Exploring Lebanon: Geography, Cuisine, and Social Issues

Categories: CuisinesCulture

Lebanon is one of the countries situated on the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea in the Middle East. Its people considered the country as the place where the sun rises. The Lebanese people can be called Levantines since it was decided that the eastern part of the Sea will be called Levant. The country is 4,015 square miles, which is about three-fourths of the Connecticut state in the USA. In the east part of the Lebanon Mountains is the Bekaa Valley, a very fertile land.

At the eastern part of the valley is the Mount Hermon.

Lebanon experiences Mediterranean climate, with dry summers and cool and wet winters. Different changes of climate allow swimming and skiing. Its land area supports less than 30% of the crop production: 21% in agriculture and about 8% in forests. Its agriculture is abundant due to the water and productive soils and terraced slopes in the area. A variety of fruits and vegetables are planted in arable lands and this is where they get their own produce that they serve during meals.

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Although Lebanon is a small country, it is considered a “green” country, because flowers, trees and small rivers thrive in this place. Countless streams that flowed during the winter rainy season, combined with runoff from melting snow, provide the water supply. Lebanon is also bordered by rocky mountains. It has lots of sunny beaches and snow-capped mountains, and the people of this country are known to be cultured and hospitable. Cuisine Lebanon’s cuisine is a fusion of European sophistication and exotic ingredients from Middle and Far East.

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Sometimes other people thought that it was taken directly from the Middle East because of the similarity. However, the combination that makes Lebanese cuisine different makes it one of the most exciting culinary experiences that one should not miss. The Lebanese food became the most popular due to its cultural history. It is also considered to be the finest in the Middle East. The food they ate was influenced by the different foreign powers that ruled them in the past. These foreign powers have introduced different dishes that became staple to the Lebanese food.

These include olive oil, which is a part of every dish, fresh bread, baklava (a kind of dessert), laban (homemade yogurt), stuffed vegetables and nuts. Most of the exotic ingredients the Lebanese use were discovered by their early ancestors. Lebanon is also home to two main religions: Islam and Christianity. Although there were disagreements between them, each religion has its own festive celebrations. The Lebanese people prepare a variety of food when they celebrate. There are sweets and desserts, pastries, sugary delicacies and coffee (Amari 03).

Foods prepared depend on the kind of religious celebration (Ramadan, Christmas and Easter). But there are times when the Lebanese eat these foods on holidays, even if they have different religion. Because Lebanon is situated near the Mediterranean Sea, what the people eat is influenced by the seasons. The cuisine includes starches, fruits, vegetables and of course, seafood. Poultry meat is often used rather than red meat. When Lebanese eat red meat, it is usually lamb. Their dishes are grilled, baked or sauteed in olive oil.

Butter cream is only used when making desserts. In Lebanon, the cookery tradition is distinguished by the use of different choices of locally-produced, extremely fresh vegetables that can be served in many forms and shapes. The Lebanese cuisine is not much about sauces. It specializes in herbs, spices and the freshness of the ingredients. This results to a wide array of dishes and combinations. The Lebanese believes that variety is the spice of life. Bread is their staple food.

It is seasoned with thyme seasoning they call zahtar and olive oil for breakfast, and becomes a foodstuff in every meal and snack. Garlic and olive oil are also favorite ingredients to add and enhance the flavor of their cooking. These ingredients rarely miss any recipe. Kibbe is the Lebanese national dish. It is a pie which combines minced lamb and burghul wheat. Traditionally, food is served with the national drink, arak, a strong flavored liquor from fermented grape juice. It is mixed with water and ice.

The main meal during lunch consists of stew and rice dishes, including Spinach and Rice or Laban Immo. Moreover, food in Lebanon is served as mezza. Mezza is considered as a healthy and entertaining aspect of how Lebanese food is served. It is an assortment of delicious small dishes which provides an array of colors, flavors, textures and aromas. It may consist of flavored pickled vegetables, hommus and bread (for a light dinner), or skewered meats, grilled marinated seafood, a selection of salads and desserts, such as Kunafah or Qatayef.

Dinner in Lebanon is served earlier. It usually starts with an appetizer, such as namprik phao (Red Curry Paste). It is followed by a selection of dishes consisting of fish, meat and chicken with rice and a light soup. Other than these foods, coffee is also an important part of the cuisine. It is served usually after every meal, whether at home or in restaurants. It can be partnered with a fresh fruit or a selection of sweets. The Lebanese coffee is strong, thick and with cardamom. The Lebanese cuisine is truly a ‘celebration of life.

’ It is fresh, flavorful, diverse and refreshing. Although the foods are prepared simply, it is a product of the land and sea.

Lebanon's Social Problems

Lebanon is a really stunning nation and an important destination for tourist. Lebanon or as the bible called it as soon as "The land of milk and honey". Beirut is the capital of the nation and it's likewise nicknamed "Paris of the East". Famous people are initially half Lebanese such as the popular Columbian artist "Shakira". There are 5 nations which surround Lebanon which are: Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Cyprus & & Palestine (Israel).

A number of problems started to appear in Lebanon. In 1943-1948 after France got out from Lebanon the Christians took the balance of power in the country while Muslims haven't much of a power back then, this caused some tensions in between those two. The stress reached its limitation in 1975 when a radical Christian group assaulted a bus complete of Palestinians and killed them. After this event, some vengeful attacks were made as a respond for the Christians actions which caused more hate and no trust at all in between Muslims and the other group.

After seven years, exactly in 1985 The Israeli army invaded Beirut to remove the Palestinians Liberation Organization as they said. All those wars and conflicts and wars in the city and in the country in general led to very serious and sad results. Between 150-200 thousand people were killed while 300 thousand were wounded, that goes for the human cost but as for the economic cost was very heavy and it actually was paralyzed for many years which stroke hard to the whole country. The peace has finally come in 1989 which put off the furious flames of war.

In the recent days, Lebanon began to recover from that savagery conflict which led to nothing but destruction and sadness. People came back to their homes after they left it because of the war. The buildings which were affected by the conflict are restored by the help of some other countries. The most important thing that tourism is finally revived and people now can enjoy everything in Beirut after the horror the city lived in the past several years. Tourists can relax and enjoy Skiing on the mountains, taking sunbath on the beach and also swim in the blue sea.


  1. About Lebanon. Retrieved on September 4, 2007.
  2. Available at http://portal. sawtbeirut. com/content/view/634/2/ Amari, Suad.
  3. Cooking the Lebanese Way: Revised and Expanded to Include New Low-fat and Vegetarian Recipes. Minneapolis: Lerner Publications, 2003.
  4. Food in Lebanon Forum. Retrieved on September 4, 2007.
  5. Available at http://www. foodbycountry. com/Kazakhstan-to-South-Africa/Lebanon. html George, Joe. Ethnic Cuisine. Undated.
Updated: Nov 20, 2023
Cite this page

Exploring Lebanon: Geography, Cuisine, and Social Issues. (2016, Aug 26). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/a-taste-of-lebanon-essay

Exploring Lebanon: Geography, Cuisine, and Social Issues essay
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