When scouring for things to bring home from Beirut, forgo the typical touristy knickknacks; instead, shop for some authentic goods in the capital city. Here are some of our picks for great souvenirs.
If you fall in love with the delicious and often healthy Lebanese cuisine, buy a couple cookbooks and the special spices for Lebanese specialties.
Pick up some zaatar, which is Arabic for thyme, but refers to a powdered mix that also includes sumac, sesame seeds and salt. When you get home, mix it with olive oil to make a paste that can be spread on warm bread. To jazz it up Lebanese-style, top it off with plain Greek-style yogurt, chopped tomatoes, sliced cucumbers and olives.
If you have a sweet tooth, you can also find packages of bite-size desserts that are variations of baklava and other Balkan delights.
World-renowned designers have opened up shops in Beirut for the last several years, and Lebanese designers have their own unique style that blends East and West. For high-end shopping, go to Beirut Souks in downtown or the ABC Mall in Ashrafieh.
Local boutiques are sprinkled around Gemmayzeh or in Hamra streets, which also have large clothing stores. If you look around, you can spot good deals all over on nice clothes and accessories for men and women.