Jump to content


Welcome to the eG Forums!

These forums are a service of the Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to advancement of the culinary arts. Anyone can read the forums, however if you would like to participate in active discussions please join the Society.

Photo

Lebanon, Cyprus & Syria in 15 days.


  • Please log in to reply
20 replies to this topic

#1 ChefCrash

ChefCrash
  • participating member
  • 709 posts

Posted 13 May 2009 - 09:31 AM

We will be there from May 15th to the 30th. It's been five years since our last visit.
Our goals:

In Beirut:
-Make Manaeesh (Zaatar pies) at the neighborhood bakery.
-Visit a restaurant that serves Hummus and Foul Mudammas for breakfast, made fresh in front of us and served hot.
-Visit a restaurant called "La Tabkha" because the name is funny.
-Lunch at the "Istambuli" near Hamra st. for the best fat kabobs (Leyeh).
-Lunch at the best Fish restaurant in Junieh by the sea.
-Dine every night in the street cafes of down town Beirut.
-Eat shawarma at the Muhatta restaurant in Damour.
-Bribe Muhatta employee for shawarma recipe.
-Visit a chicken sandwich (pannini) stand.
-Solicit Thoumieh recipe.
-Visit Basturma and Sujoq stands on Arax Ave in Bourj Hammoud.

In Deirmimas (southern Lebanon).
-Loquats are in season which attract delicious birds. We will hunt some for breakfast.
-Aqub will be just out of season, but my in laws froze a batch just for us.
-Will have a picnic under an Olive tree.


A one day visit to Damascus:
-Visit the "Hamedeyeh Souq" and the "Seven Seas Ave" areas where street vendors dish out some of the best Shawarma, Lahem Mishwi and killer Egg sandwiches. I hope they still have those.


Three days in Nicosia:
I don't recall much of Cypriot cuisine. Last time there we were Honeymooning and were busy.
We will sample foods in the cafes in the folksy areas (Ledra and Salonos st.)

I'd like to bring back a terracotta skillet and a "Babbour" (old kerosene camp stove).

If you have any suggestions please let me know.

There will be a bucket of chilled Almaza Beer waiting for me at Beirut Intl.

Will report in 15 days.

#2 melamed

melamed
  • participating member
  • 198 posts

Posted 13 May 2009 - 10:45 AM

wow! I am jealous :wink: Have a fantastic and safe trip.
Is the hummus/foul (mudammas) originally an Egyptian dish?

"Bribe Muhatta employee for shawarma recipe."- if you do get the recipe I hope I don't have to bribe you for it!

loquots are indeed in season, it is the end here but in Syria it is probably just the beginning. Sagzi says that in Turkey they stuff them with meat and grill them.

What do you do with Akub?( Gundelia tournefortii ?), have not cooked with it yet but it is popular in some of the Arab villages here.

Melouchia will soon be in season, I know that it is eaten in cyprus.

#3 FoodMan

FoodMan
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 4,316 posts

Posted 13 May 2009 - 11:05 AM

We will be there from May 15th to the 30th. It's been five years since our last visit.
Our goals:

In Beirut:
-Make Manaeesh (Zaatar pies) at the neighborhood bakery.
-Visit a restaurant that serves Hummus and Foul Mudammas for breakfast, made fresh in front of us and served hot.
-Visit a restaurant called "La Tabkha" because the name is funny.
-Lunch at the "Istambuli" near Hamra st. for the best fat kabobs (Leyeh).
-Lunch at the best Fish restaurant in Junieh by the sea.
-Dine every night in the street cafes of down town Beirut.
-Eat shawarma at the Muhatta restaurant in Damour.
-Bribe Muhatta employee for shawarma recipe.
-Visit a chicken sandwich (pannini) stand.
-Solicit Thoumieh recipe.
-Visit Basturma and Sujoq stands on Arax Ave in Bourj Hammoud.

In Deirmimas (southern Lebanon).
-Loquats are in season which attract delicious birds. We will hunt some for breakfast.
-Aqub will be just out of season, but my in laws froze a batch just for us.
-Will have a picnic under an Olive tree.


