Really, few things compare to the delicious assortment of dishes served up as part of Lebanese mezze.

In other countries, appetizers usually consist of one plate – perhaps two, on a good day. In Lebanon, on the other hand, appetizers deserve a table and culinary experience all their own. So let's take a look at the real winners of delicious, authentic dining in this definitive ranking of Lebanese mezzeh.

12. Labneh

(Photo via Al-Bawwaba)

Labneh, you're beautiful. But I get enough of you at breakfast, thanks.

11. Shanklish

(Photo via Bla Bla Magazine)

Sorry, but these aged cheese balls have no place on the table when other great things are lurking in the corner. Like labneh, I'm gonna say they're best served during breakfast with a cup of tea.

10. Falafel

(Photo via Home Cooking Montana Blog)

Omnomnom for these deep fried chickpeas patties. But the thing is, I’m going to have to rank falafel toward the bottom because it's best served wrapped in bread from the one-thousand-and-one sandwich stands in Lebanon versus the dinner table.

9. Lahm Bil Ajin

(Photo via Pintrest)

This pastry is a delicious, mini-sized manoushet, but it’s not the sort of appetizer you want to gulp down before the tawouk comes your way.

8. Moutabbel

(Photo via To Health Blog)

Moutabbel is like a more mature hummus. Composed of eggplants tahini and lots and lots of garlic, it tastes beautifully, but it's always outshined by it's creamy chickpea cousin.

Pro-tip: best served with pomegranates arils.

7. Kibbeh Nayye

(Photo via Mama's Lebanese Kitchen)

Although some people are iffy about having raw meat, kibbeh naye is perhaps one of the best hors d’ouevre the Levantine cuisine has to offer. The mixture of spices with bulgur and minced raw lamb tastes nothing less than perfect when combined with fattoush or tabbouleh.

6. Sambusek

(Photo via Fit Gluecklich)

The crunchy sound of sambusek is saliva-inducing on its own. In addition to its fantastic taste, you never know what awaits you on the inside of this treat – it could be labneh, minced meat, cheese, or labneh and minced meat. A wonderful surprise no matter what.

5. Kibbeh

(Photo via Wikipedia)

The awesome thing about kibbeh is that it has the capability of being exceptionally tasteful with just about anything. Kibbeh dipped in hummus? Fantastic. Kibbeh with a bite of fattoush? Riveting. Kibbeh with sour cherries? MESMERIZING.

Yes, yes and yes to this heavenly dish of bulghur, minced beef and onions.

4. Fattoush

(Photo via Nuts About Food Blog)

Fattoush is one hell of a confused salad (we’re talking radish, fried pieces of pita bread, green pepperS, red cabbage, sumac, tomato, etc.,) – and this is exactly why we love it. Next time you make it, add pomegranate arils and crumbled feta cheese - thank me later.

3. Wara’ 3ineb Bil Zeit/Yalangi

(Photo via Pintrest)

This is the mezze version of the holy wara’ 3inab and thankfully, it tastes just as great, with the added plus of being less heavy.

2. Tabbouleh

(Photo via TAXIM Cafe)

#Noexplanationneeded.

1. Hummus

(Photo via Wikipedia)

Hummus is everyone’s favorite – it is like that dependable friend who is always there to comfort you when life sucks. Not only is it easy to make, but it’s healthy, non-fattening and did we mention DELICIOUS?

You can even spice up this bad boy by adding any of the following to the mix: sun-dried tomatoes, walnuts, minced meat, bell peppers or jalapenos. Heck, even pesto.

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What about that dish of 4 chicken wings they drop on the table before the main, and you have to be lucky that everyone on your table is up and dancing for you to snag one.

Elio Mallouhi on Jun 6, 2014 via web