53Western Asia includes Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Cyprus, Georgia, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Western Asia”.80

54“Middle East,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middle_East

55A meze, or mezza, is a selection of small dishes served as appetizers in parts of the Middle East19 (as a multi-course meal), the Balkans38 and Greece (as snacks while drinking or talking), and North Africa48. It is generally accompanied by distilled drinks like arak, mastika, ouzo, raki, rakia, or tsipouro. It may also be consumed with beer, wine and other alcoholic drinks. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Meze”.81

56“Tzatziki,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tzatziki

57“Lavash,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lavash

58“Yufka,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yufka

59“Al pastor,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_pastor

60“Falafel,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falafel

61“Bulgur,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bulgur

62The Maghrebi is a major region of North Africa48 that consists primarily of Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunisia. It is also called Northwest Africa, Northern Africa, Greater Arab Maghreb, Arab Maghreb, Greater Maghreb, the Berber world, Barbary, or Berberry. It additionally includes the disputed territories of Western Sahara (mostly controlled by Morocco), and the cities of Ceuta and Melilla (both controlled by Spain and claimed by Morocco). The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Maghrebi”.82

63“Couscous,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Couscous

64Hindu Kush is an 800-km-long mountain range that stretches near the Afghan-Pakistan border, from central Afghanistan to northern Pakistan, according to the Wikipedia page “Hindu Kush”.83

65The Arakan Mountains, or the Rakhine Mountains, are a mountain range in western Myanmar, according to the Wikipedia page “Arakan Mountains”.84

66“Indian subcontinent,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_subcontinent

67Eastern Europe is the eastern part of the European continent, and although there is no common definition of its coverage, the United Nations’ Statistics Division included the following countries: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Russian Federation, and Slovakia, as well as the republics of Belarus, Moldova, and Ukraine.85

68“South Caucasus,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Caucasus

69“Balkans,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balkans

70“Central Asia,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Asia

71Halva, halvah, or halwa, is any of various dense, sweet confections, mostly made in the Middle East19, Central Asia39, and the Indian subcontinent32. It could be flour-based, made by frying flour (such as semolina, cornstarch, and rice flour) on oil (like clarified butter or ghee), mixing it into a roux, and cooking it with a sugary syrup, very popular in Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Greece, India, Iran, Pakistan, Somalia, and Turkey. It could also be crumbly and nut butter-based, usually made from tahini41 or other nut butters such as sesame and sunflower, and sugar. Halva can also be based on other ingredients like beans, lentils and vegetables, like carrots, pumpkins, squashes, and yams. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Halva”.86

72Eastern Mediterranean countries are geographically to the east of the Mediterranean Sea, and includes Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Palestine, Syria, and Turkey. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Eastern Mediterranean”.87

73“Tahini,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tahini

74“Levantine cuisine,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Levantine_cuisine

75“Southern Europe,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southen_Europe

76“Levant,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Levant

77“North Africa,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Africa

78“Taboon bread,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taboon_bread

79“Amba (condiment),” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amba_(condiment)

80http://worldpopulationreview.com/continents/western-asia-population/

81“Mezze,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mezze

82“Maghrebi,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maghrebi

83“Hindu Kush,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindu_Kush

84“Arakan Mountains,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arakan_Mountains

85http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Eastern_Europe

86“Halva,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halva

87“Eastern Mediterranean,” accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_Mediterranean