Apparently, there are more Lebanese people in Australia than there is in Lebanon, and a whole lot of Lebanese restaurants, too. One Lebanese YouTuber made it his mission to introduce us to our fellow Lebanese in Melbourne, and they are just what you’d expect Lebanese immigrants to be.
They are witty, passionate, friendly, generous, and full of jokes. They absolutely love their homeland and are super excited whenever they get to meet another Lebanese person and, most of all, they are hard-working, successful, and true to their roots.
This YouTuber is Lebanese Anthony Rahayel, a dental surgeon by profession, but his true mission is to prove that Lebanon is the best country in the world. He founded Lebanon’s street food market ‘Souk El Akel’ and won the award of ‘World Street Food Blogger of 2019’.
His No Garlic No Onions blog, YouTube channel, and social media accounts are all about showing the world the real Lebanese genius and creativity when it comes to food making.
Anthony Rahayel was invited to Melbourne, Australia, by a fellow Lebanese. The latter is Claude from Hadchit, Lebanon. Even though Claude was born in Australia, he owns a Lebanese restaurant in Melbourne called Rivoli. Anthony and Claude didn’t know each other and have never met before the trip.
Claude just loves Lebanese people; he saw Rahayel’s work and passion for Lebanese food and decided to invite him over to Australia so he can introduce him and the world to the Lebanese there and their great achievements.
Claude made sure that Anthony stayed in a hotel owned also by a Lebanese man, Mazen. This hotel is the Royce Hotel and is one of the most famous in the area. His first night in Melbourne, Anthony was also invited to a Middle Eastern Cuisine restaurant that has been open since 1976, ZUROUNA (meaning: Visit Us).
The next day, the YouTuber visited A1 Bakery, open since 1882. It sells all Lebanese products, has all Lebanese employees and decoration, and makes all sorts of Lebanese pizzas and pies. His next stop was Tabet’s Bakery, a 30-year-old Lebanese bakery in Australia.
A post shared by A1 Bakery (@a1bakery) on Feb 23, 2020 at 7:56pm PST
We also got introduced to Balha’s Pastry, an all traditionally made Lebanese sweets shop owned by Raed Arnous from Tripoli. Ammar El-Sidawi owns a nuts factory and supplies local restaurants and hotels; they use traditional machines and recipes in their manufacturing.
Al-Alamy, Zaatar, Sesame n’ Soul, Cedar, Franco & Co, Radwan Bakery, The Flavours of Lebanon, Manoush, Mankousae, and Patony Pizza are all bakeries that give the Australians a taste of the real Lebanese Manouche.
There are also Shisha places, like Arabica Lounge. Hawkers is a very successful beer factory owned by, you guessed it, a Lebanese! Mazen Hajjar named his award-winning brand after the profession of the first Lebanese group in Australia.
Abla’s is one of the oldest and most famous Lebanese restaurants in Australia, run by a Lebanese family and the chefs are two Lebanese women, Fairuz and Ibtisam. The business was started by the mother, Abla Amad, who used to entertain Lebanese people at her own home every weekend before opening her own place.
Oasis is also a huge business selling Lebanese products and food. Anthony then visited the Lebanese Islamic Museum in Australia, an educational museum that introduces the world about Arabic and Islamic culture.
The list goes on; there’s Madina, a Lebanese owned butcher shop and Shawarma places like Shawarmaster. Royal Stacks, Big Boys Pizza, D’lish Fish, 300 Grams, Dribbles, are all Lebanese owned fast-food restaurants.
There’s also a lot of Lebanese with a twist fine dining restaurants like Bar Saracen, El Corniche, Tahini, Rumi, Mama Manoush, Byblos, and many, many more.
Riverview Cafe is a pastry shop in Melbourne owned by Al-Daher family. Aside from restaurants, bakeries, and cafes, Anthony also shows us several other Lebanese factories specializing in coffee, cheese, condiments, Lebanese frozen food, etc.
A post shared by Anthony Rahayel (@nogarlicnoonions) on Mar 2, 2020 at 3:07pm PST
Plus, we got to see unique places that people thought they could only find in Lebanon, like Falafel El-Mina, Sweet Inspirations, Zeytoune and Qasr El-Helo (Lebanese sweets), as well as fruit cocktails shops.
At the end of his trip, the Lebanese community in Melbourne organized a big farewell evening for Anthony, attended by hundreds of people originating from all over Lebanon like Tripoli, Beirut, Bekaa, you name it. It really is another Lebanon over there!
Anthony Rahayel met a lot of Lebanese people along the way in Melbourne, some who came specifically to see him and some he came across in some cafe smoking shisha and playing cards.
Many people who came to see Anthony brought their Lebanese flags with them, and told him to say hi to Lebanon and the Lebanese people for them when he goes back. He was treated and welcomed with open arms. A Lebanese pilot even offered Anthony a helicopter ride over the city!
Anthony Rahayel’s message was well delivered in this series, food really does bring Lebanese people together, and Lebanon is the best country in the world and its people are awesome!
The series is kinda long but really worth it, check it out to see the Lebanese hospitality and all the success stories.