Interesting Facts About “The Middle East” From Terrace Restaurant

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Middle Eastern Food

Though an understanding of Middle Eastern society, culture, and demography isn’t necessary for enjoying Terrace Restaurant and Lounge’s great Lebanese cuisine, we think knowing more about where our favorite dishes come from adds a little “flavor” to the experience. Read on to learn some interesting facts about the Middle East that might surprise you!

The Term “Middle Eastern” is a Misnomer

In America, we often use the term “Middle East” as a catch-all for peoples living on or around the Arabian Peninsula, but in actuality, the Middle East is an extremely diverse region comprised of many countries and ethnic groups, each with its own distinct language, customs, religious beliefs, cultural norms, and societal structure. Even the largest subset of Middle Easterners – collectively call “Arabs” – use different languages, hold different religious beliefs, eat different types of food, and listen to different kinds of music.

Map of the Middle East

The Middle East Is Comprised of 17 Distinct Nations

There Are Actually 17 Countries in the “Middle East”

17 separate countries makes up the region known as The Middle East, including: Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) and Yemen. (Turkey also recognizes the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus as it’s own nation, though the international community considers this faction a part of Cyprus.) Of the Middle Eastern Countries, Egypt is the most populace with 88,500,000 people, while Saudi Arabia is largest country, stretching over 2,000,000 square kilometers. The smallest countries are Cyprus and Bahrain by population and land area, respectively.

There World’s Tallest Building is Located in the Middle East

Standing at 828 meters (2,717 feet) and boasting 163 floors, the Burj Khalifa in the United Arab Emirates is the world’s tallest building. However, it may not hold that title for long: plans are already in the works for Tokyo’s Millennium Tower, which will best the Burj by 12 meters.

The Burj Khalifa

The Middle East Is Home To The World’s Tallest Building, The Burj Khalifa

Iran Is Nuts About Nuts

The nation of Iran is the world’s largest producer of pistachios, and the sweet green nut is the country’s second-largest export behind oil. Due to sanctions, however, it’s nearly impossible to buy Iranian-produced pistachios in the United States.

The Middle East Is The Birthplace Of Religion

All three of the world’s major monotheistic religions – Christianity, Judaism, and Islam – were founded in the Middle East. The only other major world religion that did not originate in the region, Hinduism, was born not far away, in India.

Food Is An Important Aspect of Middle Eastern Culture

Though each region – Maghreb, Egypt, Levant, Iraq, Gulf – has its own distinct cuisine, most Middle Eastern food shares a common influence in traditional Ottoman recipes. Many countries in this region use olives, chickpeas, grains like rice and flatbreads, chicken, beef, and lamb, yogurt and cheeses, and spices like cumin, nutmeg, turmeric, and caraway in their food preparation.

To sample Los Angeles’ best Middle Eastern cuisine, stop by Terrace Restaurant and Lounge today!