Adventure Travel Abroad

GIANT MEAT BALLS in Lebanon – Special KIBBEH Lebanese Food!

GIANT MEAT BALLS in Lebanon – Special KIBBEH Lebanese Food!

– Hey everyone, hope you’re
having an amazing day. It’s Mark Wiens. I’m in the north of Lebanon, in a small village that’s
known for a dish called kibbeh. Now kibbeh is, it’s a dish known throughout the Levant, especially in Lebanon and Syria of minced meat and bulgur wheat. And before coming to Lebanon, all I really knew was one type of kibbeh, but in fact there are many
different types of kibbeh prepared in many different ways. And so today we have a
very special opportunity. Kamel has arranged with one of his friends to prepare for us a full
kibbeh spread of dishes, different varieties, types of kibbeh. I’m very excited to see the entire process and I’m gonna show everything
with you in this video. (upbeat music) (coffee splashing and dripping) My favorite time in the afternoon. Oh, it’s about to spill, is afternoon coffee time, especially when I’m at
home editing videos. Before getting started
with the main video, I wanna say a big thank you to NordVPN for sponsoring this video. It’s a service that I use personally, especially when I travel because I spend so much
time on the internet. (upbeat music) Okay, so a VPN, it stands for
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my bank and making bookings and so keeping my
information safe and secure is very important. And additionally, I’ve traveled to some countries like China and the Middle East where there are certain restrictions and blocks on internet, like
social media especially. And so using NordVPN and then
being able to choose a server in a different destination,
in a different country, gives me global internet access. Also quickly, to mention about Article 13 which was just passed in the EU which is gonna introduce more
filters and more restrictions on both uploading content
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you to connect to a server in a different location. And finally you can get
75% off a three-year plan at This special offer makes your subscription just 299 per month and you can use code MARKWIENS to get an extra month of Nord for free. Once again that’s and use promo code, MARKWIENS. Thanks again to NordVPN and let’s get back to the food video. This location, this
restaurant, first of all, is just spectacular. These trees, this entire courtyard is just fully shaded by huge
trees, huge leafy trees, right next to a rushing river. You hear the sound of the water, you’re sitting in the
shade, the fresh air. This village specifically is known for kibbeh throughout Lebanon. Many say this is where the
best kibbeh comes from. (upbeat music) (speaking foreign language) A beverage that I could continuously drink throughout the entire day, non-stop. At the restaurant though, you typically serve just
all types of Lebanese food? All types of mezze?
– Yeah. – [Mark] Okay, but specializing in kibbeh? – [Kamel] So we try to crumble
it as much as possible. – If there’s one thing I have learned so far being in Lebanon is that there’s always food before food. – [Fadi] Now I’m smiling. – The mezze is the different
dishes, the vegetables. So we’re enjoying a little
breakfast and coffee before getting into the kibbeh. – Fell in love with the Lebanese breads. – Yeah.
– And for a good reason. One for me and one for you. – Okay, so with the crispy Lebanese bread, the shanklish mixed with tomatoes, green onions and olive oil. And you kind of get that, it looks like that crumbly
cottage cheese-y texture. Oh.
– If I may, just follow it up.
– Oh yeah. Follow it. Oh, thank you, Kamel.
– And tomato. – Follow it. There’s always a chaser
in Lebanon as well. And for the shanklish, it
should be mint and tomato. – Perfect.
– Oh, yeah. Ooh, wow, that mint. Like it’s mild but
strong at the same time. I’m gonna chase the shanklish
with a tomato as well. The juiciest tomatoes. – Look at the hummus, look at the labneh. There’s something really really
wrong with these two dishes that we need to fix. What is it? – Add an oil.
– Aha! There you go. Immediately, no hesitation. You’re a local now. – [Mark] Okay. Fadi. – [Fadi] Wow. (speaking foreign language) – Okay, it’s time for a hummus. Oh, yeah. Oh, wow. Yeah, that hummus is amazing. You can taste the lemon in it, right? More than others. That hummus is amazing. For me I think it’s so good
