One of the best parts of exploring the food truck scene in Denver is getting the chance to taste dishes from cuisines that often don’t have a big presence in brick-and-mortar restaurants. Such is the case at Laziz Ya Lebanese
(translation: Delicious Lebanese Food).
Originally from Lebanon, Siham Halime made the decision to move to Colorado more than three decades ago. After losing her job in 2008, she traveled back to Lebanon for a brief period, during which she focused on her love for cooking, quickly becoming a professional baker.
But when she returned to Colorado, she desperately missed the food of her home country. “I visited pretty much every restaurant open in Colorado called Mediterranean food or Lebanese cuisine, and I didn’t find a place where I can say, ‘Oh, my God, that’s so good, I can remember back home,’” Halime recalls. “So, that’s what made me think, I want to do that, and I want people to really try the real Lebanese food. ... So pretty much what you are eating here on my truck is exactly what you eat in Lebanon if you visit.”
After gaining experience catering for friends’ weddings and family engagements, Halime opened Laziz Ya Lebanese in 2018. It's a true family-owned and -operated business: She enlists the help of her sons, who often work the grill, while her daughters work as cashiers and manage the menus. “I’m the only one that actually prepares the food. ... These are family recipes from my mom, and everything is made from scratch,” she notes.
Chicken shawarma with toum is owner Siham Halime's favorite dish.
Halime takes pride in preparing her food fresh each day, which is evident in her favorite dish, chicken shawarma. “I marinate the thinly sliced chicken a day before,” she explains. “I combine the chicken with lemon juice, yogurt, cardamon, tomato sauce, toum, olive oil and other spices.” The result of her careful preparation is tender, juicy and flavorful chicken.
But the best part of the dish is the toum that’s served alongside. Often referred to as Lebanese garlic sauce, toum uses garlic as an emulsifier (unlike mayo, for example, which uses eggs), resulting in a creamy, potent sauce that is more than just a condiment in Lebanese cuisine. “I love garlic, and when you spread the sauce on the chicken shawarma, it intensifies the flavor of the dish,” Halime nots.
In addition to chicken shawarma, Laziz Ya Lebanese serves various Mediterranean staples, including kafta kabob, beef shawarma and falafel, along with traditional side dishes like hummus, baba ghanouj, tabbouleh and fattouch. For dessert, Halime’s professional baking skills shine through in her traditional baklava.
Don't skip dessert.
As the truck approaches its four-year anniversary on August 28, Halime has plans to expand and improve existing operations. “We’re more popular now, and a lot of people want us everywhere,” she says. “I plan to open another food truck so that I can schedule for that and not have to say no to anybody.”
While opening another food truck will allow the family to schedule more events, Halime admits that there is room for improvement, especially when it comes to helping hungry customers find the truck’s location. “I’m not that good on social media,” she admits. “I want to start learning more. I’m going to try to be good and say our location on a weekly basis. We are in a different place every day because we do a lot of events. ... We just did a wedding in Grand Junction and one in Estes Park. We are everywhere.”
In addition to following the truck on social media, the best way to find its location is through the Truckster app