Category Archives: Food

Good News From Tripoli! KFC Opens Again ..

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Picture from TripoliLebanonNews

We haven’t heard good news from Tripoli for a long while now, but today KFC reopened its Tripoli branch after it got burned by demonstrators back in September 2012.

I know that’s not a big deal when compared to what’s happening there but at least few Tripoli residents will get to work there and benefit from this re-opening.

Thanks Mustapha!

The Lebanese Labneh Scandal

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Joe Maalouf revealed last week during his show “7ki Jeliss” on LBCI that there are traces of Natamycin found in some Labneh products in Lebanon. These findings were based on laboratory test results conducted by UFAG, a well known lab based in Switzerland, and indicated that Dairy Khoury and Dairy Day milk products had traces of Natamycin, while Massabki Labneh had traces of sorbic acid. On the other hand, Candia and Taanayel didn’t show any traces of Natamycin or Sorbic acid.

Labneh

It didn’t take long before Dairy Khoury held a press conference and explained to the public that they are not doing anything wrong, but Health Minister Wael Abou Faour still referred the case to the General Prosecution and claimed that “adding Natamycin to Labneh is a violation of Lebanese standard specifications in the production of strained yogurt”. He continued saying that “there were no published studies on the public health effects of using Natamycin at the levels found in the labneh, particularly on children”.

I am no expert when it comes to such things, but based on what I’ve read, Natamycin is commonly used as a surface preservative for certain dairy products in Europe and the US, but should not exceed a certain amount. Having said that, the Health Ministry should redo the tests properly and make sure all Lebanese companies are respecting the standards set. Moreover, Maalouf should investigate not only the Labneh companies violating the law (If they truly are) but why the concerned ministry didn’t perform the necessary checks and approve of such products in the first place.

Review: O&C The Fresh Market

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O&C is a supermarket and restaurant that’s located on the Jal el Dib highway. I love shopping there as it’s a relatively small market where you can easily find everything you need, but I’ve never had lunch or dinner at their restaurant on the 2nd and 3rd floor. I remember once ordering Sushi and picking up a fish order for my parents, but that’s about it. O&C restaurant only serves fish and sushi.

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Having said that, I reserved a table for lunch last weekend and headed there with my family. I easily found a place to park and there’s of course valet parking for those who want to, then we went in and were seated almost immediately at our table. The place was packed and there were people waiting in the lobby as well. We were asked if we’d like to pick our fish from the display on the entrance, so I went there with my dad and selected which types of fish we wanted, and whether we wanted them fried or grilled. I am usually annoyed by the smell coming out of a fish display in supermarkets but the O&C one didn’t have a strong smell.

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After picking our fish, we ordered some appetizers, mainly Fattoush, Moutabbal, Fries, Chanklish and grilled shrimps. We also ordered around 20-25 pieces of Sushi. The waiters were very friendly but we waited a good 15-20 minutes before we got the drinks and appetizers which weren’t ours. Few minutes after, he got us the correct order and apologized for this mistake, which wasn’t really a big deal.

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The Fattoush was good but I’d rather have it without Debs el Remman next time as it was too sweet for my liking. The Moutabbal, Chanklish and Shrimps were really good and the fries which looked more like potato wedges than fries were good as well. We ended up ordering more shrimps as they were gone in no time and everyone loved them.

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Now the real surprise was the Sushi, which tasted fresh and was exceptionally good. I was told by some friends that it’s good, but I didn’t expect it to be better than Soto and Ichiban, which are two of my favorite Sushi places in Lebanon. I had some O&C sushi delivered to my place few days later as well and it was as good as the first time.

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As far as fish is concerned, the fried and grilled ones we ordered were good and the waiter cleans up and serves the grilled one for you. I usually prefer Mallifa when it comes to fried fish but they didn’t have any. It is worthy noting that the price tags that you see on the fish display do not include the frying (20,000LL extra) and grilling (24,000LL extra) as O&C is a market where you could just buy the fish and go so don’t be surprised to see extra charges on the bill.

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Moving on to the dessert, the waiter came with a selection of desserts that we could choose from, including Jelo, Chocolate custard, Riz bi Haleeb, Sfouf, Maamoul and Kaak bi Tamer, all free of charge. We ended up paying around 35-40$ per person which is a very reasonable price.

All in all, I would recommend O&C for fish and sushi, specially when it’s a rainy weather and you don’t wanna head out to one of those fish restaurants by the sea. I loved their delivery service as well, as they are punctual and have reasonable prices.

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Liza Beirut Restaurant Mentioned In The Architectural Digest

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The Architectural Digest is also known as the International Design Authority and has been out there since 1920. Liza Beirut is a contemporary Lebanese Restaurant that first started in Paris and is now open in Achrafieh on the second floor of a 19th century palace. Everything’s great about this place, from the decor to the ambiance and the food of course!

In case you missed my review of Liza, you can read it [Here].

