We need a new culinary trend, like now!

KHALLAS with the Burgers already!  (How do you like that?  I used an Arabic word to express my frustration!)

I have officially had it with Burgers, Burger joints, and Burger reviews!!!  I think I have read enough about Burgers, their Buns, and Fries to last me a LIFETIME.

Thank you Gino’s Blog, Our man inBeirut, Deedee McFly, Blog Baladi, Ivy Says, Note Connection, Beirut Driveby, Plus 961, My Truth, The Diary of a Dazed and Confused, Le Bleugg, Mind Soup, Lebanon News: Under rug swept, Life With Moda for your coverage of the burger craze that has left Lebanon in a food-induced stupor..I just think it’s high time we have a more constructive discussion.  But this time about…


What we think the NEXT BIG CULINARY TREND to sink it’s teeth into Lebanon will be..and perhaps to make some suggestions to any restauranteurs who might just be listening..(you better listen to us you restauranteurs you..we are the ones reviewing your joints!)

If I had my way (and trust me, I like to get my way)..I would happily welcome any one of the following 4 types of cuisines as new culinary trends, as they remain grossly underrepresented in good old Lebanon..at least, as far as I know.

Note: Most of the cuisines on my list are known to be “spicy,” and from what I’ve heard about the Lebanese palate..most Lebanese people don’t like/appreciate spicy foods..but you know what?  I’m out to change all of that..It’s time we switch things up a bit, no?

4. Indian

So what if you smell like curry for a couple of hours after your meal, Indian food is where it’s at!  Often characterized by the extensive use of spices, herbs, and vegetables, each family of Indian cuisine includes a wide assortment of dishes and cooking techniques.  As a result, it varies from region to region, reflecting the varied demographics of this ethnically-diverse subcontinent. (source: wikipedia)

Think butter chicken (my favorite!),  curry chicken/vegetables, tandoori chicken, naan bread, roti, basmati rice, chick peas, palak paneer (spinach and cheese), and yogurts..just to name a FEW dishes.

Indian Food

You know what this is? This is HEAVEN!

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South Indian Cuisine

South Indian Cuisine..looks strikingly similar to Lebanese food.

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And you can’t mention Indian food without talking about Lassi – a popular and traditional yogurt based drink of India and Pakistan.

Mango Lassi

Mango lassi!

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3.  Thai

Let’s drop the obsession with sushi for a new, better Asian obsession: Thai food!  Seriously..isn’t pad thai just THE BEST?

For those of you new to Thai, Thai cuisine places emphasis on lightly prepared dishes with strong aromatic components.  As such, Thai cuisine is known for being spicy (there’s that scary word!  learn to love it, learn to love it..)

Thai food strikes a balance between the five fundamental taste senses in each dish or the overall meal: hot (spicy), sour, sweet, salty, and (optional) bitter.  Balance, detail, and variety are very important in Thai cooking.  (source: wikipedia)

I think I already mentioned that pad thai is da bomb..but also think red curry, green curry, shrimp dishes (coconut shrimp!!), beef dishes, veggie dishes, dumplings,, and a lot of other dishes with coconut and bamboo shoot whose names I can’t pronounce.. 😀


Thai Cuisine

PAD THAI..hell yes!

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Thai Seafood Curry

Prawn and Lobster Curry..yum

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Thai Green Curry

Green Curry! Spicy = good.

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2.  Peruvian

There’s more to Peru than Machu Picchu..

Machu Picchu

The ancient Incan city of Machu Picchu

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There is also incredibly good food!  Peru is famous throughout South America for its cuisine.

Peruvian culture is mixed with American, African, Spanish, Native American, Japanese, Chinese, Aymaran, and Andean cultures.   This diversity is reflected in its delicious cuisine. (source: wikipedia)

Think CEVICHE! (who doesn’t love ceviche?), many other awesome fish dishes, skewered meat, stuffed peppers, marinated steak, stuffed potatoes, awesome Peruvian corn, and other refreshingly delicious dishes incorporating vegetables.  And who could forget Pisco – the alcohol of Peru.