A one day visit to Damascus:
-Visit the "Hamedeyeh Souq" and the "Seven Seas Ave" areas where street vendors dish out some of the best Shawarma, Lahem Mishwi and killer Egg sandwiches. I hope they still have those.


Three days in Nicosia:
I don't recall much of Cypriot cuisine. Last time there we were Honeymooning and were busy.
We will sample foods in the cafes in the folksy areas (Ledra and Salonos st.)

I'd like to bring back a terracotta skillet and a "Babbour" (old kerosene camp stove).

If you have any suggestions please let me know.

There will be a bucket of chilled Almaza Beer waiting for me at Beirut Intl.

Will report in 15 days.

View Post

Ah! Lucky you. We probly won't be able to make it till next year. Do try and go to Labib's Bakery in Beirut for the most delicious and unusual Saj Manaeesh. I posted about it and put it on my blog a wile back. Let me know if you cannot find it.

I WANT that shawarma recipe if you do get it :smile:.

Have fun and be safe.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com


#4 Nicolai

Nicolai
  • participating member
  • 271 posts

Posted 14 May 2009 - 01:20 AM

Wishing you a nice trip.

1- I hope you will have the full Maza (Habra Nayeh - Kasbeh...etc) in Beirut or the mountains.

2- I hope you will have the Arabic Ice Cream in Souk Hamidiyeh in Damascus.

3- I hope you will have the Hamburger from the man with a van in the streets of Larnaca or at least a Stifado at any restaurant.
muhamara.com

#5 Nicolai

Nicolai
  • participating member
  • 271 posts

Posted 14 May 2009 - 01:32 AM

Is the hummus/foul (mudammas) originally an Egyptian dish?

- The Foul is originally an Egyptian dish, however has many variants in Egypt itself or whether in Lebanon - Syria - Palestine...etc

The main difference between the basic Egyptian Foul and the basic Lebanese Foul is that there is no Garlic in the Egyptian basic Foul recipe.

- As for Hummus, and again speaking of the Hummus BiThineh which is the original variant, it is Lebanese.

However although it is a debatable subject in terms of country ownership, it is definitely not Egyptian.



N.B. The Egyptian basic Foul recipe I am referring to, is the one sold on the street of Cairo.
Also note that the Egyptian original Taamia has a Lebanese variant and the difference is the use in Lebanon of chickpeas in their Falafel.
muhamara.com

#6 prasantrin

prasantrin
  • legacy participant
  • 5,468 posts

Posted 14 May 2009 - 03:11 AM

Ah! Lucky you. We probly won't be able to make it till next year. Do try and go to Labib's Bakery in Beirut for the most delicious and unusual Saj Manaeesh. I posted about it and put it on my blog a wile back. Let me know if you cannot find it.

View Post


I had to look back to see what you were talking about, and yes!! ChefCrash--please visit Labib's Bakery to try the saj manaeesh FoodMan is talking about! And see if you can get that recipe, too!

While you're in Syria, perhaps you can try baklava from many different bakeries. I still believe the best baklava/baqlawa I've ever had was Syrian, but I don't know why it was the best. I do think Middle Eastern baklava/baqlawa is much better than the Greek version, though.

#7 melamed

melamed
  • participating member
  • 198 posts

Posted 14 May 2009 - 04:42 AM

Is the hummus/foul (mudammas) originally an Egyptian dish?

- The Foul is originally an Egyptian dish, however has many variants in Egypt itself or whether in Lebanon - Syria - Palestine...etc

The main difference between the basic Egyptian Foul and the basic Lebanese Foul is that there is no Garlic in the Egyptian basic Foul recipe.

- As for Hummus, and again speaking of the Hummus BiThineh which is the original variant, it is Lebanese.

However although it is a debatable subject in terms of country ownership, it is definitely not Egyptian.



N.B. The Egyptian basic Foul recipe I am referring to, is the one sold on the street of Cairo.
Also note that the Egyptian original Taamia has a Lebanese variant and the difference is the use in Lebanon of chickpeas in their Falafel.

