So you’ve booked your ticket and are ready to embrace the land that gave us great staples such as shish kebab and tabouli. And while these two traditional Lebanese dishes are delightful (especially when combined), there’s a lot of culinary history that can be consumed on your next trip.
Here are five things every foodie should about know before venturing to Lebanon.
- THERE’S MEZZE, AND THEN THERE’S MEZZE…
Sure, we’ve all had our fair share of dips and freshly-baked pita, but the Lebanese culinary tradition hinges itself on an abundance of mezze dishes that can be consumed, bit by bit, throughout a long and languid afternoon.It is said that as many as forty small dishes can be presented in one mezze sitting, and they all intricately complement each other on both taste and texture.So saddle up and go hungry! Mezze might just be the beginning.
- THINK MORE SPICE, LESS SAUCE
The Lebanese prefer tasting the freshness and zest of their produce and their flavour bases derive from a pantry stocked with herbs and spices – so best leave the ketchup bottle at home!Or learn to love tour and Har – or garlic and chilli paste, respectively.
- ON EVERY TABLE…
You’ll see bread, and it is served with almost every meal, most often as a flatbread, or pita. Bread is so crucial to the Lebanese diet that some Arabic dialects refer to it as esh, meaning “life.”
- EAT LUNCH LIKE A KING
And dinner like a pauper. In more traditional areas, lunch is the main meal of the day in Lebanon and proceeds in several courses. From an appetiser of dips, heavier mezze-based dishes such as stuffed vine leaves, or sambousek, to fresh salads and a selection of grilled meats (the Lebanese have a tradition of favouring lamb).
- FOOD IS LOVE
Food takes a very central position in Lebanon’s social metrics. From gathering families for a meal to gathering friends before sampling Lebanon’s vibrant nightlife, food will always play a vital element in connecting loved ones.
So, pull up a chair and grab a handful of pita, your next trip to Lebanon got all the tastier!