More About Traditional Libyan Cuisine…

Nowadays, many types of foods can be found in Libya ranging from traditional Libyan food to fine international cuisines served at restaurants and even western-influenced fast-food. Traditional Libyan dishes constitute the majority of the common Libyan diet and these dishes are served in a growing number of traditional restaurants.

Traditional Libyan dishes include…

Bazeen
The typical Bazeen dish is a mound of stiff dough made from barley and served covered and surrounded with a tomato-based sauce with meat (usually lamb), potatoes and sometimes eggs. It is traditionally served in a large dish for 4 – 5 people and is eaten by hand. There are many variations, including “Bazeen Bil-Hoot” (or Bazeen with fish), “Bazeen Bil-Ful” (or Bazeen with beans), etc…


Cusucsi (English - “Couscous”)
The typical Cusucsi dish is a large dish of these semolina-like grains served covered with a traditional onion-based sauce (also known as “Busla”) with meat (usually lamb), potatoes and sometimes pumpkin. Served traditionally in a large dish for four to five, but also commonly served in single dishes at restaurants. The more popular version of Cusucsi is that served at weddings (also called “Cusucsi Al-Aaras”), which tends to have more flavor due to it being prepared in bulk quantities. Other variations include “Cusucsi Bil-Hoot” (or Couscous with fish), “Cusucsi Bil-Khadrawat” (or Couscous with vegetables), etc…

Rishtat Kis-Cas
The typical Rishtat Kis-Cas dish is a large dish of this stringy noodle-like pasta covered with a traditional onion-based sauce (also known as “Busla”) with meat (usually lamb). Served traditionally in a large dish for four to five, but also commonly served in single dishes at restaurants.

Shurba Leebiya (English – “Libyan Soup”)
This soup is a combination of many zesty ingredients. Served in small bowls along with lemon for flavor and bread for sopping, it is most traditionally served during the month of Ramadan for those fasting to break their fasts.

Macaroona (English – “Macaroni”)
Macaroona is prepared in many various ways in Libyan cuisine, the most popular and well-known form being “Macaroona Imbukubka”. Macaroona Imbukubka is a pasta-based dish served in a tomato-based sauce along with meat (lamb, beef or chicken) and sometimes potatoes. It is traditionally served in a large dish for 4 – 5 people. Other variations of Macaroona include “Macaroona Bil-Hoot” (or Macaroni with fish), “Macaroona Jareey” (very similar to Imbukubka, except more saucy), “Macaroona Bil-Mafroum (or Macaroni with meat sauce), “Macaroona Bil-Busla” (or Macaroni with onion sauce), etc…

Ruz (English – “Rice”)
The typical Ruz dish is a large dish served covered with a traditional onion-based sauce (also known as “Busla”) with meat (usually lamb), potatoes and sometimes pumpkin. Served traditionally in a large dish for four to five, but also commonly served in single dishes at restaurants.

Usban
Usban is a traditional Libyan dish of stuffed sheep’s intestines served either alone or usually with rice. The stuffing consists of many ingredients including rice, meat and some vegetables.

Mahshee, Brak, and Tholma (English – “Stuffed Vegetables”)
These dishes are either stuffed bell/sweet peppers, cabbage or grape-leaves. The stuffing consists of many ingredients including rice, meat and some vegetables.

Burdeem
This is a unique dish of lamb, beef or chicken cooked in a burning underground pit, in a technique that is very similar to smoking. The meat can sometimes be served with a stuffing as well.

Sweets & Desserts
There are many varieties of traditional Libyan sweets & desserts including: Ghrayba (“butter-filled cookies”), Magroud (“date-filled cookies”), Ka’k Halo & Malah (“salty & sweet ring-shaped cookies”), etc…

Drinks
There are many varieties of Libyan drinks including: Gahwa Arbiya (Arabic Coffee), Shahee Akhdar (Green Tea), Shahee Ahmer (Red Tea), Shahee Bil-Lowz (Tea with Almonds). Alcohol is prohibited by law, so tea, coffee and soft drinks are much consumed instead.