Peruvian food

Aji de Gallina, a famous Peruvian dish

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Peruvian food

A typical Peruvian seafood dish..

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Peruvian ceviche

Ceviche, oh how I miss you.

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Pisco Sour

The Pisco Sour, traditional Peruvian drink

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1.  Spanish Tapas

If there is one food concept/culinary trend that I would put all of my money into, it would be a Spanish Tapas Bar/Restaurant.

And this is what I would want it to look like:

Sra. Martinez Miami

Sra. Martinez..a tapas restaurant/bar in Miami..hey maybe I'll even ask the Sra. if she's interested in franchising..

Description of Sra. Martinez – Located in a former Post Office built in the 1920’s, Sra. Martinez brings modern and innovative cuisine to the flourishing restaurant scene in Miami’s Design District.  Sra. Martinez is a sanctuary where locals and tourists who seek superior food in a meaningful environment can enjoy remarkable music, art, and late night energy.  The space is reminiscent of a cozy bistro with warm leather booths, soft lighting, and a calming simplicity.  (Doesn’t it just sound perfffffect for Beirut?)

Now back to tapas..

The word “tapas” is derived from the Spanish verb tapar, “to cover”.

According to legend, the tapas tradition began when king Alfonso X of Castile recovered from an illness by drinking wine with small dishes between meals. After regaining his health, the king passed a decree forbidding the sale of wine without the accompaniment of a small snack or “tapa.” (source: wikipedia)

I really think that this concept would take off in Beirut in no time, seeing that Spanish Tapas are served just like Lebanese Mezze..so, it’s just the right amount of familiarity..but with a whole new set of flavors and tastes.  (Not to mention Spanish wine and Sangria!)

Think Spanish cheese sampler (manchego being my favorite), crisp-battered calamari, patatas bravas (fried potatoes with a special sauce), chorizo cooked in cider, serrano ham (Spanish cured meat), churrassco, seafood paella, crispy eggplant and artichoke, chicken liver, pulpo (octopus) de Galicia, and clams in a garlicky tomato sauce.

Spanish Tapas

Tapas, mezze style..

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Spanish Tapas

Think mezze..just Spanish mezze!

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Spanish Tapas

Yuummmm seafood paella!

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So there you have it.  My prediction (or rather, my request) of the next new culinary trends to come to Lebanon!  I hope some restauranteur is reading..somehow, somewhere..

What do you think?  Agree?  Disagree?  What new culinary trend/food concept would you like to see come to Lebanon?


Filed under eating in Lebanon, life in Lebanon

65 responses to “We need a new culinary trend, like now!

  1. I love it ! But… you will just not post it without links to recipes… Unfair !
    I am hungry already !

  2. THANK YOU! It’s about time someone said it. “Ooh how creative, a piece of meat between two slices of bread”. Blaah!

    And what a wonderful post. The pictures look mouth watering even at this time in the morning!


  4. I love the post! the ideas are great and the cuisines are intriguing, never had Peruvian before. But I have to admit, burgers still make the top of the list for me 😀

  5. Awesome post, and i definately agree!
    I started to apreciate Spicy food outside of Lebanon, so I think you missed one of my FAVOURITE and most favorite spicy cuisine…

    ETHIOPIAN CUISINE! I think only one other tweep will agree… @cedarseed. From spicy stews, spicy lentils and aswesome vegetables to cool down any palate, it is the way to go.I mean, I know lebanon has one ethipian restautrant in Beirut, so I will find it and link you to it. Absolutely DELISH – just have the open mind when using their bread (injeera).

    But in Lebanon, I would love to see Persian food… from mild to spicy its awesome! They have a lot of sweet dishes, like Fesenjan which is meat and vegtables cooked in pommegrante syrup and serves over rice… heaven.

