Eggplant merchant in Sidon souk

June 3, 2012  •  Category:


He was calling out the crowd in Sidon’s ancient souk: ” Albak abyad ya aswad!” “Albak abyad ya aswad!”

Eggplant is called betenjane in Arabic but in Lebanese it goes by aswad, which is black in Arabic. The rhyme can be translated into the following:

Your heart is white O black! 

Meaning: Your pulp is white and has no seeds and you are delicious to eat.

It is also a play on a common expression in Arabic; when someone says “my heart is white”, it means I have no sin, I have good intentions, I am pure. The merchant was saying of his eggplant “you have a pure heart”, you are a great one!

Eggplant’s price is listed on the white sheet of paper: 1000L.L per kilo or 30 cents a pound.


11 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Mark Wisecarver says:

    Awesome! You are priceless for posting this, so beautiful. 🙂

  2. Belinda @zomppa says:

    What a great photo and a great proverb!

  3. Rosa says:

    Beautiful eggplants!



  4. Alfonso says:

    they look wonderful…wish I were there

  5. Chiara says:

    wonderful eggplant, are enormous !

  6. Christine @ Fresh says:

    I’ve never seen eggplants this plump and beautiful! Not even at the farmers markets. It is no wonder eggplants are so quintessential in Lebanese cooking.

  7. Claudia says:

    Wishing we had an eggplant merchant moseying down the streets. As it is, I will wait for my garden to flourish. And hope the insides are seedless and milky-white.

  8. Susan says:

    Wonderful photos and the saying is priceless! I love seeing photos of every day life there.

  9. Nuts about food says:

    Love those pictures and your description

  10. domi says:

    Délicieusement rafraîchissantes les photos de cet article….

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