Hummus where the heart is: we spill the beans on MENA's hippest dip

Published December 15th, 2015 - 17:50 GMT

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The biggest dip in the Middle East has nothing to do with the price of oil. It's hummus, the creamy confection made from crushed chickpeas with a touch of tahini, olive oil and often-secret ingredients unique to each kitchen. Hummus is a mainstay of Arab cuisine, with competing claims by Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and Israel as to ownership of the dish - a phenomenon captured in the 2012 film Make Hummus Not War

But let's not argue about its origin. Instead let's look at who makes it best. Dip into our 10 best hummus dives and let the debate begin. Continue reading below »

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Muskat, Oman: Last month, food bloggers faced off in the Hummus Games of Oman held at Semsom Restaurant. They devised new versions of the classic dish using an insane selection of ingredients including mustard, vinegar, nuts, and a truckload of fruits and veggies. The winner was an avocado hummus which now features on Semsom menus.
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Image 1 of 10:  1 / 10Muskat, Oman: Last month, food bloggers faced off in the Hummus Games of Oman held at Semsom Restaurant. They devised new versions of the classic dish using an insane selection of ingredients including mustard, vinegar, nuts, and a truckload of fruits and veggies. The winner was an avocado hummus which now features on Semsom menus.

Enlarge
Doha, Qatar: Hankering for hummus in Doha? Then head to Beirut, the confusingly-named eatery on Electricity Street (Shara Kahraba) for some shockingly good stuff.  It’s served up with pickled olives, onion and minced green chilli. Bread comes in plastic packets – not so great – but the prices are low. Good service, well suited for takeaways.
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Image 2 of 10:  2 / 10Doha, Qatar: Hankering for hummus in Doha? Then head to Beirut, the confusingly-named eatery on Electricity Street (Shara Kahraba) for some shockingly good stuff. It’s served up with pickled olives, onion and minced green chilli. Bread comes in plastic packets – not so great – but the prices are low. Good service, well suited for takeaways.

Enlarge
Abu Dhabi, UAE: Huge portions allow you to share a great breakfast at fair prices. As the name suggests, they push tricked-up falafel sandwiches, but their fatet hummus is crazy good too. The Al Khalidiya location is often crowded with challenging parking, so try home delivery.
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Image 3 of 10:  3 / 10Abu Dhabi, UAE: Huge portions allow you to share a great breakfast at fair prices. As the name suggests, they push tricked-up falafel sandwiches, but their fatet hummus is crazy good too. The Al Khalidiya location is often crowded with challenging parking, so try home delivery.

Enlarge
Ramallah, Palestine: Tuck into Topaz for a simple breakfast of hummus, tomatoes, boiled eggs, lebany, and zaatar. Try the roast cauliflower and eggplant, or go beyond the basics and sample a variety of more complex dishes. Swanky décor aside, it's the place to go if you're looking to experience how a Palestinian eats at home. Hummus in the house!
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Image 4 of 10:  4 / 10Ramallah, Palestine: Tuck into Topaz for a simple breakfast of hummus, tomatoes, boiled eggs, lebany, and zaatar. Try the roast cauliflower and eggplant, or go beyond the basics and sample a variety of more complex dishes. Swanky décor aside, it's the place to go if you're looking to experience how a Palestinian eats at home. Hummus in the house!

Enlarge
Jaffa, Israel: Abu Hassan has been dishing up heavenly hummus for about 50 years. Named for its founder, the restaurant is known across Tel Aviv for it's way around a chickpea. Their recipe is secret, but taste a perfect blend of garlic, lemon, and olive oil. Make sure you arrive because once they run out of hummus, they close for the day.
Reduce

Image 5 of 10:  5 / 10Jaffa, Israel: Abu Hassan has been dishing up heavenly hummus for about 50 years. Named for its founder, the restaurant is known across Tel Aviv for it's way around a chickpea. Their recipe is secret, but taste a perfect blend of garlic, lemon, and olive oil. Make sure you arrive because once they run out of hummus, they close for the day.

Enlarge
Alexandria, Egypt: Wiki says, 'The earliest known recipes for a dish similar to hummus…are recorded in cookbooks published in Cairo in the 13th C.' Located near el Raml Station at city center, Mohamed Ahmed hasn’t been around quite that long, but it has cult following. Check out their popular hummus foul sandwich.
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Image 6 of 10:  6 / 10Alexandria, Egypt: Wiki says, "The earliest known recipes for a dish similar to hummus…are recorded in cookbooks published in Cairo in the 13th C." Located near el Raml Station at city center, Mohamed Ahmed hasn’t been around quite that long, but it has cult following. Check out their popular hummus foul sandwich.

