The Best of Beirut
on May 16, 2014 By Danielle Issa
Lebanon is flush with expats, both Lebanese and non-Lebanese, and it’s not too peculiar that every so often, they yearn for the grub they used to gorge on while living abroad.
I’m talking about Gold Fish snacks, American-made Pringles and Doritos (not your Saudi Arabia make), Hershey’s Symphony chocolate bars, Kraft Macaroni ‘n Cheese, Campbell’s chicken noodle soup, Old El Paso taco shells—yup, your garden variety junk food. There’s also the refined nosh for the more gourmet of palates: Lu Paille d’Or, sheep’s milk yogurt, foie gras aux truffes, epoisses cheese.
So where does one go to relieve that foreign food itch? Here’s a roundup of the top five shops and supermarkets in and around Beirut that stock up on your international favorites and will never have you missing your other “home.”
Photo via BlackPepperlb.com
TSC Signature is a foodie’s paradise. With aisles chock-full of products - both local and foreign - and I’m willing to bet there’s more of the latter than the former, and a half dozen kitchen stations dispersed throughout the supermarket, TSC Sig leaves little to be desired. Come here if you’re craving fancy French yogurts, stinky cheeses (and yes, that is their proper name), Norwegian smoked salmon, and for your more modest desires, Hershey’s cookie and cream candy bars, JIF peanut butter, and Kellogg’s Corn Pops cereal. Gotta have my pops!
Photo via Wanzl.com
If you’re a fan of German beer, nearly every supermarket in Lebanon will disappoint. Most stock up exclusively on Almaza, and if you’re lucky, you can find Heineken and Corona, too. But what about the rest of the brew gamut? Head to Carrefour inside Beirut City Centre - they have an aisle dedicated solely to German lagers, pilsners, ales, porters, IPAs, you name it! Of course, Carrefour’s replete with other treasures (apart from alcohol) like Reflets de France’s duck cassoulet as well as canned Brussels sprouts - trust me, these babies can’t be found just anywhere!
Beirut City Center
Photo via Plus961.com
Across the street from Carrefour is another giant food warehouse - Spinneys - whose first foray into Lebanon was in 1948. Today, Spinneys has eight standalone outlets dotted across Lebanon, and the Hazmieh branch is its largest. Carrying hundreds of products by labels such as Belle France and Tesco, Spinneys’ unique selling point is easily its imports range sourced from all around the globe. They’ve got Arnott’s Tim Tam biscuits, Cadbury Old Gold chocolate bars from Australia, and my favorite, ready-made Indian curry sauce in a jar!
Behind Hazmieh Commercial Center
Bassel al Assad Highway
*Other locations across Lebanon.
Photo via Wordpress.com
For the longest time, I didn’t realize there was a supermarket inside O&C Fresh Market. I simply assumed it was a fresh seafood restaurant - after all, the dining area is the only thing visible from the highway. Wander in, and you’ll be swept off your feet with a dizzying array of gourmet refinement, and I’m talking Valrhona chocolate, flavored and reduced-fat Pringles (bet you didn’t know Pringles come in Ranch Tortilla, didya?), and individual-size gourmandise cakes from Italy. If you’re a real soda addict, why not try O&C’s selection of vanilla Coke or cherry Dr. Pepper? Now that’s sophistication at its finest.
Photo via Whereleb.com
Combining fine groceries from around the world complemented by fresh-baked in-house goods, black pepper is an epicerie celebrating food. The concept centers on transforming grocery shopping into a tantalizing experience where creativity and quality are the name of the game. Who knew that you could buy Chex Mix - regular and bold flavors - in bulk?! How about Kettle Chips? And the real-deal, cheese puff Cheetos? Excusez-moi, did you say Hédiard tea? Yup. They have that, too.
Near Jesus and Mary School
Photo via Blackpepperlb.com
Danielle Issa is a food blogger in Lebanon. You can find her on Twitter, and be sure to check out her blog, Beirutista.
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