Beirut Lebanese chefs prepared a massive plate of hummus weighing more than two tons Saturday that broke a world record organizers said was previously held by Israel — a bid to reaffirm proprietorship over the popular Middle Eastern dip.
“Come and fight for your bite, you know you’re right!” was the slogan for the event — part of a simmering war over regional cuisine between Lebanon and Israel, which have had tense political relations for decades.
Lebanese businessmen accuse Israel of stealing a host of traditional Middle Eastern dishes, particularly hummus, and marketing them worldwide as Israeli.
“Lebanon is trying to win a battle against Israel by registering this new Guinness World Record and telling the whole world that hummus is a Lebanese product, it’s part of our traditions,” said Fady Jreissati, vice president of operations at International Fairs and Promotions group, the event’s organizer.
Hummus — made from mashed chickpeas, sesame paste, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic — has been eaten in the Middle East for centuries. Its exact origin is unknown, though it’s generally seen as an Arab dish.
But it is also immensely popular in Israel — served in everyday meals and at many restaurants — and its popularity is growing around the globe.
Some 300 chefs were involved in preparing Saturday’s massive ceramic plate of hummus in a huge tent set up in downtown Beirut. The white-uniformed chefs used 2,976 pounds of mashed chickpeas, 106 gallons of lemon juice and 57 pounds of salt to make the dish, weighing 4,532 pounds.
It was not clear what the former Israeli record was, and organizers gave conflicting reports on when it was made.