After arriving back in Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, I set out to explore the western part of the city. Come with me as I try some insane Lebanese street food in western Beirut, Lebanon!
My friend and guide Nico and I started at Ichkhanian Bakery, one of the oldest bakeries in the country!
At Ichkhanian Bakery, they make lots of amazing dishes, including lahmadjun, subberek, and manti. Lahmadjun is a baked flatbread topped with minced lamb, vegetables, spices, and other ingredients.
The lahmadjun is super crispy. It’s so savory and the lemon juice adds a zestiness! The Syrian style adds pomegranate molasses. It’s sweeter and juicier!
Then, I watched them roll out some dough to make manti. The Syrian-style one was so good, I took one to go.
As we walked through the neighborhood, we saw some old, abandoned palaces, including ones that had been hit with gunfire.
Then, we arrived at The Mansion, an old mansion where artists can work for free and exchange ideas.
It’s a 19th-century mansion with high ceilings and free WiFi. It’s an excellent place for Lebanese artists to get work done. There are more derelict 18th- and 19th-century mansions here alongside modern skyscrapers.
Then, we went to get some coffee from a stand on the street. got a double espresso for about $0.20 USD. It was very aromatic and tasty!
From there, we walked to Hamra Street, which used to be a very touristic street with cafes, theaters, and bars. Now, it’s full of commercial stores. We stopped by an open-air bakery selling snacks with lamb, cheese, chives, za’atar, and more.
I loved the spinach fatayer, which came stuffed with spinach and a bit of lime juice.
The fatayer bi jibneh was a soft, fluffy open pie stuffed with cheese and parsley. I loved it! And the sfeeha, or Baalbek-style meat pie, was unreal. It was both crispy and doughy and contained minced lamb.
The cheese sambousek reminded me of a cheese empanada and contained a nice, fluffy cheese. Finally, we had a little Lebanese-style pizza with cheese and an olive on top.
The lamb sambousek was tasty and crispy. What a great street food snack! It was my first time seeing a street food window like that in Lebanon!
Further on, we stopped at University Sage in front of the American University of Beirut. There, they make thin saj bread with fillings like tomatoes, cucumber, olive, lettuce, chicken, corn, and more. They cook it on a giant, dome-shaped griddle!
We ordered one with chicken, lettuce, pickles, corn, chips, barbecue sauce, mayo, and mustard. It was like a Lebanese burrito and was really delicious. I loved the bread and the mix of sauces.
Then, we stopped at Tonino Crepes and Waffles. They started off as a bakery but became famous for their crepes. Their crepes are thicker and softer than French crepes. We ordered one with white chocolate and strawberries.
I loved the white chocolate and strawberries! It was so different from a French crepe. It was so good and only cost $2 USD.
Then, we came across a vendor selling grilled ka’ak bread stuffed with cream cheese and za’atar for only $0.80 USD!
Then, we took a break from food and drove to Raouche Rock, which lies just off the coast. It reminded me of the Blue Grotto in Malta!
Our final stop was Barbar, a famous snack and pizza shop that sells famous sandwiches. They have chicken, fish, shrimp, crab, and more, but we went with the shrimp.
Best of all, they pressed and toasted it on a grill. Warm, toasted sandwiches are always the best! I liked the mayo, tartar sauce, pickle, and shrimp! The toasted bread was also perfectly crispy and warm. What a way to end my tour of western Beirut!
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