    Lets hope we see more of that instead of burgers. I mean… I already know who makes the best burger in Lebanon – Me 😉

    • I’ve never had Persian nor Ethiopian food..I will have to try both! Link me to the Ethiopian restaurant..I will definitely give it a try! Maybe I can host a tweetup there!

      And you will have to shut the burger craze DOWN by making us your own specialty burger!

  6. LOOOL @ the khalas

    Spanish Tapas FTW!!!!! I’ve always had this idea of opening a resto/bar kinda thing and manage it somehow…
    Now thank you for making me feel so hungry and crave stuff!!! (I’ve been hungry for an hour now)

    Delicious post! YUM!

    • I would so help you manage it.. (or at least throw dancing nights every once in a while!) What a great idea..if only we had a couple hundred thousand dollars laying around. shucks!

  7. Dara

    Give me thai food any time of the day and you’ll make me a happy woman.

  8. What’s a burger??? Haven’t had one is so many years, I’ve forgotten what it is!!! The suggested cuisines sound yummy and are excellent ideas… but give me a manousheh, or sultan and an Almaza any day, and I’m happy! :-))

  9. Please no more postings about all of this delicious food unless someone will start cooking them for me *stomach grumbles* mmmmm

  10. Cristele

    Great Post!!!And the foods look delicious!You make us really hungry now 🙂

  11. Joanna

    when I started reading ur dissing of burgers i was about to go into a hate campaign, but i love indian (tho i’m not having much indian food here) and everything else looks REALLY good, so I agree with you and I hope those restauranteurs listen to you 😀

  12. A bare truth

    Thank you for featuring me. I have reviewed a restaurant not a burger joint, willing to though. I am drooling on my screen…. I follow, let’s some sophisticated cuisines…

  13. A bare truth

    Since I moved to lebanon I miss eating ethnic cuisine… I would kill for a pad thai.

  14. Beautiful posts and pictures 🙂
    You have been mentioned in our Web Zapping !
    If you want to suggest us others posts, don’t hesitate to contact us at contact@iloubnan.info or tweet your post using #WebZap @iloubnan
    Have a nice day,
    Iloubnan.info team

  15. annie

    Yummmmmmmm,I always loved Thai food ,I’m in love with spicy food ,but there just aren’t a lot of options in Leb,only burgers and sandwiches like Crepaway ,Roadsters and Bobs.

  16. AMEN lady! Great post, Tapas FTW…patatas bravas and pulpo mmmm.

    Does anywhere in Beirut make Pisco Sours?!?! I had a wonderful Peruvian friend in NYC who made them for us one night…the next day was tough 🙂 but so worth it!

    Saw a free space in Gemmayze for rent facing The Alleyway…and of your ideas would be amazing there. Yalla everyone let’s do this!

    • I haven’t seen Pisco Sours on a menu since I’ve been here! The minute you find one please let me know..better yet call me and I’ll join you!! Or maybe we can just make our own one night..that is, if we can find Pisco here!

      haha..the Alleyway, huh?


  17. annie

    And I’ve always wanted to open an Indian or Thai place in Beirut ,a cozy place where u would put the pillows on the floor kind of thing ,love the whole Far Eastern atmosphere

  18. I am so feeling like some Indian food – maybe this weekend. Butter chicken, poori bhaji and garlic chapati….yum. I miss it =S

  19. Alf

    There is a new restaurant that has just opened in Gemmayzeh, Pateur Street. It’s called La Manche. It offers cuisine moleculaire.
    I think this is gonna be a new IN and trendy cuisine in Beirut soon. It;s been so trendy in Europe since some time now and arrived pretty late to Beirut!

    • Cuisine moleculaire? What is that? Sounds amazing!

      Helloooo wikipedia..

      • dory masri

        How amazing to read someone is talking about my restaurant and my food,,,,you should visit my restaurant if you have had enough of eating burgers;
        Nevertheless i completely agree we need to have a good indian , thai and above all a very good tapas bar!!!!!!!!!

        waiting for your visit

      • imad khalil

        amazing food,,, a must try for sure!!!!!!!unique food and excellent service. The chef and i think he is the owner too is doing mad with his combinations.

