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Supermarkets, Mini Markets, and Delivery

Most stores, supermarkets and restaurants accept payment in debit card or credit card. They will always ask you if you prefer the amount to be take out in “dollars or Lebanese” (“dolar aw lebnene” in Arabic). This is because both currencies can be used in Lebanon. The following is a table that you can study or memorize for quick conversion between dollars and Lebanese. Major supermarkets are available in Lebanon, and you’ll be able to find just about everything you might need. Some of the bigger chains are Spinney’s and Carrefour. For specialty items, look for a Spinney’s signature story (there is one Downtown Beirut). There’s also a large Spinney’s branch located in Dbaye. If you’re specifically looking for American home goods and products, you can take a look at Wesley’s. All items are directly imported from the United States. This means that they’ll be a bit costlier, however it is a good place to find things such as environmentally friendly cleaning products, as well as food items available in bulk. If you’re living closer to the Broumana area, you’ll also find some newer eco-friendly markets where you can shop for home goods.

In addition to the supermarkets, all neighborhoods typically have what’s known as a dekan. A dekan is basically a mini market, and most often the produce that’s available is local and very fresh. Another nice thing about these mini markets is that you get to know the owners if you’re a frequent visitor, and this helps with integration into the community, as local business owners tend to have a vast knowledge about where to find everything you need, including electricians, plumbers and cleaning services. Lastly, most home stoves and ovens operate on gas. If you need a purchase a large can of gas, or exchange your empty can for a full one, this can all be taken care of at the dekan.

One aspect about shopping in Lebanon that may surprise a new resident is the delivery culture. Just about anything under the sun can be delivered to your door, and it is very common to order delivery—even for things such as common household items, toiletries, and alcoholic beverages. All you need to do are two things: 1. Find out which businesses deliver what sorts of things in your area. 2. Know how to explain where you live for the delivery driver. The latter can be a bit more difficult if your building is not well known, but the good news is that the delivery drivers are so well-experienced that they always find your place. If you’re not comfortable talking on the phone, you can also download some phone apps such as zomato, toters and onlivery for restaurant food orders, or the Markit app for supermarket food orders. Just be sure that your residence is within the delivery perimeters, and you’re good to go! The apps also allow you to pay by card or by cash, and are a nice option if you can’t find a convenient time to leave home or just want to enjoy an evening in with some delicious take-out.
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