because of the lemon bite in it. You can taste the lemon in it. For the eggs, and we just
got a piece of man’oushe which is bread topped in za’atar. More food just always appears
when you’re in Lebanon. I think I’m gonna put the egg. I’m gonna set the egg
right on top of that. Look at that za’atar. The lemony zest, the thyme
in there, the sesame seeds. I just have to add some hummus to this. Okay, they’re calling me now. It is time. They’re calling me now. It’s time to start on the kibbeh. (upbeat music) Yes. It’s awesome. – Traditional stone mortar for the kibbeh. It’s very traditional. So back in the day, whenever someone wanted
to marry a girl from town, the challenge to test whether
the guy was strong enough was to carry the whole thing
with one hand, one arm, just above his head and put it back. (loud pounding)
(speaking foreign language) – The bulgur?
– Bulgur. – This is something that is
not done very often anymore but this is the traditional
way to make kibbeh. To pound the meat using a, it’s a really huge, like
an entire stone mortar and it’s like a mallet,
a very thick pestle. It’s a very very fine
mince, this time of beef, and then the other mixture ingredient is cracked bulgur wheat which is also mixed with a variety of I think about seven
different spices they said. – She said seven spices and salt. – It’s called the all spice mix. – All spice mix. It’s kind of cinnamon-y
though, generally, right? – [Kamel] These tendons and
stuff when they’re pounding, you see a white string? You just pull it out as opposed to just mixing it in. So they’re pounding. And that’s the traditional. – You can tell her experience. I guarantee, she makes that
look way easier than it is. (speaking foreign language) That deserves a–
– I mean, it’s perfect. – That deserves an ovation for sure. You do not get that skill overnight. She did it so fast. She made two of them, then all of a sudden she took
a couple spoons of the beef, pure beef fat, put it into the center of one then put them both
together both bowl shapes, of the dome shape, half domes together into making a full sphere of meat and fat. (applauding) That is the most perfect
ball of meat you’ll ever see. It’s perfect. It’s symmetrical and that’s
just straight minced meat and bulgur with fat in the center. – [Kamel] This one, we’re taking
to the traditional bakery. – Ah okay.
– In the town. (speaking foreign language) – She’s moving onto the next kibbeh. She added more water so to give it a more, I guess a less stick consistency. She’s about to put it into this
giant pan full of olive oil. (speaking foreign language) – [Kamel] Mark, olive oil is
sacred in this part of town. – Sacred.
– Yeah. I immediately notice the olive trees. – [Mark] That is a huge base of meat. (speaking foreign language) – [Kamel] So now patterns
need to be applied. – You can see how even
it is, the entire thing, just from her experience. – [Kamel] Yes. (speaking foreign language) – They said that’s both
for art, for design, and that’s their design, and then also for function, for cooking so that everything is even. So the olive oil probably oozes up. I can already imagine the oozing olive oil and meat juices and fats. (speaking foreign language) Ah, okay. (speaking foreign language) Now she’s gonna demonstrate,
show us the raw version. (speaking foreign language) – [Kamel] It’s gonna be eaten raw. – That was just a totally
new experience for me. I’ve never, I know so little about kibbeh other than the, I think it’s the little
football-shaped fried ones that I’ve had at Lebanese restaurants. But this is a whole different perspective. It’s such, I can already tell, I know that kibbeh is the king of dishes, in Lebanon, especially in this village. For that big pizza pan
meat spread at the bottom, we’re going to go to a traditional bakery. So they’re gonna bake it
in a traditional Lebanese, that’s the way it’s cooked. Going actually to a
traditional bakery to do that. I can sit in the back. I can sit at the back. (laughing) You’ve got a lot of responsibility, Fadi. – Yes, yes, I do. I’m holding the prized,
handmade with love. – [Kamel] And care. – With history. Look at that, look at that.
– The shimmer. – No no, look at the oil, how– – [Kamel] Oh, yeah. – [Mark] It’s sprouting
from that little hole. – Back in the days, the bakeries used to do all
the bread in the morning and then at noon all the
women would come here with trays of kibbeh to bake them because they used to