  20. Paulina

    As a food lover, I enjoy almost all styles of cooking with Indian-style being my absolute number one, followed closely by the deliciously hearty dishes of Italian Toscana-style.
    Well some dishes here look delicious and mouth watering. The presentation is very artistic too! And after all, cuisine is a matter of taste so go for what you enjoy the best 🙂
    I would love to see more variety in Lebanon..

    • I’m so happy you share my love of Indian food! Isn’t it just the best! Many people are turned off because of it’s strong smell and spices..but that’s just what I love about it! So rich, so full of flavor..so delicious! 😀

  21. Youssef Chaker

    Mexican ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL the way!!!
    if only Chipotle would franchise!!! My friend actually talked to the owner and begged them to do it so we can bring it to Lebanon and India. But they wouldn’t do it!!

    So, I have a friend who opened Frida in Ashrafiyeh. You should go check it out. Supposed to be a spanish style place. And I told him I’d kick his ass if I send people there and they don’t like it. So you should go and post a review 😉

    My list is 1. Mexican (spanish if we want to go broader, but i really love burritos), 2. Indian, 3. Thai

    And to think of it, let me see if i know someone who can bring Indian food to Lebanon. I think we could do it, if we had funding. I have just the person but no capital! So… maybe if you know someone who would be willing to invest??

  22. Wendy

    Love the post, and seriously, would love some great Mexican food. I soooo miss spicy food, the closest I got to good spicy here was Nandos, but no good Mexican food.

  23. Oh so yummy looking. I never got the obsession with burgers amongst the Lebanese.. but some do indeed care.

    Anyway, I love food from many places. I hear we do in fact have indian, mexican and even moroccan which I would love to try- at least authentic.

    Here are some Indian restaurants in Lebanon: http://www.lebanon.com/restaurants/indian.htm

    I am hungry now 😦

  24. Lama HQ

    Hahaha great post!
    That Thai food looks great. It’s been a while since I’ve had Thai food… now I really want Thai food..

  25. Jad

    Don’t mean to sound harsh but ethnic restaurants are a failure in Lebanon. This is coming from a Lebanese transplant living in the US having many ethnic options I am satisfied with. I visit Lebanon once a year and my mom insists on taking me to new concepts like Cuban (La Bodeguita del Medio) or this Lebanese trend of fusion cuisines. They taste like cheap imitations – its like a lebanized version of the meals instead of being genuine. I just wished I would just be taken to traditional Lebanese mezzeries – they dont do them better anywhere else in the world…No thanks! just do more of the good stuff – we dont need any more cheap imitations…

  26. mango lassi is the best drink in the world.

    That is all.

  27. I’m ALLL for thai food. YUMMMMMMMMMMMM

  28. Natalie

    arghhhhhh….i was hoping this was a blog that would tell me exactly where to go in beirut for al this 😛
    There are some Indian restaurants and some Thai restaurants in the area. I think I’m going to walk around and try to find an Indian restaurant today. althogh thai sounds sooo delicious right now. ive become vegetarian while in beirut…I’d have to say what’s the obsession with 1. Sushi 2. HOT DOGS ? lol. of course, fries with every damn meal – but can’t complain about that.

  29. Believe me experimenting with Asian/Exotic food in Lebanon is a HUGE fail!
    Anyway from one culinary enthusiast to (supposedly) another great post.

  30. As youssef said Earlier,FRIDA Cuisine is the place to go for a dilicious Lebanese cuisine with mexican twist…!
    I’ve been there and i kept going …!
    Frida Ashrafiyeh

  31. Caroline

    Great post, but Sorry Dani, but I am really not a fan of spicy food. I’ve been to Thailand, and I would rather not talk about the kind of food they wanted us to eat while we were there. Let’s just say, I lived in McDonald’s, and I am not even a fan of fast food! I would love to see a place like Liquid Nutrition in Montreal. http://www.liquidnutrition.ca/index_en.html
    They have great smoothies, and you can add all sorts of supplements to them. Mostly importantly, they use Soy Milk!!!!
    How about a healthier food for a change? Enough with the fried and the junk Lebanon!

