Why is Food in Lebanon so Amazing ?

SOBEIRUT Speaks to Food & Drink leaders in Lebanon for the answer

Barbara Massaad - President of Slow Food

Food is in all aspects of a person’s life in Lebanon. Lebanon has been like a melting pot for the Middle East, you know, for travelers, for the Mediterranean area. So each, each civilization has brought recipes, their way of doing, so we have gathered all this know-how, and we’ve used it in our cuisine.

Mohamad Jaroudi – Owner MJ's Burger

The thing about, about the Lebanese people is they’re all major foodies. Its an amazing and interesting thing, no matter what the tastes and flavors are every single Lebanese person is a foodie.

Patrick Cochrane – Owner The Alleyway group

I think there is a universal respect for food amongst the Lebanese and there is a great nationalistic pride when it comes to food.

Barbara Massaad

The difference between Lebanese food and lets say food from Europe or in the United States is the variety of fresh ingredients that you have. And those basic ingredients you can do so much with.

Mohamad Jaroudi

Lets say you’re going to have breakfast and you’re going to have a Manouchi. Most Manouchi joints are owned and operated by the owner and maybe aided by a couple of other teammates. But not one will taste the same as the other. That’s why I think that applies to burgers and other dishes. So that’s what I think characterizes, I would say, cuisine here in Lebanon.

Why did I decide to come back to Beirut and open the restaurant here is because of the easy-going nature of people. Just being able to hug a person as they enter, calling them out by their first name. Its just this, this street nature of restaurants here, even if it’s a high-end restaurant.

Barbara Massaad

I used to live in America and coming here I lost 10 pounds. Naturally, without doing anything because the diet here is a healthy diet.

Patrick Cochrane

One of the wonderful things about the drinking scene in Lebanon is there is something for everybody. We have a fantastic sort of local beer industry, which is growing. Excellent wines in Lebanon. Some of the best wines that I’ve had are coming out of these small, boutique, sort of wineries. Regardless of what you want to experience, it is available.

Nabil Baz - Owner Bab El Mina Restaurant Byblos

Sea Food cuisine in Lebanon, it’s a unique cuisine, throughout the Middle East. Which, I think ours is more wild and you, you taste the freshness of the sea. That kinda taste.

Barbara Massaad

We live the basics here and we’re still living them. Regardless of globalization, regardless of fast foods entering our country, regardless, regardless. We’re still going through that.

Nabil Baz

One of the few things I remember is, I used to go out with the old fishermen. Small boats would go out, just, just outside the port and they’d throw the nets in and, and come back and go out in a couple hours later to bring the fish in and that was, that was one of the great memories that I have.

Barbara Massaad

With food you can disarm anyone. Food is the common denominator for the Lebanese. It’s our common language.

Patrick Cochrane

I think love is expressed through food in this country and I think everyone should come to Lebanon to experience the hospitality of the Lebanese. Their, their love for life expressed through their food and expressed through their celebration is second to none.

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Words By Scott Preston | Photography Scott

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