have no ovens at home. So all the kibbeh in town used to be baked in that bakery. – The church.
– Ah, okay. – And we have– (speaking foreign language) – Precious cargo. – I’m just enjoying, it’s like waves of olive and just– – Meat and olive oil. – Yes.
– In my face. (laughing) – Food has never been so much fun. – Oh, it’s right there.
– There’s kibbeh inside. – [Kamel] There’s a kibbeh inside. – This is one of those days
where the food excitement is at an all time high. I’m shivering. I’m so excited. – [Fadi] I want the song, ♪ Here comes the bride ♪ – [Mark] Directly from
the van into the oven. (laughing) – Now fourth generation. – Fourth generation bakery. Amazing. Hundred, how many years? 120 years old, the oven. Fourth generation bakery. So generations have grown up putting their kibbeh into this oven. And even somebody beat
us to the oven today. There’s another kibbeh
already in the oven. If you could see the
oils are just sloshing. The olive oil and the meat juices are just sloshing around in that pan. But it is a tradition that people would bring
their pan of kibbeh especially on Sunday when you have to have
kibbeh in this village, to the local baker. What a beautiful tradition. I cannot even believe it. This is gorgeous. This is, it’s gonna be so incredibly good. Oven is over 800 degrees Celsius in there. So it’s extremely, extremely hot, that cooks, the whole kibbeh is gonna
cook in about 15 minutes. You almost dehydrate it. Oh, it’s ready.
– Yes. It’s already done. – [Mark] Be careful. – [Fadi] Kamel is asking
me to say some poetry. (laughing) – Oh, that aroma. With cardboard, it’s
time to carry the pan. Thank you very much. – Welcome, nice to meet you.
– Thank you. Amazing.
– You are welcome. – Beautiful bakery.
– Now is the time for the taste after this hard work.
– It is, it is time. – Okay, you are welcome. – Oh, that’s the greatest
meat aroma I’ve ever smelled. On the floor, yeah?
– Yeah. – [Ying] Over here. – Will it burn the?
– It’s too hot. – It’s too hot. (speaking foreign language)
(laughing) Okay.
– Oh, yes. (speaking foreign language)
(upbeat music) – [Kamel] Mission accomplished. (laughing) – Okay, we’re back in the kitchen now. Actually they have a whole
group that’s eating here so they’re preparing a
lot of food for today. That is a basin of tabbouleh. Oh, I love tabbouleh. That is a beautiful, beautiful thing. (sizzling) (speaking foreign language) A taste of the– – Yeah.
– Fattoush. (laughing) – I don’t know if you like it.
– Mmm! – Really, it’s–
– Oh, wow. – Really, really. One more, one more.
– It is so good. – One more.
– Okay. Mmm. (speaking foreign language) Okay, that’s the greatest
fattoush I’ve ever tasted. It’s unbelievable. (speaking foreign language) You could drink that dressing.
– Mmm! – Yes, yes. You can do it, you can do it. We do it usually for the tabbouleh. – [Kamel] Yeah. – I, drink the– (speaking foreign language) – One of the best I’ve had.
– Yeah. (upbeat music) So then kibbeh nayyeh is the mezze course. But then the cooked
one is the next course. I’m learning many things
about kibbeh today. I mean, the different versions. But also the different
courses of Lebanese cuisine and the way it’s served. So mezze comes first which are the cold, well especially the cold appetizer. Mezze is like the
hummus, the baba ganoush, just the vegetable platters. And the first kibbeh is
served with that course because it’s cold appetizer. The raw kibbeh, the raw
meat, the raw minced meat. The other cooked kibbeh
is the heavier meats, that ball and that platter kibbeh, they’ll come later after we sit and relax and eat the mezzes. – [Kamel] You know what
some people do, Mark, that’s a local touch. They say it goes very nicely with that. Sorry, I’m using my fingers but this is how it’s done. – The family.
– The only way. – Style. Just came out of the kitchen now. And at restaurants outside of Lebanon, really the only form of kibbeh
that I’ve ever had actually, the only form of kibbeh is
those little football-shaped, bite-sized little dumpling-like fried, that’s the fried kibbeh. Kamel, what’s the name
of the fried kibbeh? – It’s just, we call it kibbeh plain. So whenever you say
kibbeh, that’s just kibbeh. – Oh that’s just kibbeh.
– The balls. Yeah.
– Fried ones. And the local way to eat this one is to kinda break it in half. Oh, you can see the minced meat in there, the bulgur wheat and then
also the pine nuts in there. And then dip it in the