    • Youssef Chaker

      What’s lovely about Thai food is that it’s not all spicy. My favorite dish is made with Coconut milk. It’s sweat and delicious 🙂

  32. Natalie

    mmmm thaiiii food!! any one heard anything good about blue elephant?
    yes, unfortunately, anything that ISN’T lebanese isn’t that great here lol, but I’m willing to try around. Especially if a shitty replacement curbs my appetite for the real thing once in awhile 😛
    I went to Maharaja in Manara, behind Luna Park, last week. It was OKAY. I’ve had better, and I don’t even come from a very cultured part of the US. I felt like it was definitely a Lebanese twist and the spicyness tasted fake to me (not sure how else to explain it), and a bit expensive – I spent 23 dollars on a dish, rice, one PIECE of appetizer, mango lassi (TOTALLY “Lebaneseized” lol) and water. Oh well 🙂

    • Samer

      um disagree. Most food in lebanon tastes so much better relatively to the cost and quality of what your eating. The only major thing we have going for us is competition over restaurants and pubs clubs whatever, which is why so much money is put in to bring high class chefs and shit. But again this depends on where your going and what your eating.

  33. Ali El Dali

    Let me tell you that there is a place in Batroun called Tapas 🙂
    It is supposedly Spanish and they work as a restaurant during the day and afternoon and a club at night. They put salsa and stuff some days.

  34. This post clarifies a lot of things for me. Spending 1 month in Lebanon was one of the best things in my life but, yes there is a but, I craved that burst of energy, that unusual momentary awareness you get from capsicin in chillies. I was convinced that as a tourist I was never able to uncover the secrets of how the Lebanese really eat, as it turns out they don’t eat spice food!!! Really hope to visit again soon and will try to smuggle fresh chillies in. I am from Guatemala, we have the craziest little chillies called chiltepes, that you can ad to your food as much or as little as you wish, just to enhance the meal. And yeah Thai and Indian foods are super healthy too, an all win win situation

  35. Rita D.

    couldn’t agree more!!! boy oh boy do i miss them tapas!!!
    problem here though is that everything is a trend. if you’re sick of all the identical burger joints, what would u say about the mexican restaurants……all the same, nothing original, nothing different. some even have the same walls.

  36. Samer

    Agree 1000000000% about the burger situation. Also, we have plenty of indian in Lebanon, you just gotta know where to look.

  37. Good to know that about even hear the word burger… thanks
    for this information man…

  38. Carina

    Ive been to Thailand and I ADORE Thai food – just had green thai curry the other night! Yum!

    Also absolutely LOVE Indian food (and love to cook it too!). Paneer Makhni.. ahh *drool*

    Great ideas!
    You NEED to try Persian and Ethiopian food.. youll love it! 🙂

  39. kinita williams

    I love spices of food and it makes my day to eat such food like that plus.I.love the differentin all over the world.

  40. kinita williams

    I have never have ceviche or seafood paello and i would love to try them both I love spice food and always willing to try then.

  41. I think your predictions are starting to take shape around Lebanon:
    4. Indian: Moti Mahal, Zaituna Bay (we already had Maharaja at the Raouche Sporting Club and El Hindi inside Palm Beach Hotel)
    3. Thai: well, not quite, though we have Monks in Achrafieh. I hear there’s Vietnamese now, at Le Hanoi.
    2. Peruvian: Punta del Este, Jounieh.
    1. Spanish tapas: Tinto, Uruguay Street.
    To be fair, though, the latest trends are Italian pizzerias/pastarias and French bistros. Oh, and hot dogs :/

  42. How Weird, you didn’t mention NoGarlicNoOnions.com in your post http://www.nogarlicnoonions.com/category/reviews/restaurants/burgers/

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