View Post

I agree with you about the hummus, it is associated more with Lebanon than with Egypt. What I must have been eating is the lebanese foul variation which is not cooked with garlic but it is always served with garlic/lemon sauce and green chili peppers.

#8 FoodMan

FoodMan
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 4,316 posts

Posted 14 May 2009 - 07:48 AM

Ah! Lucky you. We probly won't be able to make it till next year. Do try and go to Labib's Bakery in Beirut for the most delicious and unusual Saj Manaeesh. I posted about it and put it on my blog a wile back. Let me know if you cannot find it.

View Post


I had to look back to see what you were talking about, and yes!! ChefCrash--please visit Labib's Bakery to try the saj manaeesh FoodMan is talking about! And see if you can get that recipe, too!

While you're in Syria, perhaps you can try baklava from many different bakeries. I still believe the best baklava/baqlawa I've ever had was Syrian, but I don't know why it was the best. I do think Middle Eastern baklava/baqlawa is much better than the Greek version, though.

View Post


Sure taste is subjective and all, but I certainly agree, Lebanese Baklava is far superior IMO to Greek. It is milder and does not use honey and much spicing. As far as best one? I believe a certain Hallab in Tripoli makes the best. Period. IT really is scary good. I also posted about it a couple of times, here is one example. Hope ChefCrash gets a chance to go there too.

Also, here is the Labib post.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com


#9 nikkib

nikkib
  • participating member
  • 1,203 posts

Posted 01 August 2010 - 10:00 AM

any more recent recommendations for damascus? Planning to share a service taxi there from beiut(for the grand sum of $20) next week and assuming i make it across the boarder am planning to spend 2 days in damascus eating shawarma galore... any syrian specialities i should try too or stuff to bring back from the souks?
"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

#10 nikkib

nikkib
  • participating member
  • 1,203 posts

Posted 17 October 2010 - 12:14 PM

120.jpg

So i haven't had a chance to post recently due to work but here are some photos of my trip to Damascus a few weeks back, i went during Ramadan so not too much chance to eat during the day apart from this meal at a lovely restaurant in the Christian part of the old citadelle. Above you have hummus and roasted vegetables, then below we have fattoush and grilled kebbeh

123.jpg

followed by some arabic sweets and figs

126.jpg
"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

#11 nikkib

nikkib
  • participating member
  • 1,203 posts

Posted 17 October 2010 - 12:22 PM

068.jpg

Lots of people selling blackberry juice on the street along with fresh pomegranate juice - delicious and very refreshing

A rather toxic looking mint lemonade - not as good as ones i've had in lebanon or dubai, significantly sweeter but still good

081.jpg

And here a cute little bar again in the christian quarter where i stopped in for a beer or two, couldn't quite work this one out - a policeman walked past so the guy closed up, switched off the lights and made us all hush up yet it was clearly a bar from the street when i had walked past earlier - maybe they are not allowed to be open during the day during ramadan? Anyway it was a welcome refreshment and a fun place to mingle

242.jpg

Edited by nikkib, 17 October 2010 - 12:43 PM.

"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

#12 nikkib

nikkib
  • participating member
  • 1,203 posts

Posted 17 October 2010 - 12:42 PM

Here we have a sort of manoush with cheese on top that i bought from a little bakery for about 10cents! Very tasty and all you need for lunch in the heat in Damascus

244.jpg

Here is breakfast in my hostel which was simple but very nice indeed - i'm in love with fig jam at the moment, going to have to have a go making some at some point i think.....

185.jpg

And here, a rather beautiful way to have your water served - i could get used to this!

179.jpg

143.jpg

Interestingly black tea is much more popular here than the coffee you get everywhere in lebanon - and rather a cute way to serve sugar (in an egg cup!)

Edited by nikkib, 17 October 2010 - 12:46 PM.

"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

#13 nikkib

nikkib
  • participating member
  • 1,203 posts

Posted 17 October 2010 - 01:28 PM

This great little bakery was making this fantastic flat bread - crispier than the arabic bread we get here in lebanon, they were more than happy to let me in for photos as you can see....

