Why Lebanon is special? 1/2

When foreigners hear about Lebanon, they imagine that we are some retarded people, fusty, using the camels as a meant of transportation, terrorists probably and they tend to belittle us.

As a Lebanese woman, I want to write a bit about Lebanon; probably nowadays you will find most information on Google. But it will never be as accurate as a citizen speaking!

Lebanon is a small country in the Middle East (10,452 km2); we pronounce it “Lubnan” in Arabic and we are a Republic. The capital is “Beirut”.
The name Lebanon originates from the Phoenician root l-b-n, meaning “white”, probably in reference to its snow-capped peaks.
It is bordered by Syria to the north and Israel (Palestine of course) to the south and Mediterranean Sea to the west. It explains why we have millions of immigrants all over the world! We weren’t so lucky with such a location you see!
The Lebanese population is around 5 million but we have around 7 million Lebanese in Brazil only, and thousands in Canada, Australia, Mexico and all over the world.

Yes Lebanon has many flaws and conflicts but Lebanon is not defined by its flaws.

Why Lebanon is special?

We are a small country that struggled and survived many civil wars, foreign occupations, political assassinations, suicide bombs, chaos, but still we love life and we love freedom, we are very well educated and with all modesty very smart.

Lebanon is a Polyglot country. Most Lebanese citizens speak at least 3 languages (many speak additional languages). Lebanese Arabic is the official language but English and French are widely used! Lebanon is Francophone country and an active member is theOrganisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF)” as well, almost 40% of Lebanese speak French and it’s a mandatory language in most schools.

We use 3 languages while speaking, the most common phrase you will ever hear when a Lebanese greets you: Hi, Kifak, ca va? (Kifak = how are you and ca va = good?) We use it spontaneously and without even thinking.

The working language in Lebanon is “English”.  Most reputable companies and institutions use English for written correspondences and sometimes the verbal communications as well. French is restricted to French companies and institutions and banks sometimes, even though it’s a plus in most companies when you apply to a job, and of course many Lebanese brag about speaking it since it’s not an easy language and it’s very classy, beautiful and romantic as well!

The Lebanese Banking Industry is a very advanced sector, we have large number of banks of different sizes and they dominate the financial system of the country and are major providers of credit to individuals and businesses.  Banks and other financial institutions in Lebanon fall under the jurisdiction of the Bank of Lebanon (BDL), the country’s central bank, which is the bank regulatory authority. The Banking Secrecy law issued in 1956 was a key aspect in the expansion of this sector. In addition to his numerous achievements, the Governor of the Central Bank of Lebanon, Riad Salameh received an “A” and was ranked among the top governors in the world in 2017.

We have the most delicious food you can ever taste! Whether Lebanese food or International cuisine, we take the recipe and we just master it! Pizza, Pasta, burger, Chinese food, Japanese food, salads…you will taste the most delicious recipes and the best hospitality, luxurious restaurants, high level of professionalism.

Any local would agree: going out for lunch, dinner or drinks on the weekend is an experience in itself.

Of course we were affected by all foreign civilizations that held power through the years especially Ottoman Turks and France but we were innovated and we transformed it to even more delicious and even tastier!

Starting from breakfast “Manooushi” or “Labneh” or wide variety of cheese, local cheese of course, we have many farms mostly at villages, the organic livestock industry has grown substantially through the years and dairy products are essential to every Lebanese. Especially a Lebanese breakfast!

You can either have the traditional Lebanese breakfast: Labneh, many kind of cheese, Eggs, Tomato, Olives,…or a simple Manooushi…or the famous Kunafa! Foul and Fatte! Or a simple “Croissant”.
So which kind of breakfaster are you?  

Here in Lebanon is so common to say I want to have “Croissant” as a breakfast…we have the most delicious bakeries and pastries shops or “patisserie” whether you’re French educated or not, you’ll always hear the word “Patisserie”!

Of course when you’re on strict diet, you just forget about Kunafa, Manooushi and even Lebanese bread that is so delicious and so special! The first 2 words that a dietician will say:” no mana2ish, no Kunafa…How cruel is that!

