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Monday, 17 June 2024

Globally Acclaimed Food Shows Spotlight Arab Cuisine: Here Are Our Top Picks


In the ever-expanding world of streaming content, the gastronomic world has been getting a lot of attention with food giants like Gordon Ramsay traveling the globe to learn about world cuisines.

Along with powerhouses like Italian and Asian cuisines, the Arab world has its own special foothold in the gastronomic world. That’s why major travel food shows devote entire episodes to exploring Arab cuisines. Here’s a collection of some of our favorites:

Ugly Delicious (As The Meat Turns)

Streaming now on Netflix

Across the globe are signature dishes loved and adored by many, whether it’s pizza or fried rice. Taking these dishes and turning them completely on their head is renowned chef Dave Chang who devotes each episode of his food show “Ugly Delicious” to reconceptualizing and experimenting with these dishes.

In one of his episodes, he set his sights on the spit-cooked meat, aka the shawarma, as well as Lebanese food in general.

While watching “As The Meat Turns,” you’ll be met with surprises and new nuggets of information like, for example, how, in the past, Mexico was packed with Lebanese immigrants who introduced shawarma to the country, and from there, Mexicans created their own rendition of it called “taco el pastor” made of spit-grilled pork.

This Mexican-Lebanense matrimony is something that continues today wherein across the US, there are several restaurants that serve Lebanese-Mexican hybrid dishes, including X’Tiosu, a food truck that Chang got to check out. They serve everything from Oaxacan hummus to tabbouleh with cactus.

This is just one of the many ways that Chang got to experience a reconceptualization of Lebanese food as well as shawarma. Check out the entire episode to see what else he gets to try out.

Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted – The Mountains of Morocco

Streaming now on Disney Plus

Imagine world-renowned chef Gordon Ramsey, known for the “idiot sandwich,” strapped to a harness and sliding down the Atlas Mountains in an attempt to meet the “king of the mushrooms” and gather the best ceps and morels in the area. That is just the tip of the iceberg, as, during his special episode in Morocco, he gets to uncover the secrets behind the Berber cuisine.

The episode was unlike anything you’ll ever see, as Gordon not only gets to meet Najat Kaanache, the Moroccan chef who dreams of cooking on the moon, but he also joins her through narrow winding alleyways across a 9th-century food market in Fez, making stops at several food stalls.

He gets to make a mixed mushroom Berber pizza on an open flame in the mountains; Gordon even calls it the best pizza he ever had.

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner – Marrakesh With Chrissy Teigen

Streaming now on Netflix

The same curious face behind “Ugly Delicious” is back at it again with yet another show where he takes his insatiable curiosity about food, culture, and identity on the road and, along the way, meets celebrities. From Los Angeles to Cambodia, Dave Chang jet travels across the globe to once again dive into rich cuisines.

One of the stops he makes is at Marrakesh in Morocco, where he spends the day with model, TV host, and bestselling cookbook author Chrissy Teigen, who helps him explore Moroccan cuisine by trying out the country’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

This is one of the best ways to truly immerse oneself in a culture’s cuisine. For breakfast, he had Harsha (homemade Moroccan pan-fried flatbread) and Msemmen (square-shaped Moroccan pancakes); for lunch, he devoured lamb that was cooked in a hole, while for dinner, he had Couscous Tagine. This episode is yet another way to explore Moroccan cuisine.

Taste The Nation With Padma Lakshmi – Halal From Dearborn

Streaming now on Disney Plus

Taking a unique approach to exploring Arab food, Padma Lakshmi devotes an entire episode to visiting Dearborn, Michigan, known as the Arab American bubble. It’s only a few kilometers from Detroit but is a literal Arab Oasis.

Over a century, Arab Americans who hail from Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria created a thriving Arab hub in Dearborn.

The episode takes place during Ramadan at the bustling Canfield Suhoor Market Festival, which is packed with bright food trucks selling all kinds of famous Arab street food. She’s joined by a local who helps her try out the finest Arab street food. In the episode, she gets to devour saj bread made fresh with za’atar and cheese on a thick metal dome, also called a saj.

She followed that with a visit to an Iraqi restaurant where she got to devour Quozi lamb whose meat literally falls off the bone. She even got to try Sabaya, a layered sticky Yemeni bread baked with butter. That’s how rich and diverse Arab cuisine is, and so to get a true taste of our culinary world, watch the full episode on several streaming platforms.

Somebody Feed Phil – Marrakesh

Streaming now on Netflix

Morocco has been getting a lot of attention in travel food documentaries because the country has also made it a destination for Philip Rosenthal’s show “Somebody Feed Phil,” where he takes viewers on an eating tour around the globe.

In the episode, we explore Marrakesh through the wide-eyed curiosity and bubbly personality of Phil, who tries out very unique dishes, including the corne du gazelle (Moroccan cookies stuffed with almond and sugar blossom) and lamb shoulder.

Along with the food, Phil pays close attention to the culture and major landmarks of Marrakesh, including its bustling food markets, the cacophony of prayer calls he can hear from multiple mosques, as well as the bold Jardin Majorelle. Watching the episode, you will feel as though you are smack dab in the city of color, life and food.

There’s something quite special about the concept of the West meeting the East, as seen in all these episodes. The exploration of Arab food through the untrained eyes of Western chefs and TV shows showcases how special it is. The one thing that stands true in all of them is that every host and chef loved biting into all that Arab food had to offer.

WE SAID THIS: Don’t Miss…Gastronomic Adventures With US Content Creator Beryl Shereshewsky: One Arab Dish At A Time


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