Anthony Bourdain Had Some Of The Best Hummus In Lebanon

Lebanon is a hidden gem when it comes to tourism, which is something Anthony Bourdain was determined to highlight through his writings and travel show. In one of the most infamous episodes of "No Reservations," Bourdain finds himself in Beirut as the Israel-Lebanon War begins. But even during this dire situation, Bourdain had nothing but kind words to offer when discussing his experience.

"It was so much more sophisticated and tolerant and beautiful than I thought it was going to be, but much more importantly ... people are proud of their food and their culture and their country," he says in the episode.

There were many elements to this journey that Bourdain would never forget — among them, the hummus from Le Chef in Beirut. Le Chef is well known for its simple cultural dishes that offer a taste of Lebanese cuisine in a welcoming ambiance. Its hummus follows a straightforward, traditional recipe; the dish Bourdain tried featured a topping of pine nuts and ground lamb, elevating the Middle Eastern staple into a memorable bite for Bourdain. Sadly, Le Chef suffered damages in 2020 during the Beirut explosion, but reopened in four months, thanks to a fundraising campaign. Russell Crowe even donated $5,000 in honor of the late Bourdain, speeding up the rebuilding process and allowing for its iconic dishes, including hummus, to be served again.

Le Chef's hearty hummus featured additional toppings and spices

The hummus Anthony Bourdain enjoyed at Le Chef was topped with ample amounts of roasted pine nuts and ground, spiced lamb. A far cry from your typical packaged grocery store hummus, the dip is elevated by the array of textures and flavors; the addition of ground lamb brings a fresh, hot quality to the dip that pairs well with the cool, smooth texture of the blended chickpeas. The lamb also boasts its own seasonings, bringing in more traditional Lebanese flavors. The inclusion of these toppings allows the hummus to feel more like a whole dish rather than just a dip. While the hummus isn't necessarily the star of the meal when Bourdain eats it during the "No Reservations" episode, the elevated experience of the dish still cemented its spot as a must-order plate at Le Chef.

If you wish to elevate your hummus at home in a similar way, try making your own rather than opting for a pre-packaged version. That way, you'll have more control over the spices and can customize the texture of the dish to your liking. You can either use a Lebanese spice blend or make your own — typical Lebanese spices for the ground lamb might include cinnamon, garlic, cumin, coriander, allspice, sweet paprika, dried mint, and sumac. Add your toppings to your homemade hummus, and you'll have a dish inspired by the one Bourdain so enjoyed.