Customers at the numerous Middle Eastern, Turkish and Persian restaurants both here and around the country will find quite similar fare at these regardless of country of origin, be it Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, and even Israel. This probably comes as a surprise to most patrons. The reason for this is explained in 2005 article in Gourmet: “Unlike…Europe, which boasts stunning culinary diversity in a relatively compact area, the Middle East demonstrates broad gastronomic parallels from North Africa all the way to Central Asia. There is more dissimilarity between Italy and France, which are adjacent, [and just along the Italian peninsula] than there is between Egypt and Iran, which are separated by nearly 1,000 miles. Owing to a harsh desert climate interrupted by pockets of fertility, as well as more than a millennium of shared religious and cultural traditions, most Middle Eastern countries consume the same staples: freshly baked flatbread; rice and beans; a limited number of fruits, vegetables and dried nuts; rare treats of beef and lamb; and an infinite variety of sweet, sticky cakes and porridge.” Greek food is very similar, and many dishes are nearly identical, as there were numerous Greek communities on the Anatolian peninsula for several millennia until last century.
Appetizers at Pasha