One of my favourite things about holidays is all of the delicious food - and Beirut is one of those places you'll find yourself eating your way around!
To help you navigate the plethora of options, I thought I'd share my 15 MUST EAT Foods while you're in Beirut.
Essentially an Arabic pizza, Mana'ish is a flatbread spread with zaatar (a middle Eastern spice mix) or cheese - but make sure you get the zaatar version.
Mana'ish or Maneesh is a local specialty that almost every stall and restaurant has perfected - but have a look at TripAdvisor for reviews and recommendations on where to go. Some stalls and restaurants will even do non-traditional mana'ish with kiri (a creamy cheese spread) or with dessert toppings.
Similar to Spanish tapas or Greek meze, mezza is a selection of appetisers that is usually served as the start of a meal - but can be a meal in itself!
Most restaurants will bring an entire selection out to you with a main course order or have an a-la-carte menu to choose from. When eating at a restaurant with an a-la-carte menu, here are my top recommendations;
Hummus - no middle eastern meal is complete without hummus. If you thought you loved hummus before, wait until you try traditional hummus in Beirut. Amazing.
Baba Ghanouj - another dip, this one is made with eggplant, tahini, olive oil and lemon juice.
Labneh - A creamy yogurt cheese, delicious spread on pita bread or maneesh, sprinkled with zaatar.
Tabbouleh - A traditional salad style dish made of parsley, tomatoes, onions, mint, lemon juice and olive oil.
Fattoush - A salad that combines toasted pita bread with tomatoes, cucumbers, radish, mint and an incredible dressing.
Sambusek - Fried pastries with meat or cheese.
Stuffed Grape Leaves - similar to Greek dolmades but filled with a seasoned beef and rice mixture.
Falafel - Deep fried patties made from ground chickpeas and spices.
Lots and lots of Grilled Pita Bread
Throughout Beirut you'll find street carts with overflowing fruit displays. Fruit Cocktails are a favourite of the locals and are essentially a parfait made with different fruits, honey, nuts and yogurt or sweet cream (ashta).
You can choose exactly what you want or choose from a recommended combination.
Whilst the word in English might be a little offputting, Foul is a very traditional Arabic breakfast dish. Made from fava beans, it's a filling breakfast dish that's unlike anything else. Foul is to the Lebanese like Big Breakfasts are to Australians ;)
If you have a sweet tooth, Kanafe is a must try! Kanafe is a traditional cheese pastry soaked in sweet sugar syrup and topped with nuts and shredded coconut.
Shawarma are flatbread wraps filled with meat (beef, chicken, lamb or a combination) that has been grilled on a vertical spit and then finely shaved. it's a popular street food that can be customised to your tastes by adding different sauces and add ins. My favourite? Chicken shawarma with lots of garlic sauce.
Shish Tawouk are Lebanese chicken skewers that you'll find on almost every menu. Perfectly marinated and tender, they usually come with garlic sauce for dipping and flat bread for wrapping. Delicious!
Want to make them at home? Get my family's secret recipe here!
And last but not least, my all time FAVOURITE dessert! Karabish is ma’moul filled with pistachios or walnuts, and served with Natef (a meringue cream like addition that's perfect for dipping your Karabish into).