Archive | Food

Simit Sarayi is Opening in Lebanon

I was at the Spot Choueifat last night when I noticed that Simit Sarayi is set to soon open there on the ground floor. I’m sure those who have been to Istanbul are familiar with the place, but for those who are not, Simit Sarayi is basically a chain of coffee shops / bakeries best known for their simit (circular bread similar to bagels encrusted with sesame seeds).

Wherever you go around Istanbul you are guaranteed to stumble upon one of its branches, so it is more like a Turkish version of Starbucks. Their prices are a bit higher than other places and street simit vendors though, but from my experience the service and the pastries freshness were always well worth it.

The only other place in Beirut that serves simit is a Turkish restaurant in Hamra called Mado but they never serve them fresh, so I hope Simit Sarayi commit to better quality standards.

On a side note I’m personally finding it a bit weird for F&B companies to launch some of their brands from the Spot Choueifat. The mall doesn’t have an ideal location and driving to it is not really a pleasant experience especially at night. Still, IHOP opened last week and now Simit Sarayi is expected to do so anytime soon…

Update:

A friend told me they are also opening soon at Citymall Dora.

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100 Years of Dibs El Kharroub

I usually frequently search Vimeo for Lebanese content but for some reason totally missed this 4 minutes documentary by Nay Aoun about a family that has been making Dibs El Kharroub (Carob Molasses) for over a hundred years now at a village called Ksaibeh in Mount Lebanon!

Fadwa, 80 years old now, was taught how to make molasses by her father and has been practicing the tradition since she was 15. Against her father’s will, she also used to sneak during the night to a guy called Menhem to teach him the correct recipe because he never got it right in his little workshop back then. The two eventually ended up getting married and started working together.

The son George is currently taking over the tradition but is unfortunately having difficulty convincing his children to do the same now.

If it wasn’t for the video I honestly wouldn’t have known making molasses was such a delicate process!

For those who are not familiar with it, Carob Molasses are mostly used in deserts recipes such as molasses cakes or it can simply be mixed with Tahini (Dibs w Tahini) and people usually have it with biscuits or bread. It is also an essential ingredient of Jallab the famous Ramadan drink.

Update:

I just noticed the video cannot be embedded due to its privacy settings so you can watch it on Vimeo here.

via /r/Lebanon

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Review – Munchease Khaldeh

On the highway from Beirut to Saida there probably not a single restaurant or sandwich joint worth seeking for good food except for this burger place called Munchease.

Until last summer I never thoigh of checking it out even though a couple of friends kept talking about how good it is, but it wasn’t until they once dragged there me that I knew what I was missing!

I know there are several good burger places in Beirut but Munchease is probably the most underrated one among them. Passing on the highway you can’t miss it after COOP as it stands out with the wooden design and cool ambiance.

The menu is straight forward and is divided into 4 sections, starters, subs, burgers, and hot dogs. By now I can claim I tried almost everything they have and was never left disappointed except for when it gets too crowded inside (especially on weekends) even though the friendly waiters try their best to cope with everybody.

The portions are in general quite generous, and you can sometimes get enough with appetizers alone whenever you do not intend to go on an eating spree! My personal favorites are the mozzarella sticks, onion rings and chicken wings, and although they’re all fried items but they always served crispy and taste “clean” (or non-oily). I highly recommend you try the chicken wings by the way because they’re as good if not better than those served at popular american diners in town.

On to the burgers. They’re good, trust me, and I won’t go on to describe the bun and the patty because they’re just good! However, one thing you have to know about the people at Munchease is that they like their items to be overloaded with sauces and cheese. So the burgers they serve will always be messy (good luck avoiding to drip) and quite heavy with all the cheese inside. I personally always feel full with their decadent combo meals and never managed to finish the fries at the end.

For starters, I recommend you go with my all time favorite “Munchease Special” since it has the least amount of cheese, and make sure to try their different dips since they all taste good especially the honey mustard.

Price wise, value for money is quite fair compared to other places, a fulfilling meal for two with drinks will set you back around $20-25 which is far less that what you’d pay at other popular diners or burger joints.

Long story short, Munchease is worth the 10 minutes drive from Beirut to change from the usual places you’re used to, and with the summer season ahead, it’s also one of the ideal places to hit on your way back from the southern beach resorts.

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Bouza 3a Kousa and Other Weird Flavors at Fadi Fruits

Fadi is a quite popular fruit and vegetable store in Jnah that has been recently making rounds around social networks for the zucchini-flavored ice cream. The thing eventually went viral simply because “bouza 3a kousa” has been always regarded among the least appetizing things to try.

