I must say that Lebanese cuisine is varied, absolutely delicious and on the healthy side. The incredibly fresh vegetables that are used, combined with olive oil and spices are a much needed break for me from the butter/salt combo from the States.
Besides the well known falafel and hummus that are pretty much the same as you would find all over the world, I have discovered slight differences from what I knew before, for instance, that in Lebanon tabouleh has no bulgur and baba ganoush is also called "mutabbal".
I must confess I had love at first bite with mankoushe which some call the Lebanese pizza, which is a think crust of oven-baked dough with za'atar and cheese, or lamb meat on it, that is sold for 1,750 L.L ($1.25 USD) at the corner of my street and makes for a delicious breakfast or snack.
I also absolutely love Fatoush (which doesn't make you fat by the way), a simple but super tasty salad.
And one can't forget the delicious Shawarma, which is a pitta bread sandwich made of lamb, beef or chicken grilled on a spit (like "al pastor", for Mexicans) with garlic mayo and french fries inside. Perfect after a night out.
But Lebanese cuisine goes far more than these rather simple dishes, and I have tasted very interesting combination of ingredients such as Shishbarak (meat pastries in yogurt soup) or Djaj mah Ruz (chicken over rice with pine nuts and a ton of spices, often served with laban, or yogurt).
For the desserts... forget it. I could write pages and pages about them. They are absolutely delicious. Baklava is the one that almost everyone knows, but there are many others.
There are tons of other amazing dishes I have tasted, but to be honest, I don't remember their names... So next time you go to a Lebanese restaurant, try some of these more elaborate dishes. You will not regret it!
Or maybe, if you are feeling adventurous, you can try cooking? A friend got me in the States a book that is pretty close to the real deal, called "A taste of Lebanon" by Mary Salloum.
Sahtayn! To your good health!