5 Foods That Used To Be Cheap in Lebanon


1. Seafood

Seafood in general was considered the food of the poor, for its easiness to capture and quick consumption, whereas chicken and red meat were the most expensive due to its long farming time, slaughtering and preparation.

Shrimps or lobster in instance, a sea insect, belongs to the same animal group as the spider, found crawling around the bottom of the fish bucket were originally what fishermen gave to their indentured servants to eat. People were so averse to eat it that they ground it up and used it as fertilizer, instead.

Nowadays, lobster is considered among the most expensive seafood and served in specific restaurants; the abundance and industrialized production of chicken and meat made fish and seafood so pricey in Lebanon.


2. Vegetables

Sun, soil, and water were the only elements needed to grow normal vegetables. Following the industrial revolution and lately globalization, vegetables were produced at a faster pace with genetically modified seeds, fertilizers and sold cheaper.

What used to be normal vegetables is now called “organic” and is sold as healthier, free of any chemicals and at higher price.


3. Almonds

A decade ago almonds were still a cheap and abundant food in the Lebanese market, but supply started to decline due to cheap imports and urbanism that turned many lands full of almond trees into modern residential buildings in Lebanese areas ranging from 100 to 600 m of altitude.

pine nuts

4. Pine nuts

Although not a cheap product, this wild seed was still available in many regions of Lebanon if many factors didn’t make its price similar to gold.

Recurrent yearly fires destroyed vast areas of pine trees along with wilt diseases, two major problems that were neglected by Lebanese authorities. Add to that, intensive labor in harvesting pushed Lebanon to import cheaper but lower quality pine nuts from Iran, Pakistan and Turkey.

Chicken wings

5. Chicken Wings

Chicken wings are the most expensive part of the bird, usually costing at least 10% more than breasts or thighs.  It used to be the least desirable chicken part, typically used for stock or thrown away. Nowadays, many specialized restaurant offer wide varieties of chicken wings flavored in different cooking style.

Worth the mention…

Hamburgers: Quick, cheap and high in protein sandwich created originally for poor coal miners in the USA.

Zaatar: Thym with olive oil spread on a dough can now cost you up to 6,000 L.L.(4$)

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