Showcasing Lebanese Cuisine

Patrick Drake from the World Kitchen in the U.K. made a recent trip to Lebanon and I just had to share these videos that showcase the world-class cuisine, starting with traditional Lebanese foods.  He talks with Kamal Mouzawak who created Lebanon’s first farmer’s market Souk el Tayeb and the restaurant Tawlet, that I previously wrote about. The video also includes a great how-to for fattoush and kibbeh.

“For an authentic insight into a country’s cuisine a great place to start is the local farmer’s market and the Souk el Tayeb in Beirut doesn’t disappoint. I was fortunate enough to meet the organiser of the market Kamal Mouzawak and quickly realised that this market goes way beyond a simple amalgam of local produce. For Kamal the market is practically a socio-political statement that people from myriad different religious, political and idealistic backgrounds can be united through a common love of all things edible. Each week all sorts of lively characters travel from the four small corners of Lebanon to sell their wares and the sense of community around the stalls as old friends ran into each other was tangible.

Lebanon has been a cultural melting pot for a long time owing in no small part to occupation by the Ottoman Turks and then later the French. Enlisting the help of Chef Malek from the prestigious Phoenicia hotel,  we ploughed our way through the incredible mezze in the market. Battata Harra, Fatayer, Saj…you name it I ate it, such that by the time it came to cooking lunch I wasn’t sure I could take much more….The thing I love about Lebanese people is the totally matter-of-fact way in which they explain to you that their cuisine is the best in the Middle East as if the point is not even up for discussion. Chef Malek is more accustomed to catering for the hundreds of people that walk through the doors of his restaurant Mosaic but he took time out to show me some of the basics.  This week we’re going to cover a couple of simple dishes that many of you will be familiar with though not necessarily know how to make: Kibbeh and Fattoush. In my next installment of World Kitchen we’re going to the opposite end of the scale as I check out one of Beirut’s top chefs and we take an entirely modern look at local cuisine.”

The second video looks at Lebanese fusion cuisine (including an amazing looking Freekeh Risotto) and the wine industry. Believe me, I know the wine in Lebanon is fantastic!

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