Our first night in Syria I realized why Smart Traveller had issued the warning 'seriously reconsider your need to travel'- the homous was a national disaster. It was the worst, and it didn't help that we had to wash it down with non-alcoholic beer. The next day we treated ourselves to a big Syrian feast. the table was covered with an amazing array of food but I got a little suspicious when looking at a plate of grey coloured balls of meat- lambs testicles.. However tempting, I wasn't brave enough to try even with CP's delightful description "lambs testicles are to meat as motzarella is to cheese"
We had some delicious homous and beetroot dip in Damascus, actually all the food we had here was delicious (and cheap). We love Syria- 8.5 chickpeas out of 10.
The holy Grail of homous was definitely not in Jordan.. It was traveling from Syria to Jordan that we both got very ill.. I won't gross you out with the details, but yeah, it wasn't pretty.. Im not sure if we were delirious from feeling so sick, but at one stage i was convinced that the 2000yr old roman ruins in Gerash were still standing because of some ancient homous recipe that was holding the stones together. Anyway I took a little sample to do some homous DNA testing when we get back home, just to be sure.. Jordan 6.5 chickpeas
Israel and Palestine was a gastronomic delight.. Homous, falafel, cheeses, meat- everything looked, smelled and tasted amazing.. Im glad that food doesn't have a political agenda.. Jerusalem and Tel Aviv are such interesting cities, could have spent a lot more time here, we really enjoyed our time (and food) here... Israel 9 chickpeas out of 10. *extra points for making such tasty falafel out of chickpeas too..
By the time we arrived in Egypt, I have to admit we were a little over homous and we went for a few days without having any.. We also had trouble finding beer with alcohol (why would ya??) Luxor pipped Cairo with some home cooking but overall the culinary standard was average - 5 chickpeas.
So in conclusion, Israel wins the gold medal for the best homous in the region, while the gold star for the best dish goes to the cafe in Lebanon whose warm and silky smooth texture with pine nuts and rich olive oil blew us away and could not be bested. Our next quest is to recreate this for you at home, wish us luck!