And it seems like he’s intending to continue with these weird flavors! Over the last few days he posted about spicy chocolate ice cream, and just today he added a new beetroot flavor!

Aside from ice cream, Fadi is well known by the way for the high quality vegetables (at a relatively high price) and the seasonal products that you can’t easily find in other stores.

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Lebanese Hairdresser Uses Nutella to Color Women’s Hair

I just stumbled upon this Instagram account by a Lebanese hairdresser named Abedallah Itani who uses Nutella, conensed milk, and cotton candy among other products to color women’s hair!

The idea sounds crazy indeed but judging from the videos he posts it seems that it somehow works! I’m not sure though how long does the resultant color last or how bad does the hair smells afterwards… I mean I enjoy the smell of Nutella but I doubt anybody would want to have it on them all day long!

Coloring using Nutella

A post shared by Abed🇱🇧 (@abedallahitani) on

…using cotton candy

A post shared by Abed🇱🇧 (@abedallahitani) on

… and even caramel!

A post shared by Abed🇱🇧 (@abedallahitani) on

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Fishermen in Tripoli Caught Huge Inedible Sunfish and Sold it to The People!

Fishermen from Tripoli caught a huge Ocean Sunfish weighing more than 1000Kg this morning and people got outraged about it since it is a threatened specie of fish that feeds on jellyfish and poses absolutely no danger to divers.

In my humble opinion, I believe it is the authorities who should be blamed about such things because it seems like they allow anybody to go fish anything they encounter in the sea. It is true the Ocean Sunfish can be mistaken for a shark sometimes due to its dorsal fin, but fishermen should be educated enough about the species that should not be caught, and should also learn how to differentiate one from the other before given permission to work.

Aside from being endangered or not, fishermen should refrain from killing inedible species, and even if they did by mistake then they should get rid of it instead of selling it in the market, which unfortunately is not the case with this Sunfish! According to Wikipedia, it is not yet confirmed whether the Ocean Sunfish has some poisonous organs or not, so I wouldn’t take a chance trying to eat it. However, several photos on Facebook showed the fish being cut and sold at some fish market in Tripoli.

This is basically similar to witnessing a donkey or a sick cow being killed at the Karantina Slaughterhouse… I doubt such thing would go unnoticed and so should be trading this fish.

I just hope no one gets poisoned from consuming it, and I also the authorities invest a little more into educating the fishermen in order to prevent such incidents from occurring in the future.

Photos via Michel Bariche

Update:

As per the below memo, Governor of North Lebanon Judge Ramzi Nohra ordered the confiscation of this fish meat due to it being poisonous, in addition to ban killing such endangered species. Such memos and decisions are definitely better late than never!

via Animal Animals Lebanon FB Page.

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We Need a Cheaper Version of Souk El Akel

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Even though Souk El Akel has been up for well more than a year now, I have only managed to go check it out a while ago in Beirut Downtown. And just like almost everybody else, I enjoyed the different flavors each stand was offering and loved how appetizing the food looked on display. The general ambiance also felt pretty nice with joyful people all around.

Raclette Burger in the making

Raclette Burger in the making

Still, I was surprised with a couple of things, first being the unreasonable prices that are definitely not suitable for street food, and second the fact that no one seems to be bothered about it.

$5.6 Pizza slices

I have the utmost respect for Anthony (the founder of Souk El Akel) and everybody in his team for the effort they’re putting to let people enjoy clean and appetizing street food in a cool ambiance, but if that comes at a high cost like a $10 burger or $3.3 popsicle, then you can no longer call it street food, and for such prices I’d rather be at some restaurant enjoying a seated meal. I’m totally aware though that some items include premium ingredients like salmon and Angus beef, but then again, when I want to go have a street burger or a sandwich, it doesn’t really have to be made of premium stuff, just make me something tasty!

$8 Waffles anyone?

I don’t claim to have toured the world, but I have tried street food in several places like the US, Thailand, Turkey, Singapore, and Malaysia, and the prices were always dirt cheap for some of the best flavors I’ve tasted! So I really don’t understand how people here feel indifferent about $10 quick bites and dessert. It’s either everybody is suddenly better off, or I’m simply a cheap guy (I doubt the latter though :P).

I tried these ice cream rolls in Kuala Lumpur last October for no more than $2. Now available as Frooza at the Souk for $8.

All in all, paying $30 for some appetizer, a sandwich, and a dessert is just too much in my opinion for a street food market. For all I know, the organizers and the vendors are free to set whatever price they want and people will probably keep coming because it’s a new and cool concept to Lebanon, but making room for cheaper bites certainly make Souk El Akel earn its name.

$9 Chicken and pork sandwiches

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