27 February, 2023
Lebanese cuisine and Arak: a match made in heaven

Lebanese cuisine, paired with iconic drinks defines the identity and culture of the nation. With a culture that is so rich with heritage, food and entertainment, it is one that is hard to miss.

Lebanese cooking is all about love and the combination of flavours. The heart of the kitchen is the spice, which makes most dishes irresistible.

Delicious, healthy and fulfilling, there is no comparison. The use of fresh fruits, vegetables and legumes combined with a range of spices is what sets apart Lebanese cuisine from others.

We are incredibly fortunate, as we can experience some of the best Lebanese cuisines right here in Sydney. The traditions and recipes have been passed down from generation to generation, all over the world.

Now, as a result of this, Lebanese cuisine has made its way to the doorstep of Surry Hills.

We can harp on all day about the greatness of Lebanese cuisine. However, what is most intriguing about this culture of food is the incomparable combination of food and the country’s national drink – Arak.

Sydney, do it best and understand the relationship between Lebanese cuisine and Arak 

Lebanese cuisine paired with a glass of arak, the country’s staple. This tradition is one that is enjoyed by Lebanese all over the world. The richness of Lebanese foods is best paired with the unique taste of this beverage.

“Eat, drink (Arak) and be thankful.”

What is Arak? It is a grape-based beverage part of Lebanon’s cuisine and culinary history.

Arak is a very traditional alcoholic beverage and is served in small glasses best paired with Mezza; a must in Lebanese cuisine.

It is a popular choice for many tourists and locals.

Why is Arak so special? A lot of the fuss and excitement of the drink is surrounded by making the drink. The making of the drink is a family affair. Each family has a different method passed on from one generation to another. Arak is made from grapevines and is left to ferment in barrels for a couple of weeks.

Once ready to be served, the spirit is diluted with water, usually one-third alcohol and two-thirds water, turning the transparent liquid white. This unique concoction is then sometimes poured onto ice-filled glasses, depending on preference.

Everyone likes to enjoy Arak differently. Some prefer half and half, while others prefer less Arak and more water.

Zahli Tip: always fill up a fresh glass of arak instead of topping up an existing cup.

Arak is enjoyed alongside Lebanese cuisine and is a staple of Sunday meals and celebrations. The taste of Arak can be described as sweet and licorice flavoured. We should mention that the drink has about 40% alcohol content.

Lebanese cuisine is quite acidic, especially the mezza.

Options such as fattoush, tabbouleh, hummus, moutabbal, sausages and sambousik all have salty and acidic flavours. Eating Mezza is not just about enjoying one dish, instead of eating small portions of every meal. So imagine all those flavours bursting in your mouth. You need something to calm your palate down and refresh your taste-buds.

This is what makes Arak the perfect drink for Lebanese cuisine. Arak tones down the acidity of the food with small hints of sweetness and the earthy texture.

Enjoy each mouthful of Mezza with a sip of Arak, and you will experience Lebanese cuisine the way it should be!

Arak is compared to the traditional Greek ouzo or Turkey’s raki, which are also grape-based drinks with liquorice-like flavours of anise.

However, don’t mess with the Lebanese as their Arak is better and smoother (this is not a bias statement). The aging and care taken throughout every stage of production make Lebanese Arak much more fluid than others. For a drink that is deemed as strong, it is delightful and drinkable.

Arak is not only enjoyed alongside Lebanese cuisine, but many generations have also used it as a natural digestif as well as a way to treat illness. Lebanese locals believed that the ingredients used to make arak, including green anise, is a fantastic way to aid digestion.

At Zahli, we serve the best Lebanese cuisine right here in Sydney. Combining traditional flavours with fresh ingredients, you will be transported to the streets of Lebanon.

Enjoy Lebanese cuisine the right way and pair it with Arak at Zahli.

Book your table today and call us at 9318 2228.