The UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage has marked several culinary traditions and dishes as parts of the Intangible Heritage of Humanity list, recognizing their cultural significance and the role they play in strengthening community ties.
Ceviche: A Peruvian Delight
Among the recognized culinary traditions is ceviche, a Peruvian dish made from raw marinated fish, consumed for over 2,000 years. Its preparation varies regionally, using Pacific Ocean species on the coast, trout from mountain rivers and lakes, and paiche or tilapia from tropical forest lagoons. According to renowned chef Javier Vargas, president of the Association of Seafood Restaurants of Peru, there are at least a thousand different ways to prepare it in Peru.
Manouché: The Quintessence of Lebanese Breakfast
The making of manouché, a Lebanese flatbread topped with thyme, sumac, toasted sesame seeds, salt, and olive oil, was another tradition recognized. Considered the quintessence of the Lebanese breakfast, it is enjoyed by people of all backgrounds. During its preparation, practitioners often pray for the dough to rise, signifying the deep-rooted cultural significance of the dish.
Iftar: A Meal of Unity and Solidarity
The sociocultural traditions of iftar, the Muslim fast-breaking meal, have been inscribed at the request of Azerbaijan, Iran, Uzbekistan, and Turkey. Iftar promotes mutual assistance, solidarity, and social exchange by strengthening family and community bonds. It is traditional to break the fast with a date or an olive, followed by water or tea, with recipes for the meal and pastries varying greatly across different Muslim countries.
Harees, a staple in the Gulf region, has also been included in the list. Made predominantly of wheat, chicken or lamb, butter or ghee, water, and a dash of spices, notably cinnamon sticks, harees holds a special place in Arabian culture, particularly in the UAE, Oman, and Saudi Arabia. It is served during important social events such as weddings and the pilgrimage season, symbolizing hospitality, generosity, and promoting social connection.