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Mediterranean Food 101

When you think about Mediterranean food, that could mean food from Spain and Morocco to Turkey and the Middle East. The Mediterranean Sea touches many countries (22 to be exact!), and each country has its unique cuisines. Though Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food is distinct from each other, the two share flavors, and "Mediterranean" is often used as an umbrella term to describe both.

The Mediterranean diet has come into popularity in the past few decades as a healthy way of eating. The diet is known to help with weight loss and help prevent heart attacks, strokes, type 2 diabetes, and premature death. While many ingredients and dishes can be considered Mediterranean food, it traditionally features plant-based foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, tubers, legumes, nuts, fish and seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy, herbs and spices, and healthy fats. Red meat and other protein is typically eaten in moderation.

The Middle Eastern distinction of Mediterranean cuisine encompasses Turkey, Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, and Saudi Arabia, among many other countries. Foods like hummus (smooth chickpea dip), falafel (fried chickpea and fava bean balls), baba ganuj (roasted eggplant), tabbouleh (bulgar wheat salad), kefta (ground beef meatballs), kebabs (meat on a stick), and stuffed grape leaves are common.

Each country has its unique styles, variations, and techniques, but the ingredients, flavors, and aromas are relatively interchangeable. One fact is true when thinking about Mediterranean food; the profile is not dull! It arouses the senses and wakes up palates. It's a satisfying feast for the eyes and the belly.

So the next time you think about what you'd like to eat, consider Mediterranean or Middle Eastern food in Philadelphia.

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