Thursday, February 16, 2012

On over priced salads & fries in Lebanon

This is a guest post by Sareen Akarjalian (website, Twitter). My notes will be in italic blue.

It's 12:00 pm, you're at work, and your stomach starts growling. You hear your colleagues talk about what to order, or what food they've brought to work with them (shoo tabakhet emak mbere7?), or that some of them are going out to have a bite. You're starving and your stomach is orchestrating a symphony. You catch yourself browsing food sites, images of mouth watering recipes, and you check the time. 12:20 pm. Perfect! Time to order food! 

Since memes are the thing now.
So you look through your stack of delivery menus. Hmm..hamburger? Or should you go healthy and order a salad? You look down at your stomach and realize you can no longer see your feet (Jeez when did that happen?)

"Salad it is!" you say. "But I'll add some chicken, don't want to feel like a freakin' cow". Then you check the prices....

"16,000 LBP?! For a salad?! (true story) But but...". Outrageous, you think. If you're going to pay 16,000 for a salad, you might as well order a sandwich with fries. You grumble to yourself thinking about how expensive things are getting. 

Next day you vow to get some food with you. You (or your mom hehe) fry up a delicious juicy steak the night before and get it to work with you the next day. But you remember that steak needs something to go with it. Something like...friiiies...wondeful crunchy fries. You pick up your menu once more only to check the prices again and..lo and behold, fries now cost anything between 5,000 to 6,000. SERIOUSLY? Not to mention you're going to tip the guy who gets the food for you so that's going to cost you at least another thousand. So that's a total of 7,000 for a tiny box of fries when I could buy an entire kilogram of fries for 1,000 LBP (250 in the summer). 

Something has seriously gone wrong. You might say, wellll they have to pay rent, and employees, and bla bla bla. But trust me. 5,000 - 6,000 for a tiny box of fries is unacceptable (true that). And I'm surprised why none of the blogging community is complaining about this. 

So what's the solution? We complain. And we no longer order those items. I, on the other hand, have discovered the awesomeness that is catering companies such as Socrates or Tabkha. If there is one day of the week where I happen to not bring food from home (the days where mom made moujaddara) (but I love Mjadra!) I just order a delicious plate from these places and pay around 15,000 LBP. You get good, wholesome, healthy food that seriously tastes delicious. 

So remember guys, you don't have to eat a salad and pay 15,000LBP. You can eat a meal that fills you up, is healthy (well healthier than a boring old hamburger with tons of cheese and bacon) and cost effective!

Ok, my rant is over. I guess a lot of you are going to complain and kick my butt. That's why I used Liliane's blog to post my rant :D (lucky me yeah?). Have a great day and lunch! 

ما حدا مرتاح يا سارين!


  1. She finally speaks !
    It's hard not to imagine this post being a conversation between cartoon characters.. or maybe it's just me.

    You make a very valid point, the food industry prices have increased in Lebanon at an alarming rate. If you do the math to see the difference between what you would spend on food every month if you make your own meals (assuming you buy the groceries, not your mom) or order out, the numbers would drive you nuts.

    All this talk about salad and fries reminded me of a post that the editor of TimeOut Beirut (i think) wrote about a week ago about things you need to get used to when you move to Beirut, and I remember one of the first thing she highlighted was how cheap you can get produce in Lebanon..

    So here's a better tip than Sareen's: On your way home, stop by the grocery store, and then make whatever food you feel like eating for the next couple days.. Keep doing that the whole month, and with the money you save.. buy yourself something pretty :P

  2. That's one amazing rant :)
    But even socrates plate increased in their prices. Just few months ago it was 12,000 and now it reaches a minimum of 15,000.

    Cooking is the way. I usually prepare my salad at home, take it with me to work and order a sandwich or a plate beside it.

  3. Indeed Fadi, things are getting more expensive. I used to do that btw, cook my own things, much cheaper. But sometimes, as Loulwa said, I'd bring part of the food and order the side order (which is still expensive...) It's true that things are increasing in price, but that's no reason to rip us off.