Postcard from... Beirut
While Europe is engulfed by its horse-meat scandal, Lebanon is battling its own food crisis: wood shavings in its beloved zaatar manakeesh.
Cooked on a dome-shaped hot plate, doughy manakeesh are a breakfast staple for Beirutis but are devoured at any time of the day. Popular toppings for the pizza-like snack are cheese, minced lamb or a thyme-based spice mix known as zaatar.
But in an attempt to maximise profits, bakeries are reportedly buying bastardised zaatar mix, which adds stale bread, food dyes and even wood shavings to the traditional zesty blend of thyme, sesame and sumac.
While genuine zaatar sells for around $20 (£13) a kilo, its cut-price imitations can go for just $2. “Fraud has even reached this cherished meal,” read an article in the English-language Daily Star. Despite being considered the culinary capital of the Middle East, Lebanon has yet to pass food safety laws proposed more than a decade ago.
According to the newspaper, one baker said that batches of zaatar from one supplier were priced according to the “percentage of wood shavings” they contained. Lebanese manakeesh lovers have taken to the social networks to express their distress. “Is nothing sacred!” wrote one Twitter user.
- 1 Windows 10: man updates PC, wakes up to find porn slideshow on repeat
- 2 The 'world's most beautiful vagina' has been debunked by science
- 3 John Green schools morning show hosts after awkward interview with Cara Delevingne
- 4 Supermodel Gisele Bundchen mocked for wearing a burka to avoid being seen visiting plastic surgeon in Paris
- 5 Bulletproof armadillo puts Texas man in hospital after shot bounces off hard shell
Whoopi Goldberg tells Cara Delevingne to suck it up: 'She's not famous. I'M famous'
John Green schools morning show hosts after awkward interview with Cara Delevingne
Supermodel Gisele Bundchen mocked for wearing a burka to avoid being seen visiting plastic surgeon in Paris
Bulletproof armadillo puts Texas man in hospital after shot bounces off hard shell
'Rowdy' Roddy Piper dies: Wrestling legend dies aged 61, according to reports
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn – or a return to a Labour government
Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn says 'we can learn a great deal from Karl Marx'
Is Britain really full up? Are migrants taking our jobs? Leading academic answers the most common anti-immigration claims
Calais Migrant Crisis: Deputy Mayor of Calais labels Cameron's use of 'swarm' as 'racist' and 'ignorant'
Public anger after French sunbather beaten up by gang for wearing a bikini in Reims park
Labour leadership: New poll shows party is now even 'less electable' than under Ed Miliband
£17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a leading company in the field ...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£26041 - £34876 per annum: Recruitment Genius: There has never been a more exc...
£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing travel comp...