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Lebanon Food and Drink

Lebanese cuisine is widely acknowledged to be the finest in the Middle East. The country's gastronomic tradition is characterised by the use of an extremely wide variety of locally produced, and therefore extremely fresh, vegetables served in all forms and shapes with an abundance of fresh herbs (mostly coriander, parsley and mint). A meal is always concluded with a wide range of fresh fruit, including melon, apples, oranges, persimmon, tangerines, cactus fruit, grapes and figs, which are all grown locally. Excellent Lebanese food is available everywhere. Beirut also offers a large choice of international restaurants which offer dishes from all over the world.

Specialities

Kebbeh (lamb pounded to a fine paste, often rolled into balls and fried).
• Meze, a range of up to 40 small dishes served as hors d'oeuvres with arak.
• Tabbouleh (salad made with cracked wheat, lemon, mint and tomatoes).
Mutabbal (dip made with baked aubergines and garlic).
• Baklava (the Lebanese version of these Middle Eastern pastries uses pistachio nuts and rose-water syrup).

Things to know

Alcohol is widely available.

Tipping

In hotels and restaurants, a tip of between 5 and 10% of the bill is expected.

Drinking age

18.

Regional drinks

Arak, a wine traditionally produced and aged for five to 10 years before being redistilled with anis seeds.
Coffee is served strong, thick and heavily sweetened. It is often flavoured with cardamom.

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