hummus or other dip. Oh, I just lost my pine nuts. Okay, I’ll add one to this
side, one to this side. But I’m gonna taste one half of it, just plain first. (speaking foreign language) Oh, wow. That’s the best I’ve ever had. The meat is so incredibly fragrant. And you taste the nuttiness,
the cinnamon, all spice. That is incredible. So then the other way is
to dip it in the hummus. That is another delicious
vessel for hummus. – So I’m gonna give you another–
– Oh, the raw, okay. – [Fadi] I’m gonna give
you another perfect bite. Some tabbouleh juice.
– Juice to rejoice. – Yeah, do it, do it.
– The kibbeh rejuiced with the tabbouleh. Okay. Yeah. That makes it, because of that citrus, because of that lemon. Yeah, that’s the best
combination for sure. (speaking foreign language) What is the best technique? – [Kamel] Best technique is
to make like a vessel for oil. – So that it holds it in?
– Holds it in. (speaking foreign language) There you go. (speaking foreign language) So that with every bite you
can dip it in the olive oil. – Kamel made me almost
like a donut-shaped. So that you can fill it all
the way up with olive oil. That way you get some of the raw meat, some of the oilve oil, all in one bite. And then often you can
also eat it with garlic. But you really wanna taste, you really wanna taste the
flavor of that raw meat. Oh, yeah. Cheers. Cheers. It’s almost so fine and so neutral tasting that it’s almost cheesy. And the texture is almost gummy, sticky, because it’s such a fine mince, because it’s mixed with that bulgur because there’s olive oil. Stunningly delicious. And for this bite, I’ll scoot over some of that garlic. Some of that garlic sauce in with the meat and use the baked bread. Wow! Wow, with the garlic, immediately you feel a
slight burn in your cheeks, come from the powerfulness of that garlic. The kibbeh just melts in your mouth. (speaking foreign language) Okay, I’m moving into that
tabbouleh that we saw her make. This tabbouleh looks incredible. Yeah, tabbouleh is just
one of the greatest salads, greatest mixes, greatest dishes. I mean the simplicity of it. And then the herbaceousness
of the parsley. It’s one of the kibbehs that
I just cannot wait to try. This was the one that we went to the baker to cook the entire tray of meat and when it’s in the oven,
in that scorching hot oven, it cooks in its own juices but it also deep fries in its own juices from all of that oil, olive oil. And then they also say it’s very good to dip in the tabbouleh to eat with the tabbouleh, the lemon juices, the olive oil as well. The crispy layers, you can almost see the
bulgur wheat in there too, with the minced meat. You can actually see that texture. Oh, yeah. It’s one of those things, as you keep on chewing, the flavor keeps on coming. The more meatiness that comes out and it’s got this crunchy, this crumbly texture from that bulgur. It’s so flavorful. But it actually takes time to chew it before all the flavors are released. It’s almost like you’re eating bread, like a meat bread. (upbeat music) – It’s amazing.
– Heaven, heaven. – It’s so good that I couldn’t
even wait to change my plate. So I just got the rest of a whole entire kibbeh nayyeh plate. – [Kamel] Fadi, having some
garlic with a bit of kibbeh. – Yeah, another excuse to eat garlic. (upbeat music) – [Mark] Right in the center. – [Kamel] The pita bread
that we have, Mark. They spread chili paste first, a bit of tomatoes and onions and then you use it to
eat the grilled meat, the grilled kefta. – Whoa, they have cranked up
the music over on that side. But we’re going to the kitchen now to grill the ball of kibbeh. But in the meantime, they brought out a
whole mixed grill plate. I gotta have a piece of, I gotta snack on a piece of kefta all the way to the kitchen. (laughing) Oh, wow. Oh, that kefta is amazing. The parsley in there. Okay, I need another piece of meat. That kefta is amazing. With hummus? Oh, thank you. See, that kefta’s insanse.
– Yeah. – That kefta’s amazing.
– It is. Absolutely. – One of the best keftas ever. The ball kibbehs are on the grill. I thought there was just one. There’s like eight of them,
10 of them on the grill. Slow grilling. You can the crackling of the wheat, of the meat on the grill. They’re like the size of grapefruits. Grapefruits, they’re
the size of grapefruits. They’re the size of softballs. – [Kamel] Just cook on
one side and then flip. – Like the whole?
