April 22nd, 2004


A mysterious rodent t__m__i has written something about Lebanon, said rodent being, by some mysterious coincidence, there at the same time as me :-). So, I shall shortly write a 'friends only' post on the subject for reasons that will become semi-apparent, although I am going to yoga shortly so it may not happen. If you are the one person I know of who doesn't have an LJ account and who reads this, then I will provide you a copy on request.

Lebanon - food

Popular wisdom has it that Chinese and Indian food in China and India is nothing like restaurant food, obviously this is an over-simplification (and I have never been to China or India). Lebanese food, on the other hand, is exactly the same as in Lebanese restaurants in the UK.
We didn't really eat anywhere particularly expensive - the tour guide was somewhat younger and, not surprisingly, poorer than the people on the tour so her instincts for places to eat were somewhat different to ours, we had to persuade her that we should go to proper restaurants rather than stand up fast food places on the last two evenings. The meals were approx 10 dollars each per person plus wine or beer. The main beer sold is Almaza, which is what gets sold in the UK a lot. It is my favourite non-dark beer, it is a fairly but not too light pilsner. Looking at this fine web site it seems to be a beer that people either love or hate.
If anything, the food had less meat than the restaurants in Oxford. On one or two occasions anyone pretending to be veggie that day, Maria and I didn't get any main course (or else some strange omelette related thing), but we just mopped up the mezza anyway.
The only interesting thing we had that we hadn't had before was something that gets spread liberally on bread for lunch or breakfast - it is called 'Tim' (or something like that, certainly pronounced 'Tim') - a mixture of olive oil, sesame seeds, thyme and sumac, and is quite bitter.

The tour company failed to get our 'vegan' / 'vegetarian' request - the guide had notification of one veggie. There were actually 3 pseudo-veggies i.e. people who had told the company (who had ignored this in the case of two of them) they were veggies but actually weren't, on the grounds of getting better food and not wanting to eat too much meat. There was a time when I was young and self-righteous when this would have annoyed me on the grounds that if someone says they are a veggie and then eats meat it can cause aggro for others in the future. But now I am older and wiser I no longer remotely care. Ah the wisdom of age :-)

We also ended up having pizzas at lunchtime on the first couple of days. On the bright side, unlike italy and the US, you can easily get across the concept of 'I'd like a pizza with no cheese' - on the minus side, we didn't really go to Lebanon for pizzas!