BEIRUT: Lebanon successfully made three entries in the Guinness Book of Records over the weekend for the largest plate and the largest plates of hummus and tabbouleh. The “Hummus and Tabbouleh are 100 percent Lebanese” festival took place on Saturday and Sunday at Saifi Market in Downtown Beirut. Thousands attended the two-day event marking Lebanon’s attempt to claim the two dishes.
The dishes were prepared under the watch of Guinness adjudicator Tallal Omar by 250 sous chefs from the Kafaat catering school. The 50 chefs were led by the famous Lebanese chef and culinary figure Ramzi Choueiri.
The first attempt for the largest hummus dish reached an incredible 2056 kilograms, shattering the previous record of 362.8 kilograms set in New York in 2006. The tabbouleh dish weighed in at an even more astonishing 3557 kilograms, which surpasses Israel’s previous record of 2359 kilograms.
Both dishes were prepared in the world’s largest plate designed by Lebanese engineer Joseph Kabalan which was designed to hold over 3 tons.
The event was organized by the International Fairs and Promotions group (IFP), along with the Association of Lebanese Industrialists (ALI) and the Industry Minister Ghazi Zaiter.
The event was held to affirm the origins of the dishes after the ALI’s claim that the specialties are sold internationally as Greek or Israeli dishes, undermining the cultural originality of the dishes and causing huge losses for the Lebanese economy.
At the event, Ghazi Koraytem, president of the Syndicate of Lebanese Food Industries called for the international recognition and registration of the dishes as being Lebanese in origin.
The festival, which attracted thousands of people to Saifi Market, was set up to include many stalls from Lebanese caterers and artisans. Famous presenter Michel Azzi acted as the master of ceremonies for the event, keeping the crowd lively and amused throughout the various stages of the record attempts.
At the event Azzi said: “We wish that the Lebanese could share this sense of unity all the time in all endeavors.”
At times the security struggled to keep the enthusiastic audience back away from the giant dishes. Mona, from Beirut, said: “This is an important issue to the Lebanese. If Israel attempts to break the record again, we will keep breaking it and prove that these dishes are Lebanese.”
The ALI has claimed their case is similar to the European Union court ruling in 2002 that ruled feta cheese to be Greek.
Geographical appellation rights exist for sparkling wine from the French Champagne region and Scotch whisky, and according to ALI, Lebanon should be able to patent hummus and tabbouleh dishes.