Category Archives: Food

Lebanese and their Love for Raw Kibbeh

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I try to avoid it but it’s really good specially with a glass of Arak!

Growing up, I never knew I was eating raw meat. Or maybe it was just that I didn’t think “raw” was something worth noting. I simply knew that kibbeh nayeh was incredibly good.

And so I was stunned by a recent spate of salmonella cases here in Michigan – home to America’s largest Middle Eastern population — linked to kibbeh nayeh served in a restaurant. That’s inexcusable to anyone who knows the rules about making raw kibbeh, a quintessential Lebanese dish.

“Kibbeh is the definitive Lebanese festive food,” says Kamal Mouzawak, founder of Souk el Tayeb, Beirut’s first organic farmers market, and owner of that city’s Tawlet restaurant, which showcases the talents of cooks from villages around Lebanon.

Kibbeh nayeh is made of minced raw lamb or beef, combined with bulgur, pureed onion and a mix of spices that partly depends on the cook. (My family’s spice mix: cinnamon, salt, pepper). All of the ingredients are kneaded together with a sprinkling of ice water, and then eaten — with olive oil, a scattering of chopped sweet onion, bundled in flatbread — immediately. Raw. [Link]

Who did the math in the XXL ad?

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XXL December ad – Couldn’t find a YouTube link to the new ad

A blog reader pointed out to me an error in the new 2013 XXL Energy Drink ad whereas the guy does a calculation mistake when counting the money him and his gf have. He says he got 900 and can manage an extra 200 plus Abu Abdo’s 150 which sums up to 1350 somehow.

Thank you Dory

St. Sarkis (Mar Sarkis) cake

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Armenians in Lebanon and around the world celebrate today the holiday of St. Sarkis, one of the most beloved saints among the Armenian nation. According to traditions, the night before St. Sarkis Day, “teenagers will go to church, firmly keeping an “Aghi plit” (salty cookie) in their pockets, which must be eaten before going to sleep. The salty cookie will make them thirsty and in their dreams whoever offers them a drink of water, will be their future husband or wife” [Source]. Added to that, there’s a special cake prepared on St. Sarkis holiday, known as the Musa Daghian “kumba”, which is a kind of “Darehats”. A coin (“michink”) is hidden inside the cake and whoever gets it will be the luckiest of the year, and will be the supporter of his/her family. [Read More]


I honestly had no idea about this feast or those food traditions up until I read a post about the Saint Sarkis cake on TasteOfBeirut. As it appears, this cake is a specialty of the Armenian community in the town of Anjar, a town located in the Bekaa valley in Lebanon.

The cake looks delicious and is easy to prepare (For those who cook). I have no idea if it is sold anywhere in Lebanon though. Here’s the required list of ingredients and method as taken from TasteOfBeirut’s post.

INGREDIENTS: 12 servings
3 cups of all-purpose flour
3/4 cup of olive oil
1/2 cup of boiling water (I added another 1/4 cup)(enough water for the dough to be moist but thick and firm)
1/3 cup of honey
1 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of raisins
1/4 cup of dried apricots, diced (I used candied orange rind also)
1/2 cup of chopped walnuts or almonds
1/4 cup of pine nuts or other nuts, plus extra to garnish the top
1/2 cup of sesame seeds
Spices: 3/4 tsp of ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp of cardamom, 1/2 tsp of nutmeg, 1/2 tsp of mahlab
2 tsp of baking powder
1 coin, wrapped in foil

1- Place the flour in a large skillet over medium-low heat and stir gently until the flour turns a light tan color. Transfer to a mixing bowl and add the sugar, spices and baking powder. Add the olive oil then the boiling water and mix until a thick dough is formed similar to a cookie dough; add the honey, nuts, raisins, apricots and mix to combine.
2- Spread the dough in a greased and floured round pan (9 to 12″ in diameter), inserting the foil-wrapped coin. Cut a piece of plastic wrap and place it over the dough and with your fingers pat the dough to smooth it out. Sprinkle sesame seeds on the surface and garnish with almonds or walnuts or other nuts. Bake at 350F for about 25 minutes until the surface is dry and golden brown. Cool and serve.

Israeli Pringles in Lebanese supermarkets

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Picture from LebanonDebate

The ISF found loads of “Israeli” Chips after a warehouse caught fire in Raouche. According to the article, no one still knows how these products are being sneaked into Lebanon and there seems to be many of them. Funnily enough, whomever wrote this report described the chips, as well as any type of food that’s coming from Israel, as being extremely dangerous as they might be poisonous.

Funnily enough because we’re talking about conspiracy theories while we can’t even control the qualify of meat distributed to shops/restaurants/hotels inside Lebanon.

Shawarmanji: First Impression

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Almost a year ago, I was having a talk with a restaurant owner that we need in Lebanon small shops that sell Shawarma the same way Kiosks are selling Hot Dogs and Crepes everywhere these days. He told me back then that it’s a good idea specially that there are very few decent Shawarma places but its only inconvenience is that you can’t keep the Shawarma “Sikh” for more than one or two days which could prove costly in the early stages if business doesn’t pick up.


Having said that, the people behind Shawarmanji seem to be confident that such a concept will pick up quickly and decided to open in 5 key areas in Lebanon as a start, in Hamra, Achrafieh, Sin el Fil, Zalka and Kaslik and are planning to expand later on in Lebanon and in the Arab world.


The idea behind Shawarmanji is simple: “Bringing The best Shawarma closer to you!”, but when it comes to Shawarma, I honestly don’t think anyone could compete with Boubouffe and after trying Shawarmanji for the first time last week, I still think Boubouffe is the best.

However, it’s really hard to compare both as one is a 30 year old restaurant in Achrafieh that sells very expensive Shawarma sandwiches among other things and with no plans to expand while Shawarmanji is only about Shawarma and is a new brand opening all over Lebanon. Aside from the convenience, Shawarmanji is very clean and the people working there are very professional from what I saw, and this is a very important feature specially when most Shawarma places in Lebanon are not that hygienic.

Picture taken from Shawarmanji’s Instagram

Price-wise, sandwiches range between 5500 and 6250 Liras (4$) for both meat and chicken while platters cost around 13,000 Liras (8$) which are very affordable prices in my opinion. There are other items on the menu, such as Sambousek and Rolls, Hummus, Salads and even desserts.
You can check out the whole menu [Here].

All in all, it’s a place worth trying and the best alternative to Boubouffe for me at the moment.

You can read more about Shawarmanji [Here].

Marion Bistro-Cafe is now called Social House

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I went to LeMall Dbayyeh yesterday to have lunch at Marion only to find out it’s no longer there. Instead there’s a new place called Social House that looks exactly the same with the same decor and everything but with different colors. I am not sure what happened there but it looks more like the owner decided to change the name after a dispute with his partners or something.

I had reviewed Marion back in November. You can check it out [Here].