Lebanese people have immigrated to every corner of the globe. And I mean every corner! They have sizeable populations in South America, Mexico, the USA, Europe, Australia and even West Africa.
If you go anywhere in the world, you will find a Lebanese restaurant. If you go to Lebanon however, the quality of the food you will experience is so good you will almost cry. Happy tears of course. One of our friends in Lebanon once said to us “we don’t have to plan which restaurant to eat it, because in Lebanon everything is good. He was not wrong. Even people across the Middle East admit that Lebanon is a stand-out for food. Often the best restaurant in cities across the region, from Beirut to Riyadh, will be a Lebanese restaurant.
Even with the crisis, Lebanese people still have a flourishing food culture. So, if you venture to Lebanon what should you be eating? Obviously everything, but if you’re strapped for time these are our favourite picks!
Yes, so simple but so amazingly good! There are chicken restaurants all over the country that serve cheap grilled chicken. Normally it will be marinated and served with flat bread, chilli sauce and the most amazing garlic sauce called “thun”. It is said that you can often tell how good a place is by how good their garlic sauce is. Honestly, just even as I write this I am salivating thinking of the mountains of grilled juicy chicken we have consumed during our time in there.
Lebanese people, both in Lebanon and abroad, are obsessed with this. And with good reason! Kunefe is a type of cheese dessert that is commonly found throughout the Middle East, but particularly in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan. The cheese is cooked on a giant hot plate and mixed with semolina and sugar water. The end result is a gooey, crunchy, sweet square of absolute heaven. In Lebanon it is also common to stuff it into a sesame-topped bun with some added sugar syrup.
We all know hummus, but there are so many more of these dip type foods that are a must eat in Lebanon. Muhmara is made from red peppers, and is vibrant in colour and taste. Mutabal is a dip made from eggplant, but is different to baba ganouj. It’s just creamy eggplant goodness. Tahini – this is a sauce made from sesame seeds. It can be found everywhere and is a great dipping sauce for almost anything, but especially for falafel. Most of these dips are also vegan which makes it a paradise for both vegans and vegetarians!
This is a staple across the Middle East, but no one does it better than Lebanon. This is mashed up chickpeas or fava beans, which is then moulded into a ball and deep fried. The ones in Lebanon are just that extra bit special as they often make it in the shape of a tiny donut. Not only do they look super cute, but this means you get double the crunch when you bite into it.
This salad is a must have at every meal in Lebanon. It is a simple salad with crunchy bits of toasted pita bread and covered in a pomegranate molasses dressing. Sweet, sour, fresh and amazing!
This is the last one I will mention, otherwise this blog will turn into a novel. This dish is eaten at any time of day, but it’s particularly common in the morning. It’s a bowl of chickpeas, shredded chicken, and toasted bits of pita, which is then smothered in a garlic yoghurt sauce and also topped with chopped almonds. This is comfort food at its finest.
This is your sign to book those flights and visit Lebanon! Obviously, the best way to do it is to join one of our upcoming tours so you can experience Lebanon with people who truly know the country!