Consumers are loving the craveable flavors of the Middle East and North Africa as more authentic elements of these regional cuisines emerge in fast-casual restaurants, midscale operations and beyond. The aromatic ingredients, seasonings and spices found in Levantine and Maghrebi cuisine—including za’atar, Aleppo pepper flakes, harissa, sumac, chermoula and rose water—add unexpected depth to entrées, desserts, beverages and more. Long-beloved dishes such as hummus, falafel and shawarma serve as an entry point to more complex flavors, as operators build upon familiar foundations. For example, topping a bed of hummus with spiced lamb and pickled vegetables rather than simply serving it as an appetizer gives customers a new way to experience dishes they already love. Adding what Flavor & The Menu describes as Middle Eastern “gateway flavors” to sandwich sauces, marinades or dips (including preserved lemon, cardamom and hyssop) is another great way to add interest and excitement without pushing customers too far out of their comfort zones.