Having won accolades for her namesake Paris eatery, restaurateur Liza Asseily is now offering her upscale Middle Eastern cuisine in the city that inspired it. Her new outpost, called Liza Beirut, is set in the Lebanese capital’s stylish Achrafieh neighborhood, where it occupies the second floor of a 19th-century palace. Devised by designer Maria Ousseimi, the decor of the light-filled 5,400-square-foot space provides the same local zest as the food—filigreed window partitions join wallpapers patterned with lush banana leaves and the country’s former currency, forming a chic backdrop for the smart contemporary furnishings. [AD]

Heads Up About Nutella In Lebanon: U.S VS Polish Version

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I was at O&C having lunch on Sunday and I thought I pass by the supermarket and pick up some stuff on the way out. On my way to the cashier, I noticed they had some Nutella jars on display so I picked up one but saw that it was priced at 9000 Lebanese Liras (6$), which is almost double the price of the one I usually buy. I asked around and as it turns out, the Nutella I got is the American version while the commonly available Nutella in Lebanon comes from Poland (Packaging done in KSA or something like that) and is priced at roughly 3$. Weirdly enough, the guy I asked told me this is the “original” one, as if the Polish one is fake or something.

I ended up getting both to see if the US one is any better but I haven’t tasted them yet as I am trying to get an Italian or German Nutella to taste as well. To be honest, I am just curious to know if they do taste that differently, but I don’t think I will switch to the US version and pay double the price even if it tastes better.

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The commonly available Nutella jar in Lebanon has Arabic writing on the back

Update: Here’s the list of ingredients for both as written on the back of each jar:

Polish Version
Ingredients: Sugar, Vegetable oil (palm), hazelnuts, fat reduced cocoa powder, skimmed milk powder, demineralized whey powder, emulsifiers (Soy Lecithins), flavouring.

American Version
Ingredients: Sugar, Palm oil, hazelnuts, cocoa, skim milk, reduced minerals whey (milk), lecithin as emulsifier (soy), Vanillin: an artificial flavor.

Cannelle’s Heavenly Brownies

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Cannelle is a pastry located in Achrafieh in the SNA building. People usually go there for its macarons, croissants and cakes but I highly recommend you try their brownies. The top is crunchy, and the inside is moist and fudge-like. It’s the perfect brownie for me!

If you are a Baba au Rhum fan, I recommend you try theirs as well.

Atayeb Lebnen

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I got the above “Atayeb Lebnen” gift basket on Christmas and it included virgin olive oil, Zaatar (Thyme), Sumac and honey. Since I didn’t move yet to my new house, I kept the basket at my parents’ house as my mom likes to try out local produce even though most of the stuff I’ve been getting in the past couple of years from NGOs and charities were disappointing. Surprisingly though, she called me a week later telling me that the olive oil tasted great and that it’s the best Zaatar and Summac she’s tasted in a long while and even asked me to get her some more (That was a first!). I tasted the Zaatar and the olive oil and both were indeed excellent.

I looked up Atayeb Lebnen online and found their really nice website that sells local produce individually or in baskets. There’s Thyme (Zaatar Baladi), Sumac, Extra Virgin Oil, Pine nuts, Honey and Arak Baladi. The prices are reasonable and the Thyme, Sumac and Pine Nuts come in different quantities. There’s also a description next to every product on how it’s made and in which Lebanese village. Needless to say, everything is 100% Lebanese.

Joun is a village located in the Shouf. Every year in autumn, the women of the village prepare their mooneh and store it in preparation for a long cold winter. In fact, you can find in Joun some of the best mooneh produce in the country! And this is where our thyme comes from. Just like it is mixed to be eaten at home, or to be taken in the early morning to the bakery for the manakish, the thyme has a homey and a homemade feeling to it. Mixed with high quality roasted sesame and freshly ground sumac, it is sure to give your manakish a taste you’ve rarely had before!

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The website offers a next day delivery for 6$ which is also a reasonable cost and you can either pay cash on delivery or using a credit card. Knowing that I love Arak, I ordered some Arak Baladi to see how good it tastes.

You can check out Atayeb Lebnen’s products [Here].

Lebanese Restaurant Taverna Du Liban Attacked by Taliban In Kabul

_72362064_2abc8cfc-a4b3-495e-92e4-ccf33a11787d The restaurant’s chef, Abdul Majid, was among those injured via BBC

Apparently the restaurant was a popular attraction in Kabul’s Wazir Akbar Khan area and a lot of foreign nationals and diplomats used to visit it. Unfortunately, the restaurant’s owner Kamal Hamade, grabbed a gun and tried to defend his beloved restaurant and guests but was shot dead by the assailants. According to BBC Chief International Correspondent Lyse Doucet, Kamal “made the best chocolate cake in Kabul, the best Lebanese food and, he thought, the best evacuation plan“.

At least 16 people, including both Afghans and foreigners, were killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up near a popular Lebanese restaurant in the Afghan capital Kabul police have said. Ari Gaitanis, a spokesman for the United Nations, said late on Friday four UN civilian personnel, who were reportedly near explosion scene at the time of the attack, remained unaccounted for. Taliban fighters claimed responsibility for Friday’s attack in the Wazir Akbar Khan district, which hosts many embassies and restaurants that cater to expatriates. [Jazeera]