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4 Arabic Food Names That Get Lost in Translation

The Arabic kitchen offers one of the most sophisticated and diverse cuisines. Dishes like hummus and tabouleh have become popular in western cultures and supermarkets are now stacked with ingredients to make them from scratch. We looked at 4 delicious regional dishes that would require some serious rebranding to become the next trend with international foodies.

1) Hera’a bi isba’o (حراق إصبعو)

It is said that you end up with “Burning Fingers” because you just can’t wait to get them into this delectable concoction of fresh pasta and lentils cooked with a sour fruit juice and garnished with fried garlic and cilantro topped with onion and pita chips.

2) Tabakh Rohoo (طباخ روحو)

The “Cook’s Soul” is a hearty tomato base lamb and vegetable stew…and it’s cooked for so long that its soul appears. (Fun Fact: This has made it a favorite with the elders because it’s easy to chew!)

3) Basha Wa-‘Asakro (باشا وعساكره)

“Pasha and his Soldiers” are made from kibbeh and minced meat stuffed dumplings in a warm yogurt-based sauce. Our detective work came up short on Basha; if you know what inspired this name, share it with us in the comments!

4) Qudret Qader (قدرة قادر)

You’ll be exclaiming by the “Might of the Mighty” when you see this miraculous cake. It’s a dessert made up of crème caramel in the shape of a Bundt cake, upside-down on top of a sponge cake. (Fun fact: Another theory is that it’s so easy to make because no matter how you combine the ingredients, you’ll end up with the same result: a cooking miracle!)

Do you know of any food names that you think are lost in translation? Share them with us at or just drop them into the comments!

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