Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Slow Food Beirut's Earth Market - Authentic Traditional Lebanese Food in the Heart of Beirut!

After visiting Furn El Sabaya just couple of days ago, the ladies enlightened me about a market they join every Tuesday in Hamra, Lebanon in which they sell their home made goodies. Therefore, not to be missing on the action of real authentic Lebanese food prepared from scratch, I had to visit this Slow food Beirut - Earth Market (Souk El Ard)!

Turns out the market is totally worth it!!
I met with Chirine, the coordinator of Souk El Ard, and asked her about the concept and mission behind this weekly market 
>> Souk El Ard is an activity organized by Slow Food Beirut, a non-profit Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) branched from the International NGO, Slow Food, that has been founded in Italy in 1989 opposing the 'fast-food' lifestyle and supporting 'slow-food' instead. Slow Food now encompasses more than 150 countries with over 100,000 working to ensure slow authentic food does not go unseen! Slow food organizes similar Earth Markets in different countries and aims to serve 'Good, Clean and Fair Food'. 

  • 'Good' - Authentic, diversified, fresh, and artisan local food products preserving the countries' culinary heritage
  • 'Clean' - Organic food, free from genetically modified organisms and pesticides that does not harm the environment, animals and humans
  • 'Fair' - Fair trade for small-scale agriculture and producers with sustainable approaches to fishing and farming as well as ensuring accessible prices for consumers

Slow Food supports local farmers and producers by organizing educational programs about sustainable diets, farming, fishing, GMOs, slow fish, as well as local markets in which those producers sell their own home made produce. The founder of Slow Food has also founded the first university, University of Gastronomic Sciences, in which one can study links between food and cultures

So bottom line, ou have to check what this market has to offer.
My friends and I actually got (here goes the list): 

  • For lunch: Purslane pies (fatayer), spinach pies, wild green pies, pumpkin kebbe, wild thyme and cheese pie, vegetarian stuffed cabbage leaves
  • For dessert: Sugar-less carrot cake and sugar-less chocolate & orange cupcakes
  • Beverages: Water and freshly squeezed orange juice
  • To take home: More greens fatayer (for the family), pumpkin kebbe, organic carrots, organic zucchini, preserved vine leaves, thyme with sumac, sesame and sunflower seeds, eggplant compote (my dad loves those) and best part of it all, my new baby basil plant

Baked dandelion, purslane, wild thyme and spinach fatayer made with whole wheat

Furn El Sabaya's Mouwaraqa along with their healthy chocolate cupcakes,
orange cupcakes and carrot cake

I wish I had taken a 'hotter' version of this photo, but this one must go up!
In the market, you can actually find Lebanese and Armenian home made lunch meals which you can have right away or take home such as baba gahnouj with sprinked pomegranates, swiss chard (dlou3 sele2) & tahini, dandelion (hendbe) with chickpeas, fresh fava beans (foul) & tomato sauce, stuffed cabbage leaves (me7she malfouf) and the list goes on! So if you are craving your mom/teta's cooking, thank me later!

Em Ali's live saj (flat bread), preparing manakich with rocka & cheese , wild thyme & labne, kechek, labne with hot sauce, thyme with assorted veggies or cheese - with someone actually chopping the food in the background, preparing everything fresh!

Beans, thyme, sumac & sesame fix, kechek, bulgur, rice, wheat, sesame, sumac, flax seeds, herbal teas...

Home made sweets, maamoul, marzipan, biscuits and cookies

Different authentic honey wax and honey flavors too!

A seriously delicious set of nut butters (cashew, peanut, walnut, almond and hazelnut)
as well as sesame paste

Freshly picked wild greens (ors 3anne, orra, wild dandelion, wild mint...) with Lebanese moune (pantry) of preserved marmalades, tomato paste, olives, olive oil, strained yogurt & olive oil, vinegar, vine leaves, plum preserve, gherkins, pickles, just to name a few

A huge variety of seasonal organic fruit & veggies

Best part of it all, I got my new baby organic basil plant. The farmer there taught me how to actually take care of it, water it with details on needed sunshine/shade hours and on how to properly pick the basil leaves to incorporate in dishes such as pasta, pizza... Yum (will keep you posted on this one!)

So you see, this market is playing a crucial role in preserving authentic and traditional Lebanese pantry, produce and dishes and it has an invaluable importance in helping local farmers keep doing what they love to do while profiting from their small-scale businesses. 
In fact, anyone who believes in slow food, their vision and their objectives can join the Slow Food Beirut movement for 10,000LL (almost 7 USD/year). Members can be both dormant and active supporters - You can contact the events' coordinator Chirine Alayan at or 70944308.

I see this market is a win-win situation for both producers and consumers, especially that I love our authentic traditional Lebanese food as well as the healthy and diverse nutrition it has to offer! In addition, the fact that this market is in the heart of Hamra from 8 am till 2 pm, students and employees walking by can actually make benefit of the healthy deliciousness as well! I am sure this won't be my last visit, I already know what I'll have the next time I'm there.

Slow Food Beirut Blog
Slow Food Beirut Facebook Page
Earth Market's Facebook Page


  1. Can't wait till next tuesday! You'll know where to find me :)
    Very nice wrap up and description of this movement. The photos really enhanced the image. Thanks Paty!

    1. Sahtein Nouwie! Let me know your impressions on the place when u go there

  2. Replies
    1. It's exactly next to RadioShack, in the alleyway where Bread Republic is.