Today, like once every other month, I stop at Abou Arab. The place has become very famous lately with dozens of shops around the country. Cleaner and sharper, this Kaak place is still the best Lebanon has to offer.
The positive things:
- Every portion is prepared in advance. The bag is opened and emptied on the kaaka. Same quality since they first opened.
- Kaak are fresh, produced a la minute.
- Staff now wears gloves and the place looks cleaner then it was couple years back.
My favorite mix:
- Picon and Kashkawan cheese combined; A melting cheese with another gooey one filled inside the thin and crispy kaaka covered with salt and sesame.
Written in 2013: Some might ask, how come I am reviewing a place that's as cheap as Abou Arab. Yes Abou Arab is not the cleanest place, to start with, yet serving traditional Kaak with various fillings that are amazingly delicious. Here's where I have to admit that I wouldn't mind having them every single day.
(Kaak: thin savory pastry bracelets, often flavored with aniseed or covered with sesame seeds.) Managed and owned by Syrians, Abou Arab has the best Kaak in Lebanon, not to say in the world. A simple piece of bread cooked with a secret recipe no one has replicated to date. A thin layer of bread covered with sesame seeds, adequately salted and cooked. Its not chewy and not overly baked-dry to crumble. The Picon cheese in the middle is exactly what this sandwich needs to make it perfect.
With every bite you will feel some salty notes massaging your lips before letting your tongue feel the crispy sesame seeds followed by the touch of the thin crust melting under your teeth... Chew a blend of bread and Picon cheese all together with a simplicity like no other. A magical mix that will activate all your taste buds.
Abou Arab is the number one Picon user in Lebanon with a quantity surpassing all your expectations. Waiting for my bread during a lapse of 15 minutes, 10 boxes of 10 pieces each were consumed... I'll let you do the math. Thousands of dollars daily in a street food corner. Dirty workers, dirty knives, dirty floors, no gloves, dirty thyme containers, paper wrapped cheese portions - not the least hygiene precautions are considered... these are just a few of the little details you will notice.
In addition to the traditional Picon, Abou Arab has also a choice of cheese, Beef ham and savory kaaks. No matter what, it is and will always be my favorite Kaak spot I urge you to try. If you want to avoid looking at the mess inside the place, I would suggest you send someone to get you the pieces - and enjoy them in the car on your way to one of Lebanon's main cities as Abou Arab has a branch in every strategic point around the country. Tabarja, Galerie Semaan, Damour or Alley, roads that connect major cities of Lebanon together.
Wherever you decide to taste it, be assured that the taste and quality will always be the same.