When in Beirut, many things will come highly recommended to you. From never-ending beaches to mountains hugging local restaurants, the sites and experiences are endless. Don't even get us started about the food. Whether you want a light bite or a midnight snack, the cities street vendors have a way of hitting all of your insatiable cravings.
So, here you find yourself in a city that's all hustle and bustle, filled with family-run shops on every corner and food carts on every street side. Many may find Beirut's restless nature intimidating, as the streets never stop singing and the local's waltz to the beat of the city's pulse. The only way to maneuver a city like Beirut is to discover it's streets and what they have to offer. Here's a hint: street vendors.
Food carts on every corner imaginable, offering tastes and smells that any foodie would swoon over. Despite the variety of street foods that the city has to offer, Beirutis know all too well that it's the fluffy loaf of bread, typically known as Kaak [Ka'ak], that really hits the spot.
Kaak, a purse-shaped street bread, usually coated in sesame seeds, is famous for its crunch and taste. You could not miss the popular treat even if you tried. As street vendors wander Beirut's alleyways with their carts and Kaak dangling from the rails on their bikes, there's almost a sense of timelessness that comes with such a sight. In a city that seems to have lived a thousand lives, our Kaak carts appear to have lived and survived through it all.
Typically eaten with Zaatar or Picon, Kaak and the street carts that follow have had a longstanding presence in Lebanon. A cultural symbol that is cross-generational and even recognized in old snapshots of Beirut. Many have indulged in this traditional street bread, slowly edging away from being known as just a local favorite to a regional delight.
From the Ottoman Empire to the present day, these vendors and their line of work have probably fed every street corner in the city. Explore one of Lebanon's longstanding cultural symbols and traditions: One street vendor at a time.