– Just slowly rotate it. (speaking foreign language) This could almost be considered a sport, rolling the kibbeh balls. And they just slow roast, they
have to roast on every side. So they just slowly rotate
them over the hot fire. You can see the juices
starting to drip out. (speaking foreign language) Kamel. – I’m taking care of the kibbeh. – [Mark] I got it under control. – Only if everyone can
smell what I’m smelling now. – [Mark] Oh, wow. The trophy has arrived. – [Kamel] Ah, king of the table. – Yeah, what I like to do is to remove the fat from the inside. Oops. It’s still a little bit hot. – It is hot.
– It’s very hot. – [Kamel] Sorry. – [Fadi] This is the Julie way. – Okay, it’s open Julie.
– She’s from here. – She’s a local.
– So you see. – [Crowd] Whoa! – [Mark] It’s like a coconut. It’s like opening a coconut.
– You wanna drink? – [Julie] I like to remove it. I remove it in the water so
that it doesn’t ruin the– – [Kamel] I mean for me,
it’s done its purpose– – [Julie] But I keep it like this. – That’s just sloshing around fat. That is a beautiful thing. And actually a lot of people
like to throw that fat because the fat served its purpose. It coated the inside of that kibbeh. But other people like to eat that fat. And then they’re explaining
the different ways. Some people like to then dip pieces of the kibbeh into the fat. Other people like to
empty the fat, the oil, and then put tabbouleh on the inside. – [Kamel] I think you can’t
get enough of just, watch it. – Mark.
– I’ll have the fat. – Have the fat.
– The tabbouleh inside. – [Mark] The tabbouleh on the inside. – [Julie] And you can eat it like this.
– Oh, like a sandwich. – Yeah.
– Nice. It is time. This is like a once in
a life food opportunity. Oh it’s just the perfect soft ball. And I’m just gonna cut. Oh, it’s amazingly hard because, bready, because of that bulgur. Yeah, it’s thick, it’s hard. I’m gonna slice all the way through. And here it is. (laughing) Just a puddle. A puddle of fat. And immediately, you get that aroma. The meat aroma plus that spice. I’m gonna do this method first. Take a piece of the kibbeh. Oh yeah, and that’s bready because of the content
of the bulgur in there. I’m gonna just dip that. Try to get as much of the
oil juices as possible. When you’re gonna eat fat,
you gotta make it count. (laughing) Oh, wow. That’s the bite. That is the bite of the meal. That is extraordinary. (upbeat music) – [Kamel] Solid already. – [Mark] A bite with
tabbouleh, with the fat. – [Crowd] Cheers! (laughing) – Fat dripping everywhere. – Fat is, oh yeah. It’s juicing, it’s juicing.
– Yes! (upbeat music) – When you eat the fat, it just coats your lips in
a meat glaze on your lips. Meat lipstick. I’ve got the meat lipstick. (speaking foreign language) I love Lebanese desserts
to finish as well. Always platters of fresh fruit and I love cherry season in Lebanon. Fruit is all you need after a meal of such glory, after a meal like that. Again, like I mentioned before, before today, actually, the only kibbeh that I even knew were those little fried
football-shaped kibbehs which are incredibly delicious as well. But just to learn about
this entire experience and how there’s so many different types. As she was explaining, she said there’s over 10 types, even more just from this village alone. It’s really one of the most respected, one of the most family, bringing together dishes of Lebanon. I wanna say a massive thank you to Julia and her restaurant, her family. This is still a family-run and
how they prepared everything, showed us their culture through kibbeh. It was an amazing experience. Huge thank you. Thank you to Kamel for
arranging, for setting it up. I also wanna say a huge
thank you to USAID, USAID for funding my trip to Lebanon, for bringing me to Lebanon
and for sponsoring our trip. Also if you haven’t watched all the Lebanese food
videos in this series, we’re traveling around Lebanon, eating, meeting amazing people, learning about Lebanon and its
food and culture and people. And I’ll leave the link in
the description box below, then you can watch the entire
playlist, all the videos. Thanks again for watching. Please remember to give
this video a thumbs up. If you enjoyed it, leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you. And if you’re not already subscribed, click subscribe. Subscribe now and also
click the little bell icon so that you get notified of
the next video that I publish. Thanks again for watching and I will see you on the next video.