We have the most delicious Shawarma in the whole region, probably the origin is Turkish but you’ll never taste better than the Lebanese Shawarma! Whether meat or chicken or even “Sujuk” it’s heavenly…

The Lebanese shawarma was named “world’s tastiest sandwich” by London-based food network FoodieHub after a local Beirut-based restaurant: Joseph’s Restaurant won the top award among 4,000 nominees across 150 cities.

To not mention: the traditional Lebanese lunch starting with the Mezze or Mezza  (or starters) such as Tabbouleh, Fattoush, Hummus, Baba Ghannouj, Wara’ Enab, raw meat variety, Shanklish, to the Barbecue and main dishes! Not to be missed!

The Lebanese food needs one separate blog to be appreciated since I didn’t mention yet the Lebanese Sweets and mostly the Baklava! Pure torture!

After all, Beirut was the only Middle Eastern city to make the 2016 “Best International Cities for Food” list, published by New-York based travel magazine Travel & Leisure.

What do you think so far? Do you have any idea about our Lebanon?

Stay tuned for part 2!

Photo credits: nogarlicnoonions & Beirutfood Instagram accounts and easylebaneserecipes.com.

H.A – February 8th 2019

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34 Comments »

  1. I had a friend/pen pal from Lebanon up until last year when we lost contact after a few years. She failed to mention a lot of these amazing things about it though! 😍

      • Perhaps not, she did tell me that I should consider converting to Islam because she thought I was so peaceful and understanding, which was lovely. I look forward to part 2 😊

      • Well I will speak in part 2 about the multi religions we have and how we live together 😊 I believe all the religions essence should be peaceful and understanding 😊
        Thank you again for your valuable interaction

      • Same here, I only care how you treat me no matter what are your beliefs and relation with God… I have friends from all religions, I have atheists friends and what is matter to me is how honest and genuine they are, the other details are their concern

  2. There are a lot of stereotypes and misinformation floating around for many countries and that adversely affect once perception of that place. Thanks a lot for taking this initiative and educating us about your country. Never knew Lebanon is so beautiful. So picturesque! Looking forward to the next part 🙂

    • Thank you so much for taking time for reading and for the interaction 🙂 yes that’s so true, we believe the stereotypes and what we hear from afar…we misjudge populations and counties…I’m glad you liked our country through this post, part 2 is minutes away so stay tuned 🙂

  3. Thank you for sharing this beautiful country with everyone. This post is great for clearing up any misinformation and assumptions.

    It’s so amazing that a lot of people are well versed in 3 languages. Aside from English and my native tongue. I find it hard to digest another language. Butttt I’m trying to learn Hangul (since I love watching korean dramas so much)

    And the different mouth watering pictures you’ve posted made me hungry again. Still curious to taste all your delicious sweets.

    Can’t wait to read part 2 of this.😊

    • Hello Eva hope you’re good today 😊 part 2 is already published 😌
      Thank you for the lovely words I’m glad you loved Lebanon through this post 😊
      Yes I wanted people to read what they don’t usually say in the news and stereotypes as well. I guess when you need a language, you will learn it faster than you’ll ever imagine!

      It’s not only because Lebanon is my country, I’m not satisfied of many things here, but because I lived personally many wars and I managed to be the person I am as many other Lebanese…As you will see in part 2, I will say this clearly
      Well I promise you when you visit Lebanon, I’ll make you taste all the food and sweets! I’m not exaggerating that we have the most delicious food and greatest restaurants and service 😊
      Thank you again for reading and hope you are enjoying the weekend 😊❤️

      • I’ve already checked out the part 2 of your post. Hope you saw my comment.😊

        I relate with you so much with the stereotypes. My country is often featured on international news usually due to terrorist threats and on the brighter note we just got a spot light since the recent Miss Universe represented my country.

        So there needs to be more blog post such as yours that could feature the beauty of various countries. Maybe I could do one that would highlight the beauty of my country as well? Hmmmm… another blog post idea.

