KNOWN as the epitome of Mediterranean food because of its natural, fresh and nutritious dishes, Lebanese food is savory, and full of robust and earthy flavors. This is a result of the combination of sophistication, and fine distinction of Turkish, Arab and French cooking styles. Because of its rich taste and health benefits, people across the globe, including Cebu, are embracing authentic Lebanese food.
Lebanese chef Danny Baroud, who has been residing in the Queen City for four years now, serves authentic homemade Lebanese food—both freshly cooked and shelf products—through his brand named Ya Habibi.
Ya Habibi, a common expression used in Lebanon (which translates as “oh my love”) is an accumulation of Danny’s experience in his hometown’s kitchens for a decade, his experience working in commercial kitchens abroad, as well as recipes and personal favorites he had grown with, and recipes he learned from his mother who has been devoted to her kitchen in order to create amazing Lebanese food for family and friends.
“I have always been a lover of good food and passionate ever since about cooking. Since Cebuanos love eating too, I wanted to bring to Cebu’s food scene and food enthusiasts a fresh food experience for the locals with unique authentic and traditional Lebanese products that can be enjoyed from the comfort of their own home,” said Danny.
Recommended by Cebu-based registered nutritionist and dietitian Justinne Lou Go, Ya Habibi boasts of its 100 percent natural and no preservatives food products using fresh locally sourced and specific imported ingredients in each food item, which are currently plant-based or vegan.
Staples that should be in one’s grocery list for a healthier lifestyle include its Lebanese style hummus, made from carefully sourced chickpeas combined with both imported and fresh homemade ingredients that lasts up to four days when stored in the fridge; baba ganoush, a widely known Levantine appetizer made of mashed cooked eggplants mixed with tahini, and various seasonings; labneh, a thick tangy cheese spread produced over a three-day process that can last up to two to three weeks; toum, a naturally vegan and gluten free, fluffy, smooth and creamy garlic sauce; za’atar, a savory herb mix spread made from imported ingredients from Lebanon; and its well-loved guacamole made from fresh locally grown avocados, which is the only non-Lebanese item in its menu.
Ya Habibi also offers artisan vegan breads and vegan tortilla chips such as its pita pockets and flat breads, both of which can be stored inside the freezer and defrosted as needed for convenient meal preparation, as well as its tortilla chips.
Ya Habibi’s tahini, a condiment made from toasted ground hulled sesame, will also be available soon.
Each product is available in small and large sizes, and is available at Greenshelf Cebu in Banilad Town Center. Ya Habibi is also available online through Well & Good PH or through its social media pages: Ya Habibi Cebu.