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Thursday, 24 October 2013

Wacky Bakkal

Bakkal is the middle eastern name for a grocery store that sells food in bulk.

This is where you go to stock up on grains, oils, spices and all the food staples (referred to as Bkkaleh).

A Bakkal does not typically sell packaged goods - you just fill up bags with what you need; all are weighted and you pay per weight.

Some, like the one I discovered, imposes a minimum weight for some items (what would one do with half a kilo of sesame seeds?).

The olive bins were my favourite. In Lebanon we don't overdo olive varieties.

All olives are local and you can have them in green, black or 'new' (those in the beautiful green to the right).

Those are Shanklish - a milk cheese that is formed into balls, covered with za'atar (thyme based) and aged.

The most typical way it is eaten is mixed with tomatoes, onions and olive oil (see sample below).

Talking about za'atar, here it is to the left. A mixture of dried thyme mixed with sesame seeds and a bit of the sumaq - the red spice to the right of the picture.

I just loved how big those bins are.

And on your way out, you can pick up fresh local eggs by the piece (3 eggs for less than a dollar).

BTW, I used to work my summers at my grandfather's Bakkal store when I was a pre-teen.

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