Enlarge
Amman, Jordan: Legendary Hashem's may be the oldest operating restaurant in Amman, run for 50 years by a Turkish family. There’s stiff competition for tables, which can overflow onto the sidewalks. Popular with locals and tourists, they do a stellar job of feeding a crowd. A great place to sip a mint tea and watch the action in nearby souks.
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Image 7 of 10:  7 / 10Amman, Jordan: Legendary Hashem's may be the oldest operating restaurant in Amman, run for 50 years by a Turkish family. There’s stiff competition for tables, which can overflow onto the sidewalks. Popular with locals and tourists, they do a stellar job of feeding a crowd. A great place to sip a mint tea and watch the action in nearby souks.

Enlarge
Beirut, Lebanon: CNN voted Al Soussi as serving up the World’s Best Breakfast. It opened in 1890, then relocated to Chehade Street in Mar Elias, where it's been since 1975, continuously run by the Soussi family. Come for the hummus, but try their kawarma, bad ghanam and chicken liver. Forget about cholesterol and dig in.
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Image 8 of 10:  8 / 10Beirut, Lebanon: CNN voted Al Soussi as serving up the World’s Best Breakfast. It opened in 1890, then relocated to Chehade Street in Mar Elias, where it's been since 1975, continuously run by the Soussi family. Come for the hummus, but try their kawarma, bad ghanam and chicken liver. Forget about cholesterol and dig in.

Enlarge
Jerusalem, Israel:  Find Ha Agas in the crowded chaos of Machne Yehuda market. They offer a wide selection of organic and vegetarian dishes such as tofu and eggplant lasagna, stuffed veggies, and salads with a Middle East flair. But def try the hummus. We hear that the chef sorts his chickpeas one by one every morning, picking out the bad ones!
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Image 9 of 10:  9 / 10Jerusalem, Israel: Find Ha Agas in the crowded chaos of Machne Yehuda market. They offer a wide selection of organic and vegetarian dishes such as tofu and eggplant lasagna, stuffed veggies, and salads with a Middle East flair. But def try the hummus. We hear that the chef sorts his chickpeas one by one every morning, picking out the bad ones!

Enlarge
Tel Aviv, Israel: Kobi Tzafrir owns the Humus Bar in a Kfar Vitkin mall. During October's escalation in Israeli-Palestinian violence, he offered 50% off the bill to Jews and Arabs who ate together. He cooked up the promotion as a way to wipe away some of the gloom of Israeli-Palestinian animosity. The deal made global headlines.
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Image 10 of 10:  10 / 10Tel Aviv, Israel: Kobi Tzafrir owns the Humus Bar in a Kfar Vitkin mall. During October's escalation in Israeli-Palestinian violence, he offered 50% off the bill to Jews and Arabs who ate together. He cooked up the promotion as a way to wipe away some of the gloom of Israeli-Palestinian animosity. The deal made global headlines.

Enlarge

1

Muskat, Oman: Last month, food bloggers faced off in the Hummus Games of Oman held at Semsom Restaurant. They devised new versions of the classic dish using an insane selection of ingredients including mustard, vinegar, nuts, and a truckload of fruits and veggies. The winner was an avocado hummus which now features on Semsom menus.

Image 1 of 10Muskat, Oman: Last month, food bloggers faced off in the Hummus Games of Oman held at Semsom Restaurant. They devised new versions of the classic dish using an insane selection of ingredients including mustard, vinegar, nuts, and a truckload of fruits and veggies. The winner was an avocado hummus which now features on Semsom menus.

2

Doha, Qatar: Hankering for hummus in Doha? Then head to Beirut, the confusingly-named eatery on Electricity Street (Shara Kahraba) for some shockingly good stuff.  It’s served up with pickled olives, onion and minced green chilli. Bread comes in plastic packets – not so great – but the prices are low. Good service, well suited for takeaways.

Image 2 of 10Doha, Qatar: Hankering for hummus in Doha? Then head to Beirut, the confusingly-named eatery on Electricity Street (Shara Kahraba) for some shockingly good stuff. It’s served up with pickled olives, onion and minced green chilli. Bread comes in plastic packets – not so great – but the prices are low. Good service, well suited for takeaways.

3

Abu Dhabi, UAE: Huge portions allow you to share a great breakfast at fair prices. As the name suggests, they push tricked-up falafel sandwiches, but their fatet hummus is crazy good too. The Al Khalidiya location is often crowded with challenging parking, so try home delivery.

Image 3 of 10Abu Dhabi, UAE: Huge portions allow you to share a great breakfast at fair prices. As the name suggests, they push tricked-up falafel sandwiches, but their fatet hummus is crazy good too. The Al Khalidiya location is often crowded with challenging parking, so try home delivery.

