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Beyond the Headlines: Palestine's National Dish

Updated: Jun 24

STUDENT SUPPORT COMMITTEE: Greetings from the Student Support Committee! You might have seen us around this past semester with our food and healthy eating events, amongst other things. We want to thank those of you who came to our events, as well as the CIROS Board and PR Committee who constantly have our backs.  More events are on the way, of course, but for now, you can read this article about a topic near and dear to our hearts. 

“Food is everything we are. It's an extension of nationalist feeling, ethnic feeling, your personal history, your province, your region, your tribe, your grandma.”

As IRO students, we are usually so caught up with the daily news and statistics, some of which trigger discomfort and division. This is evident on our campus, where we are flooded with varying opinions and debates on contemporary issues. However, one comforting thing to remember at the end of the day is that we all have to eat; no arguments there. As the great Anthony Bourdain once said, “Food is everything we are. It's an extension of nationalist feeling, ethnic feeling, your personal history, your province, your region, your tribe, your grandma.”

It is so easy to forget about this simple yet essential part of life amidst the (worrying) developments of the world. Hence, we would like to re-direct your attention to the universal language which is food, something we can all love and appreciate, via a Palestinian dish called Musakhan. 

Palestine is frequently featured on the news, but rarely for its culture and cuisine. This is a missed opportunity, as Palestine’s location in the Levant region of the eastern Mediterranean means it is vibrant with spices and seafood, alongside an abundance of vegetables. There are regional variations to Palestinian food, from the seaside region of Gaza to the more inland West Bank. However, the one dish that unites all Palestinians is Mushakhan or Mshakhan, with some considering it the national dish. The fondness for this dish goes beyond borders, as it is popular in neighboring countries like Jordan and Lebanon too. Mushakhan consists of Palestinian flatbreads (taboon), topped with onions and beautifully spiced roasted chicken, featuring my favorite spice – Sumac. This delicious dish looks and feels complex but is extremely easy to make.  

Mushakhan is to be shared, making it the ultimate choice for impressing guests at your next party or picnic. 

Here is a Mushakhan recipe by one of my favorite TikTok food creators, Mariyum. Click below for the full recipe:

And the recipe for the flatbreads (taboon) can be found here:

How to prepare each component:

Boiled Chicken


  • 6-8 Chicken leg quarters (you can of course make as much as you'd like)

  • 1 small Onion, diced

  • 2 bay leaves

  • Salt

Step 1: In a large pot, add cleaned chicken leg quarters; bring to a boil.

Step 2: Before it reaches a boil, you will notice foam forming. Skim the top of your water until it runs clear.

Step 3: Once your water runs clear and comes to a complete boil, throw in your onion, bay leaves, & salt. Cover your pot, and boil for 30 minutes.

Step 4: While your chicken is boiling, it’s time to get started on your onions.

Caramelized Onions

Baked Chicken


While not featured here, Palestinian cuisine has an array of vegetarian dishes. Check some of them out:

If you are concerned about the current issues faced by Palestinians, you can support them through many non-profit, charitable organizations, such as the Palestine Children Relief Fund. 

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