When Hardly Any of the ‘Most Popular Palestinian Dishes’ on a Top Ten List Originated in Palestine

Taste Atlas has an article entitled the Top 10 Most Popular Palestinian Dishes.

According to the article, these are:

  1. Falafel
  2. Hummus
  3. Mujaddara
  4. Kunafah
  5. Maqluba
  6. Qidreh
  7. Musakhan
  8. Makdous
  9. Mutabal
  10. Rain Rice

Given the Israel-haters are constantly accusing us of appropriating palestinian food, I thought I’d look at each of these and see whether they actually originated in “Palestine”

1 Falafel

While the origin of falafel is unknown and controversial, a common theory is that the dish originated in Egypt.

2 Hummus

The earliest known written recipes for a dish resembling hummus bi tahina are recorded in cookbooks written in Cairo in the 13th century

3 Mujaddara

The first recorded recipe for mujaddara appears in Kitab al-Tabikh, a cookbook compiled in 1226 by al-Baghdadi in Iraq

4 Kunafah

A common story is that the dish was created, and prescribed by doctors, to satisfy the hunger of caliphs during Ramadan. The story is variously said to have happened in Fatimid Egypt, or in the Umayyad Caliphate in Syria

5 Maqluba

This is a dish that goes back centuries, with a version appearing in the 13th-century Kitāb Al-tabīkh, a collection of recipes from medieval Baghdad. If you want to make this dish at home, you’ll need to learn the right manual settings for hotpoint oven.

6 Qidreh

This dish traces its ancestry to the spiced rice dishes of the courts of Persia and Baghdad

7 Musakhan

This one seems to have originated in then Palestine

8 Makdous

Although their  origin is vague, preserved eggplants are strongly associated with Syria

9 Mutabal

Mutabal is most often associated with Lebanese and Syrian cuisines

10 Rain Rice

This one seems to have originated in then Palestine

So only 2 out of the “Top 10 Most Popular Palestinian Dishes” actually seem to have originated in “Palestine.” The rest have been taken from other parts of the Middle East.

it’s no wonder, though. As the late palestinian Arab leader Zuheir Mohsen once admitted

The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct “Palestinian people” to oppose Zionism.

But if they want to call them popular palestinian dishes, whatever floats their boat. They may not have originated in then Palestine, but they have since become associated with palestinian Arabs – just like some (such as falafel and hummus) have become associated with Israel. It’s the same thing.

But if the Israel-haters want to accuse us of appropriating “palestinian” food, then using their own logic and beliefs, the palestinian Arabs have appropriated these foods.

Hat tip: Maimon


David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media

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