Reader Comments

  1. I wondered!!! Mark aren't you tired eating the same meat since you been there in lebanon? I tried fatoush. Taboleuh, kibeh, etc….. My employer used to prepared the same meat that you were eating! Its just puremeat with lemon and i was going to be honest. Its just ok. Most of the time its getting tired to eat it! Mostly the manushi and zaatar!

  2. Oh god i was waiting your till 6pm yesterday… but back luck my son mate with accident..couldnot watch video… i m really sorry mark😭😭

  3. Labanese food is my favorite of all.
    I used to go to a Labanses resturant every day for a year sometimes in weekend also, today I'm going also recently 1-2 times a week.

  4. I never knew what kibbeh was made of before. I used to love to eat it in Jerusalem back when I lived in Israel in the early 1970s. Thanks Mark for another great video.

  5. May Allah bless you mark, you Respect every food, Pick out good point in every food item, describes it's taste in beautiful way.

  6. Actually you are the reason i ve putted lebanon as the destination of my next annual vacation trip 😁😁😁 WARD cafe is planned as the first stop

  7. I don't like to eat when I watch Mark Wiens videos, because my food always feel inferior to what Mark's having.

  8. Yummmmmm. Yum yum yum. Omg I'm drooling. I love kibbeh in all forms. Lebanon has crawled up my travel bucket list. Great video again.

  9. Wow its a blessing all u do n eat n how u n ur wife get a great the best of others that don't know u with open arms may God bless u n ur family friend when ur around south texas where i live give me a ring n I'll cook n have my house open for u

  10. Just wanted to add how pathetically ignorant that Grammarly ad is at the beginning of your video… gotta love Americans that can't spell or write without an app to help them… simply embarrassing. I love your work though, watch all of your videos

  11. Mark Wiens is a very nice person. He inspired me to vlog and respecting people's culture too. Subscribe to his channel and share his video. Thanks guys

  12. There was a time when Mark and The Food Ranger were neck to neck in terms of viewers and content but now Mark is clearly waay ahead of the food ranger specially content wise.

  13. i would love to visit libanon, but my government has issued a travel warning due to terrosim and conflicts in syria – but this video looks so peacefull..

  14. Tuesday night, I know what I'm doing! Love Kibbeh. In the Dominican Republic, we make that too, thanks to the Lebanese introducing it.

  15. Hi Mark, I’m a big fan. I’d like to discuss with you a plan to visit my country (Bangladesh) inn details. Cann you please inbox me your email/IM so that we can commuicate directly and in details?

  16. I have a request , that you must visit again India and visit state of Kerala, God's own country. In Kerala you can explore more and more verities of food and culture. i am eagerly waiting . Please welcome to India and State of Kerala


  18. I can't stop watching Mark's vids!! I'm IN LOVE. Im really touched by how open you are in every culture. Can't wait for more! 💕 from 🇵🇭

  19. Hey Mark … first of all , wow – really love this edition .. Lebanon is one of the most amazing cultures and people ( Christian , Muslims and Druze ) their foods are so elegantly prepared and tastes are outstanding . I’m from Egypt myself , and interacting with the Lebanese regarding food , they are very picky and artistic about preparation . I had the honor of visiting once … thank you for this video .
    Secondly , I want to say I haven’t seen as descriptive and engaging in their food reviews . You really make our mouths water and bellys grumble … awesome video and please keep it coming !

  20. Great food, great contry, great music, great people. And, was always, great serie. Thank's Mark. Hugs from Portugal.

  21. Those Wives probably weren't ready to be stoned to death when She no to the marriage ❤️❤️❤️✋️✋️✋️

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