Kibbeh is one of the most characteristic foods of Levantine cuisine. It is widespread in Syria, Lebanon, the Palestinian territories, Jordan, Iraq, Turkey, Iran, Cyprus (where it is called koupes or koubes), Egypt (where it is called koubeiba), the Arabian Peninsula, Armenia, Israel and several Latin American nations which received part of the Syrian and Lebanese diaspora during the early 20th Century, such as Brazil,Colombia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Honduras or Mexico.
Kibbeh is probably best known as a 7 to 15 cm-long torpedo-shaped bulgur shell stuffed with a filling of spiced minced lamb and fried until brown. British soldiers in the Middle East during the Second World War used to call these kibbeh "Syrian torpedoes".
In Levantine cuisine, there are a variety of dishes made with bulgur and minced lamb that are called kibbeh. The northern Syrian city of Aleppo (Halab) is famous for having more than 17 different types of kibbeh.
Kubbat Halab is an Iraqi version of kibbeh made with a rice crust and named after Aleppo. Kubbat Mosul, also Iraqi, is flat and round like a disc. Kubbat Shorba is an Iraqi-kurdish version made as a stew, usually with tomato sauce and spices. Raw kibbeh (Kibbe nayye), a meat and bulgur mix served raw like steak tartare is popular in Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and Iraq. It is often accompanied by arak and various salads. Kibbeh is sometimes served with a sesame seed tahina dip.
Kibbe can also be a mixture of chopped meat (lamb or beef), burghul, onion, mint and spices pressed into a flat baking pan. Then it is scored with a knife into diamond shapes about one or two inches in length, topped with pine nuts or almond slivers and butter, then baked in the oven until done.