136.jpg

137.jpg

138.jpg

139.jpg

140.jpg
"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

#14 nakji

nakji
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 3,659 posts
  • Location:Shanghai

Posted 17 October 2010 - 03:51 PM

Excellent, excellent looking food, nikki. Why is it you always make me want to get on a plane? I can just hear my phone call to my mother now: "Hi Mum? Yes, I'm leaving China and going to Syria. No - it'll be great. The bread there looks divine!"

And the figs. I wish we were getting figs like that.

And here a cute little bar again in the christian quarter where i stopped in for a beer or two, couldn't quite work this one out - a policeman walked past so the guy closed up, switched off the lights and made us all hush up yet it was clearly a bar from the street when i had walked past earlier - maybe they are not allowed to be open during the day during ramadan? Anyway it was a welcome refreshment and a fun place to mingle


I've had that happen to me so many times in Hanoi - maybe it was just random police harrassment? It would be interesting to know. My husband and I were in Malaysia over Ramadan, and during the day, the Chinese restaurants were reliably open. Lots of bars, too, but that could have been just for the tourists.

#15 nikkib

nikkib
  • participating member
  • 1,203 posts

Posted 18 October 2010 - 12:16 PM

Thanks Nakji!!- although if you thought the bread looked good wait until you see the icecream......

174.jpg

172.jpg

171.jpg

167.jpg

175.jpg

Bakdash is a traditional ice cream shop in the main souk, eat in (and it was PACKED) or takeaway - most people went for the plain icecream in pistachios which was what i went for and it was gooood!

169.jpg

Edited to add - this lovely couple were somewhat intrigued by all my photos and asked for me to take theirs - so elegant!!

Edited by nikkib, 18 October 2010 - 12:19 PM.

"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

#16 nikkib

nikkib
  • participating member
  • 1,203 posts

Posted 19 October 2010 - 11:46 AM

Delicious Lamb awarma on top of manoush in the Christain quaerter of Damascus

116.jpg
"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

#17 ChefCrash

ChefCrash
  • participating member
  • 709 posts

Posted 20 October 2010 - 12:28 AM

Great to hear from you again, I thought you may have gone back to Britannia.
Thanks for the photos. The water boy's is classic.

The juice you say is berry juice looks a lot like "sharab el'sous", a drink made from Licorice root very popular during Ramadan. Did you try it?

The incident in the pub. It is not uncommon for the non fasting community (Muslim or Christian), to respectfully avoid eating, drinking and general display of glee in view of the working, hungry, thirsty ones that do.:)

I've got to make some Awarma ( confit d'agneau).

Thanks again. Keep them coming.

#18 nikkib

nikkib
  • participating member
  • 1,203 posts

Posted 20 October 2010 - 10:20 AM

Still very much here and will be for a while just crazy busy at work - must remember to get out more! Damascus was amazing - i loved it, looking forward to heading to aleppo in the new year as well as it was just too far this time. I figured the bar closure was to do with ramadan it just seemed weird as it was so clearly open, the pretence seemed comical though! The people could not have been friendlier either, i really did have fun!
"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

#19 Chufi

Chufi
  • participating member
  • 3,117 posts
  • Location:Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Posted 07 January 2011 - 08:00 AM

just posting a quick thank you to you nikkib, we're heading to Syria in May and looking at your pics has really made look forward to the trip even more! thanks for taking the time to post your pictures and write up this trip report!

#20 nikkib

nikkib
  • participating member
  • 1,203 posts

Posted 16 January 2011 - 12:29 PM

Have a great time! Damascus is amazing - am planning on heading to aleppo next along with homa and hams so will post more when i make it there!
"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

#21 nikkib

nikkib
  • participating member
  • 1,203 posts

Posted 06 March 2011 - 01:38 PM

Headed back to Damascus for the day last week so had a chance to explore a bit more -

street vendors selling pomegranate juice this time-squeezed to order & delicious

027.jpg

Sweets & candied fruits

024.jpg
025.jpg
062.jpg

More bakeries.............

055.jpg

More ice cream - this time eating in

071.jpg
080.jpg

more great locals!!!

078.jpg

and how could i forget the coffee?

049.jpg
050.jpg
"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man