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A Day of Delicious in Beirut

February 24, 2014

IMG_3460There are many places in Beirut where you can get affordable, delicious food, off the beaten path. One of my favorite afternoon walks is from Mar Mikhael through Bourj Hammoud – a traditionally Armenian area that started as a refugee camp and turned into a sprawling neighborhood – and finally, to Dora, the mixing pot of Beirut.

Bourj Hammoud, to me, has much more character and life than the more overpriced Gemmayzeh, and up-and-coming Mar Mikhael. On a Saturday, the streets are packed with people and there is no end to the amount of tasty food that you can eat along the way to lunch. First, a stop for fresh juice.

Usually, we also stop for ice cream at one of the many shops selling it (the pistachio cannot be beat).

The walk through Bourj Hammoud is a straight shot to Dora. And here, where there is diversity and cheaper living, there are always restaurants to match. The New Indo-Lankan restaurant is no exception. It is on the second floor of a tiny shop that sells an array of spices, and other products specific to the migrant worker population that flocks there to get a taste of their homeland.

The operation is informal, fast, affordable and delicious. The small room only has about 10 plastic tables, with one large barred window that lets in some air. With glass soda bottles stacked in crates in the corner, and an old dusty cooler at the top of the stairs, there is little free space and everyone eats in close quarters. The vibe is friendly and inviting, and with usually only locals eating there, it fulfills one of the food rules I abide by. I haven’t had a meal yet that can rival the taste of spicy, authentic chutney and their chicken complemented by a cold Almaza. When there is no time to get out of Beirut and get some fresh air, this runs a close second for an antidote to escape the chaos for a short while and spend some time in food heaven.

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