I am really not going to do the sweets you can find in Lebanon any justice here. As far as I am concerned (and a few million others in the region might agree), the place called Abdul Rahman Hallab & Sons (a.k.a The Sweet Palace)in Tripoli, North Lebanon, is the best middle eastern pastry maker in the world. This place is simply unrivaled in terms of freshness, artistry and taste. I never think of driving through Tripoli without a stop here. Unfortunately, my useless brain managed to forget the camera when I did stop on this visit and the chance of taking photos of the place is lost till next time. So, here is the consolation prize. My grandmother on her way to Beirut stopped there and picked up a couple of trays of delicacies. Glad she did!!
These here are ‘Znood El Sit’, meaning ‘The Lady’s Arm’. You’ll find many Arabic desserts named after women’s anatomy. I guess, they are more attractive than saying ‘Big Burly Guy’s Arms’. Anyways, these particular ones here are delicious for only a few hours after they are made. They are filo dough, brushed in butter, filled with cream, deep fried and soaked in syrup!! They are absolutely addictive when fresh.
These 2 pictures above are of the usual ‘Mshakal’ (Combination) tray you get from Hallab. This one travels very well, and I made sure to bring a couple of pounds with me. All I have to do is let them know that I need them packed for travel and they’ll give me individually wrapped pieces in a strong cardboard box.
The following pictures are from another well known sweet shop called Sea Sweet. There are a few of them around the country, mainly in and around Beirut. Sea Sweet makes very good western style pastries and candies in addition to their -mediocre- middle eastern stuff. They do make excellent ice cream though.