Showing posts from April, 2022

The Diabolical Debit Card Situation in Lebanon

If you’re a (miserable) account-holder at a Lebanese bank and you reside in Lebanon, you’re probably in possession of a debit card. After all, that’s the only God-forsaken method of siphoning some of your locked-up assets from the bank. And by siphoning, I mean extracting via trickle method. One miniscule drop at a time. The current predicament that cardholders face however is the rejection of their plastic wallet accessory by a vast number of retailers. Months ago, gas stations across Lebanon unanimously stopped accepting card payment. Then supermarkets and grocery stores, in a show of solidarity, enforced a 50/50 approach: they'd only accept 50% payment by card and 50% by cash. We’re talking about retailers like Spinney’s, Carrefour, Le Charcutier, Stop and Shop, O&C, and the likes. A range of epiceries, or upscale grocers like Aziz, haven’t accepted card payment for at least a year – understandably, they don’t want to deal with local banks, heinous capital controls and h

Lebanon's Premier Lahm Baajin Specialist Furn Beaino Lands in Dubai!

Eight years ago, I stumbled across Furn Beaino while researching Lebanon’s acclaimed "lahm baajin" bakeries. At the time, I was freelancing as Food & Drink editor at, and “best of” roundups were my bread and butter. Furn Beaino kept surfacing again and again in the literature, so I had to go and see what the fuss was about. I still remember that first visit in late September 2014. Wissam Beaino, son of the furn’s founder and visionary Toni Beaino, greeted me and briefly recounted the history of his family’s enterprise. Established in 1975, the furn, Arabic for "bakery," had quickly risen to fame for its matchless lahm baajin, a fragrant blend of mince lamb, onions, and tomatoes spread richly on a thin round flatbread, baked swiftly at high temperatures, and finished with a drizzle of lemon and a dash of pepper. These meat pies were Furn Beaino’s signature item, but customers clustered at the small Jounieh stronghold for everything from manakish zaa