        Still looking foreword to all the good food 😊

        I barely felt the weekend. I’ve been buried in a lot of work. But it was still rewarding non the less. I hope you have a great week ahead 😊

      • Yes I did and replied as well but as you mentioned now it’s been busy so whenever you have time 😊
        Yes I remember that miss universe is from your country and it’s great, a pride source and a relief despite all stereotypes! We are still proud that miss Lebanon was miss universe in the seventies!
        Stereotypes are easier than making an effort and looking for accurate information same as judging people on daily basis! Of course you should write about your country! Can’t wait to read such posts 😊
        Hope the upcoming days will be less hectic and you’ll enjoy your week 😊

  4. Great description for an amazing country ; which I love so much , and consider it as my second country! Lebanon is a small country in area , but it’s big with it’s beautiful nature , culture, hospitable people , and it’s delicious food 😉

  5. Oh god! I loved reading this article! So informative. It’s almost unfortunate and fascinating to a level, how our media blinds us to the beauty of a place. In that matter, an article from an actual citizen was so needed! So excited for the next part too! Will get to that asap!
    It was so cool to read about Lebanon’s banking sector and it’s amazing achievements! And the fact that Lebanon is a home to such a diverse array of languages, interests me so much! Must be so cool!
    And last but not the least, the food though! 😊😋
    I haven’t had lunch yet and I am super hungry, so I am almost surprised that I didn’t end up eating my phone!😂😂
    Also, you said that you’ll post a article about Lebanon’s food. Would love to read that! Please mention a link if you’ve posted that already!😃

    • You got to be kidding me hahahhahah Already??? OMG
      Thank you so much Gauri! and I’m glad you liked it! Yes it’s always better to hear the truth from the citizens not the media, stereotypes are awful these days
      Oh yes the food is painfully delicious, hope you will visit one day and be able to taste all! Sorry I said the food a separate post but didn’t get to do it but I will prepare it, it’s a promise 😊 don’t eat your phone now 😂😂😂😂 Thanks a million for this kind support and respect ❤

      • Hahahaha! Yeah! That’s why I am Ms. Eager Beaver! I can’t stop once I am excited about something!😂😂😂
        The pleasure is all mine! Exactly! Media works on painful and fake propagandas. A real account from a citizen is not filtered that way!😃
        You have no idea, I am so excited to visit someday and literally stuff my mouth with ad much food as I can!😂😂
        I am desperately waiting for that article now! Hope to read that soon!😊💕
        Haha! I am trying not to eat it, trust me!🤣
        Sincerely, all my pleasure! I have a lot of respect for your content! ( I’ve said that so many times, I hope it doesn’t sound cheesy 😂😅. Trust me it’s not😊)
        Have a great day ahead!😊

      • Eager Beaver is well earned 😂😂
        I will make sure to work on that article but not so soon, hopefully ASAP 😊
        Cheesy? Oh not at all! It sounds honest to me and this is makes me so happy and proud actually, I love people that don’t mind to show admiration and appreciation, it’s a great quality 😊💕

      • Haha! I know! My friends called me that! So I decided to make a blog out of it!😎😂
        Don’t worry! I understand. Life is strangely hectic in our times. But I’ll be “eager”ly waiting for it! Saw what I did there😁
        Honestly, it’s so fresh to meet a person like you who appreciates appreciation and doesn’t dismisses it as buttering! Thank you so much!😃

      • This is a great decision 😁😁 glad you’ll be “eager”ly waiting 😂
        oh well not in a position to judge people hearts but many love your work and read secretly and they are too envious to say a good word! This is an awful quality :/
        Thank you! And have a great day 😀

      • Haha!😎
        Of course! Very “eager”ly!😂
        I agree! In fact, sometimes, to top that, people would criticize your work to pull you down, even if they like it!😶
        You too, have a great day ahead!😊

      • I accept criticism as long as it’s constructive 🙂 Not speaking and being a smart-ass while you’re ignorant as f***
        Hope your day and weekend will be great 😊😊

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