4

Ramallah, Palestine: Tuck into Topaz for a simple breakfast of hummus, tomatoes, boiled eggs, lebany, and zaatar. Try the roast cauliflower and eggplant, or go beyond the basics and sample a variety of more complex dishes. Swanky décor aside, it's the place to go if you're looking to experience how a Palestinian eats at home. Hummus in the house!

Image 4 of 10Ramallah, Palestine: Tuck into Topaz for a simple breakfast of hummus, tomatoes, boiled eggs, lebany, and zaatar. Try the roast cauliflower and eggplant, or go beyond the basics and sample a variety of more complex dishes. Swanky décor aside, it's the place to go if you're looking to experience how a Palestinian eats at home. Hummus in the house!

5

Jaffa, Israel: Abu Hassan has been dishing up heavenly hummus for about 50 years. Named for its founder, the restaurant is known across Tel Aviv for it's way around a chickpea. Their recipe is secret, but taste a perfect blend of garlic, lemon, and olive oil. Make sure you arrive because once they run out of hummus, they close for the day.

Image 5 of 10Jaffa, Israel: Abu Hassan has been dishing up heavenly hummus for about 50 years. Named for its founder, the restaurant is known across Tel Aviv for it's way around a chickpea. Their recipe is secret, but taste a perfect blend of garlic, lemon, and olive oil. Make sure you arrive because once they run out of hummus, they close for the day.

6

Alexandria, Egypt: Wiki says, 'The earliest known recipes for a dish similar to hummus…are recorded in cookbooks published in Cairo in the 13th C.' Located near el Raml Station at city center, Mohamed Ahmed hasn’t been around quite that long, but it has cult following. Check out their popular hummus foul sandwich.

Image 6 of 10Alexandria, Egypt: Wiki says, "The earliest known recipes for a dish similar to hummus…are recorded in cookbooks published in Cairo in the 13th C." Located near el Raml Station at city center, Mohamed Ahmed hasn’t been around quite that long, but it has cult following. Check out their popular hummus foul sandwich.

7

Amman, Jordan: Legendary Hashem's may be the oldest operating restaurant in Amman, run for 50 years by a Turkish family. There’s stiff competition for tables, which can overflow onto the sidewalks. Popular with locals and tourists, they do a stellar job of feeding a crowd. A great place to sip a mint tea and watch the action in nearby souks.

Image 7 of 10Amman, Jordan: Legendary Hashem's may be the oldest operating restaurant in Amman, run for 50 years by a Turkish family. There’s stiff competition for tables, which can overflow onto the sidewalks. Popular with locals and tourists, they do a stellar job of feeding a crowd. A great place to sip a mint tea and watch the action in nearby souks.

8

Beirut, Lebanon: CNN voted Al Soussi as serving up the World’s Best Breakfast. It opened in 1890, then relocated to Chehade Street in Mar Elias, where it's been since 1975, continuously run by the Soussi family. Come for the hummus, but try their kawarma, bad ghanam and chicken liver. Forget about cholesterol and dig in.

Image 8 of 10Beirut, Lebanon: CNN voted Al Soussi as serving up the World’s Best Breakfast. It opened in 1890, then relocated to Chehade Street in Mar Elias, where it's been since 1975, continuously run by the Soussi family. Come for the hummus, but try their kawarma, bad ghanam and chicken liver. Forget about cholesterol and dig in.

9

Jerusalem, Israel:  Find Ha Agas in the crowded chaos of Machne Yehuda market. They offer a wide selection of organic and vegetarian dishes such as tofu and eggplant lasagna, stuffed veggies, and salads with a Middle East flair. But def try the hummus. We hear that the chef sorts his chickpeas one by one every morning, picking out the bad ones!

Image 9 of 10Jerusalem, Israel: Find Ha Agas in the crowded chaos of Machne Yehuda market. They offer a wide selection of organic and vegetarian dishes such as tofu and eggplant lasagna, stuffed veggies, and salads with a Middle East flair. But def try the hummus. We hear that the chef sorts his chickpeas one by one every morning, picking out the bad ones!

10

Tel Aviv, Israel: Kobi Tzafrir owns the Humus Bar in a Kfar Vitkin mall. During October's escalation in Israeli-Palestinian violence, he offered 50% off the bill to Jews and Arabs who ate together. He cooked up the promotion as a way to wipe away some of the gloom of Israeli-Palestinian animosity. The deal made global headlines.

Image 10 of 10Tel Aviv, Israel: Kobi Tzafrir owns the Humus Bar in a Kfar Vitkin mall. During October's escalation in Israeli-Palestinian violence, he offered 50% off the bill to Jews and Arabs who ate together. He cooked up the promotion as a way to wipe away some of the gloom of Israeli-Palestinian animosity. The deal made global headlines.

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