House of Lebanon featured in May 7 Ethnic Food Festival at Balboa Park

House of Lebanon representatives Marwan Balka, Rania Hallal ,Ghada Kadri, Suzanne Azzam , George Azzam and Fahd Bishar.
(Ghada Kadri)

The 40th annual Ethnic Food Festival will return to Balboa Park on Sunday, May 7, offering a chance to explore the culinary treats of different cultures and enjoy performances from the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages. The event takes place from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

One of the groups participating in this year’s festival is the House of Lebanon, of which Rancho Santa Fe residents Ghada Kadri and George Azzam are passionate members of the board. With the all-volunteer organization, they are working to represent and preserve Lebanese customs, traditions and language for generations to come.

Kadri is a chair of the event committee for the House of Lebanon, along with Rania Hallal and Suzanne Azzam. The committee has helped plan food fest offerings such as authentic fare from San Diego eateries like Micho’z Fresh Lebanese Grill and Mama’s Bakery Lebanese Deli.

Micho’z will be serving chicken shawarma sandwiches, Kafta (meatball), rice, fattoush salad, hummus and spinach pie.

Mama’s Bakery will be using the authentic Saji, an ancient oven still used today throughout much of the Mediterranean, to make hot Manoushe Za’atar (Lebanese flatbread) with cheese and vegetables. Lebanese baklava sweets will be served up for dessert.

House of Lebanon will also offer a live performance at 2 p.m. with Sabine Naber, Myrna Fattouh (owner of San Diego’s Cafe Athena) and Tala Baroudi leading a group singing classic songs by Lebanese musical icon Fariuz. They will also do the Dabke, a Lebanese folk dance, with students from St. Ephrem Church.

The event is free to enter but suggested donations for dishes will go back to the nonprofit House of Lebanon. As House of Lebanon is one of the newer members of the House of Pacific Relations, their goal is to one day have a cottage all their own where they can display, promote and share their history and culture with the community.

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