[Singapore] Lebanese lunch at Lubnan

Singapore’s Arab community harked back to before the time of the island’s founding by Stamford Raffles in 1819. The Hadhrami-Arabs, hailing from the arid desert region that formed Yemen today, had been venturing to this part of the world for centuries, to trade with the Malaccan sultanate in the 15th-century for its exotic spices and Ming porcelain from China. Early Singapore saw the emergence of several prominent Arab merchant-families which became prominent landowners on the island till today: the Alkaffs, Alsagoffs, Aljunieds, Alatas and Angullias.

Singapore’s Arab Quarter in Kampong Glam, centred around the old Sultan Mosque, is today a vibrant precinct full of Turkish, Malay/Indonesian and Middle-Eastern restaurants, curio shops and cafes.

I met up with some old friends from the Auditor-General’s Office of Singapore for lunch last Jan. Since one of them is Muslim, we looked for a halal eatery, and opted for Lubnan on Bussorah Street.

Muslims do not imbibe alcohol, so Muslim eateries had to come up a range of inventive fruit juice concoctions in its place. We started off with some chilled lime-and-mint juices here.

Meze platter - I love these Middle-Eastern appetiser platters where you get to try a variety of tasty little morsels: warak enab is the Arabic answer to Greek dolmades - spiced, lemony rice & minced lamb wrapped in grape leaves; hummous is mashed chickpeas, one of my fave food items of all time, maghmour is a ratatouille-like eggplant-tomato-chickpea dish; muttabal is another favourite - smokey mashed aubergine mixed with tahini, one of my fave condiments of all time; batinjan rahib - eggplant salad; and the crunchy fattoush bread salad.

Pita bread

Grilled halloumi cheese - I’d always had a weakness for the halloumi’s spongey texture and smokey aroma. My first taste of the halloumi was actually in London’s quirky Kypros, a Greek-Cypriot eatery in Chalk Farm nearly three decades ago. Never looked back since.

Mixed kebab platter - absolutely love barbecued meats, and the Lebanese do come up with the tastiest combinations, all lightly seasoned with a touch of spice. Lubnan served its kebab selection on a bed of pilaf rice: lamb kofta (minced lamb), chicken kofta (minced chicken), shish tawouk (marinated chicken cubes on skewers) and lamb mashwi (marinated lamb cubes on skewers - popularly called shish kebab in the West). Dips on the side consisted of toum, a Middle-Eastern garlic aioli; red zhug, a Yemeni hot sauce; and a Thousand Island-like sauce which I could not identify, but delicious nonetheless.

Lubnan Authentic Lebanese Cuisine
32 Bussorah Street, Singapore 199450
Tel: +65 6291 0538
Opening hours: 11am-11pm daily [CURRENTLY CLOSED due to COVID-19 lockdown in Singapore - till 1 June 2020)


Now you’re talking, Peter!

Exactly our kind of feast. Our local Middle Eastern places generally don’t do the mezze platter but it’s easy to build one up by ordering the individual dishes. I’ve recently become a big fan of Maghmour/makmour. And those kebabs look ace!

Mrs H isnt keen on halloumi (which means either it doesnt get ordered - or I get to eat it all). First experience was in Cyprus where it always appears in a mezze meal, usually accompanied by lountza, the local cured pork)

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All this talk of Middle-Eastern food is making me very hungry. :joy:

This lockdown is beginning to seem endless. The Singapore lockdown has been extended to end on 1st June instead of 1st May originally.

Over in Malaysia, the Prime Minister is coming on-live at 8pm this evening (1pm UK time) , and we all expected him to extend the lockdown in Malaysia which was due to end on 28 April for another two weeks!

We have at least another three weeks. I think it should continue until there’s absolutely clear evidence that the virus is properly under control.

I meant to ask the other day how you are getting on. You mentioned that you hadnt left your apartment building for several weeks. How are you getting on for food supplies? Is someone shopping for you or, like us, can you get it delivered?

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Yes, I had them delivered to my apartment complex. I can pretty much get anything & everything delivered - even posh French meals, though I’d not gone that far! :grin:

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