Kaak on the Beach

Here's a photo from our recent trip to the public beach. To drive there takes us only 10 minutes (it'd be less but for traffic), and although proximity is on our side, our visits are rare because there's an awful lot of preparation and clean up involved.

But it's good to know that we can strike "snacks" from the list of things to prepare. The man with that wonderful bicycle is selling Kaak, a circular bread with the hole in it. Makes a nice handle. The bread is hollow inside, so you can put stuff in it, normally Zaatar (an herb mix of thyme and sesame and I'm sure other stuff too). Later in the day we bought Kaak with cheese in it. Yummy, and they cost only about $1 each.

Bike-enabled commerce like this is common on the streets of Beirut, though now that I get to wondering about it, I can't say I've ever seen someone ride this kind of bike. I've only seen them pushed along by the owner, and on the beach that would be a must in any case. The sand was so soft.


  1. Hollow bread, that's a great idea.
    Yum, za'atar!

    Where's the water??
    Do women have to wear a "burkini"?

  2. Almost everyone in the picture is facing the water.

    If you can imagine the image extending to the left, doubling the current width, I believe the water would have been in the picture.

    Do the women have to cover up? Not at the public beach. Women can wear what they like. But a Muslim woman who covers up whenever she leaves her home remains covered in ALL public places, even the beach, and they swim completely covered too.

  3. When you said kaak at the beach I was thinking it might be like Sydney beaches before they cleaned up the sewerage problem! Interesting to learn new things about your part of the world.

  4. What a great beach photo! I'd like to try the bread! That's some background view behind the beach!

  5. So interesting info about Beirut in your blog. I like this type of bread, only flour, water and salt and the smell of the stove.
    As there is no sea in the picture, I imagine that the bread seller is looking at the sea mirages:-)

  6. mmmm I love that Kaak. I'm from north Lebanon, they mostly sell the ones without handles there, and put in them just bright red Summac mixed with salt.

    I live back in the states now, but I lived in Akkar, Lebanon 2003-2006. My husband was a police officer in the rapid intervention taskforce, after Hariri got killed everything started to go downhill. I left a month before the Israeli bombing started and my husband was still there working through out the war. He came to the states not long after that. He wants to move back to Lebanon, but I don't know if I'll ever be ready for that.

    Sorry for writing so much, I just felt we had some things in common and I love looking at your pictures :)

  7. Yes! Summac is available in Beirut too.

    We had only lived in Beirut for three months when Hariri's assassination changed everything. When we left I was sure I never wanted to return, but here we are and I love it here and I really hope that the peace we have now will stay with us. But there are rumors and speculations never end and everyone says it's only a matter of time. I hate talk like that.

    Thanks for sharing a bit of your history. And you know, I'm sure your gorgeous cookies would be a hit here!

  8. This is a good post, both for what it says and for the comments. Yours is such a valuable blog.

    But tell me, why does that bike have a small front wheel and a larger rear wheel?

  9. Thanks, Julie.

    I guess the front wheel is sized like that so that the seller's wares will fit below eye-level when riding the bike. That's my best guess.

  10. Hah! Had not considered that.