Monday, May 20, 2013

Furn El Sabaya - Savoring Every Bite!

I am finally going to tell you about my favorite place to eat at when having a long beach and bicycling day in the North of Lebanon: Furn El Sabaya. I pass by this place at least twice per month and I decided, just now especially that we are still revolting for real food (Food Revolution Day), that this place is too yum not to mention here!

Furn El Sabaya is not just another furn in Lebanon, it's different. It serves real clean delicious and best of it all, home-made food. The sabaya actually make their own kechek, harvest their own pumpkins, make their own thyme and harvest seasonal wild herbs for their pies. I had the chance to meet Lorenza, Martha and Lucy today, the 3 'sabaya' working there and asked them briefly about the history, concept, food offered and activities in their furn.

History and Concept - The ladies started the furn in Amchit (just after Byblos, Lebanon) 19 years ago because they craved to make their own bread, clean, real, authentic with whole wheat, and wanted to have actual control over the quality of the food they eat. Lorenza and Martha have 3 more sisters while Lucy is their cousin, hence the name 'Furn El Sabaya' in Arabic meaning 'The Ladies' Oven' in English.

Foods offered - As I said, this is no ordinary furn. This actually took me a while to write down as I asked the ladies what the place offered. They have a section for foods and pies
Cheese and thyme manakish!
commonly sold, No.1-asked-for meals section, a vegan one and a healthy sweets section.

  • Commonly sold food - Manakish (thyme, cheese, labne, home-made keshek, minced meat), pizzas and pies
  • 'No.1-asked-for meals' - Mouwaraqa, such a delicious sweet pastry with sugar and chopped walnuts and almonds (You really have to check the video to know what I'm talking about. I unfortunately inhaled the one I got today and forgot to take a photo!), sesame & sugar man2ouche, pumpkin kebbe, and egg-like quiche.
  • The healthy/vegan section
    - Furn El Sabaya has a vegan section offered as both meals in their furn as well as raw & frozen for home use. The seitan meat, wheat-based vegan meat substitute, is cooked into shawarma meat strips, meat-like manakish (lahem b aajin) and sold as minced meat pies on site. Vegan kebbe, sambousek, burger patties, minced/cubed meats for stews and meat strips for shawarma or stroganoff meals are on the other hand frozen and can be bought for home use.
    - This section also has cold-pressed thyme mankouche done with no oil prior to baking to avoid the formation of the oils' free radicals once subjected to heat, then olive oil is added afterwards.
    - Vegan pizza with broccoli, sweet corn, bell pepper and tofu.
    - Vegan pumpkin (which they grow by the way) pies stuffed with spinach, chard and seasonal wild greens with chickpeas.
    - And last but not least, pies made with spinach, purslane, wild greens like 7omayda or qors aane, Swiss chard, and the list goes on varying with seasons!

    Best part of it that all dough is whole-wheat!
    Now the reason why this place has a vegan section is, yes, the ladies are vegetarian and so is the whole family. I mean I had to ask why they had this section given that it's not that common in the country. They first started by preparing their own vegetarian/vegan meals for home use, but Lorenza said that people loved the vegan food and asked for more so they simply started selling them!
Watching Martha as she prepares delicious purslane pies.
I'm definitely visiting Tuesday's Earth Market to try these!
Spinach pies and pumpkin kebbe
  • The last section is their healthy sweets - This section is not available unless you pre-order it. All sweets are free of added sugars, free of sweeteners or sugar substitutes as well as free of dairy and eggs, you know, vegan! It includes molasses cake, carrot cake, apple cake, chocolate cupcake, maamoul (no butter with either dates, almonds or walnuts) and choco dates (chocolate chunks made out of cocoa and dates).

Last but not least, these ladies are active! They have catered brunches/lunches at their shop, seminars and conferences, they have taken part in food exhibitions done at Terra Madre day at AUB, Byblos International Festival, Biel's national food exhibition as well as they are part of Slow Food Beirut's weekly Earth Market. They always advocate healthy, authentic and real Lebanese food.

Long story short today we had pumpkin kebbe, vegan shawarma, vegan pizza with tofu & broccoli, kechek pies and mouwaraqa! And to be honest, I have really savored more than 75 % of the foods this place has to offer over few years, I am a real fan! Whenever I go to the beach, go bicycling, go road-trip-ing or I'm invited to a breakfast, I pass by this place to get some 'goodness'!

So given that I inhaled my Mouwaraqa and forgot to take a photo of it,
this one was taken by
I promise I will take my own when I visit the Earth Market.
So just in case you want to have some of the yummy food, they open from 7.30 am till 2 pm every single day in Amchit (Lebanon) sea side while on Tuesdays, one of the ladies visits the Earth Market in Hamra to sell the place's goodies!


  1. WoooooooooooooW looks absolutely mouth-watering delicious!

    1. Yes they were, we can visit whenever you want or you can catch them in Hamra on tuesday. Bas we can definitely road-trip there

  2. I think we need more of similar places in this country serving real libanese food just like our grandmothers cooked. Great to see this

    1. Thank you for reading and yes authentic teta Lebanese food is the best!

  3. Nyammiii walla marra di2et fatayr ba2le

  4. Very lonely vegan human in beirutMay 26, 2013 at 2:42 PM

    Can you plzz review or link more vegetarian and vegan places

    1. I'm on it! There are actually lots of good vegetarian/vegan places around town so yes I'll link/review them

  5. You forgot to mention that the ladies use natural leavening rather than baker's/brewer's yeast in their doughs. :) Great article review. Thanks.

    1. Exactly! A rare thing you can't find often in bakeries today

  6. Hi Paty congratulations and good luck

  7. أنا سمعت أول شي عن هيدا الفرنمن مريمم نور ع التلفزيون