What is Banak?

Posted by Mark


A friend emailed me while I was in Beirut asking if I could help him out with something. For awhile now he’s been pondering what Banak really is and what its called in English. He did a bit of research online and all he found was another blog that was asking the same question. So does anyone know the answer?

Picture taken from COLoriya

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46 comments, add your own...

  1. Fonzy says:

    it has no name…. its like hommos…. in english.. it is also called hommos…. a friend of mine took some with her in the states and the airport secutiry didnt even know what it was, they wrote it down as “seeds”.

  2. M. J. Kout says:

    Then it remains banak until further notice..

  3. gilly says:

    omg one of the things i miss about kuwait, i love banak, such a mysterious snack sold on all jabriya roundabouts…i have no clue what they’re called in english, just like i have no clue what “thermos” is called, you know those yellow thingies that are sold with banak….

  4. K.TheKuwaiti says:

    Hommous is a dish made from chickpeas ..

  5. vampire says:

    great post mark,, lol

  6. Mark says:

    the yellow thingies are Termos

  7. anas says:

    Banak is Banak in Engish.. it’s a type of sea weed that the get from the persain/arabian gulf .. its found in Kuwait and Bahrain and i think in Iran as well ..
    It’s really REALLY BAD FOR THE TEEETH !!!

  8. anas says:

    some people say it comes from trees (im guessing so people don’t get discusted from it being sea weed ) all i know …is that they boil and clean it before they sell it .. and in the old days, they would step on it with their feet coz it was just easier to clean that way :P
    if you guys really want to know, i’ll o ask my grandparents :P theyshould know the facts ..
    oh and did i mention that THEY ARE REALLY BAD FOR THE TEETH!! And have 0 nutritional value!! (at least thats what my mother use to say)

  9. TwaiF says:

    there is banak Bolghari and Irani , Bolghari = Bulgaria

  10. Eddy says:

    sunflower seeds..,maybe???

  11. Thamer says:

    You know, just asking a banak seller after you buy some banak from him is a good start.

  12. Marzouq says:

    All I remember is that it was associated with teeth!

  13. dandoon says:

    i posted about this last year and the bloggers either thought it comes from seaweed or it grows on trees. i asked my dad and he said it grows on trees.

    i’m not entirely convinced though. i’ll need to see a banak tree to believe that!

  14. mee says:

    banak is a sea weed and not a plant as many people say ….mark do u like banak ?
    and yes its bad for ur teeth . and as soon as u finish the bag u will find all the crust or the “shells”..on the floor and on the coach :dhehe

  15. SWOS says:

    it grows on trees , in some places like Iran and Turkey. sizes and colors vary , some are light brown and some are dark. the Irani ones are usually the smallest, then the Bulgari (bulgarian) although the Bulgarian ones are bigger they are softer to crack, then comes the Turkish ones they are usually the hardest and biggest ones and mostly darker than the previous two.

    They also make pickles from them when they remove their shell (or whatever it is called) specially in Iran..

  16. Sheep says:

    i believe the seaweed thing.. cuz they are very salty.. and it does feel like they have seawater in them lol *shrugs*

  17. MEANBOY says:

    umm.. I dunno, Nuts?

  18. SWOS says:

    they r salty coz they are kept in plastic cases/boxes for like days in water (w/ salt) . then they are put into large plastic bags or cases to be sold.

  19. Abdullah says:

    and the mystery goes on…….!

  20. holla says:

    fuck banak. it’s a disguesting sandnigger only food.

  21. Maya says:


    I initially thought of water chestnuts but I think its gooseberry!

  22. Maneena Manaana says:

    I really have no idea about banak, but the yellow thingies (turmis) is a kind of beans and called lupini beans…

  23. MishMisha says:

    i asked the same question last year i think on my old blog.. i’m still curious to know what it’s called in english.. maybe we should name it ourselves and we could introduce it in the u.s and we’d get alot of money for introducing (insert name here) to the world.. ok i’m rambling :D

  24. JoJo says:

    It is a nut seed just like other nuts( almond,waulnut,etc ) except it is very small. The plant is a small bush.It is a land plant. It has a skin like all fresh nuts.The skin is removed by rubbing them agains each other ( previously with feet & sea water to make them salty ) now adays they are cooked to losen the skin (thus the water inside ) & then rubbed with sea salt for the salty taste (Ozmossis )
    No english name as they don’t have it. The one from Iran has better taste but deffinitly not good for your teath specially if not cooked well or dried up afer few day from buying

  25. stewart says:

    i think those are water chestnuts.. u boil them and peel the skin off and just have them right? didnt know they were bad for the teeth

  26. Equalizer says:

    OK, so far no has a goos answer because everything has a scientific name, once you find that you could easily find tons of information about it and its species. I hope a scientist sees this post!!

  27. anas says:

    holla: WTF ? SANDNIGGER ? how racist is that!!! ?? and what the FU** is ‘disguesting’ ???
    – LOOOOOOOOSER !!!!! –

  28. Joud says:

    oh the days of banak . . . and 3enchekak !

  29. SWOS says:

    stewart , they have a hard shell thingy , u don’t peel them off u have to crack them open with ur teeth..

  30. That’s what i called question with no answer :P … as vampire said great post mark ;)

  31. Fabio says:

    Sea Weed seeds, they come from the Arabian Gulf & Turkey. How about Angikak????(sp?) lol

  32. Abdullah says:

    3enchekak or Angikak is salted apple seeds as far as I know

  33. holla says:

    LOL i heard an anus speaking?

  34. Hamad says:

    BANAK originate from the costal towns and cities of persia. The history behind it s that sailor use to stock pile them on ther ships because it does not rot that easy. and for the person who Wrote bulghari, it doesnt mean its bulgairian, its just the term for the bigger ones its a farsi word

  35. Equalizer says:

    And we still don’t know what it is, apart from where it comes from.

  36. Feras says:

    Donkey food… ask the older people, they’ll tell you thats what they fed donkies..

  37. Hamad says:

    seaweed seeds, they step on it to get it out of the plant, ya step on it, with their bare feet. so ask whenever you buy banak if they used thier feet, or a machine

  38. pete says:

    man i miss banak, next time i visit that is all i am going to eat and shwerma and mushakal sandwiches

  39. mjkout says:

    i’m still waiting for a name ever since i posted that Q on my blog.. any luck here ?

  40. Bou Fahed says:

    Banak is allowed into the US, since it is cooked (boiled) and cannot be replanted. I have taken it through customs many times and did not have any issues after it is inspected.
    But I am still wondering what is the Iranian name for this seed?
    Or is anyone knows the english or scientific name?

  41. hh says:

    So what is the best technique for eating banak?

  42. Taha says:

    Banak are seeds from a tree.. you sometimes get twigs in the bag along with the banak. I was just in Kuwait and picked up 10 bags to bring back to Canada. The customs guy asked what I had and I told him they were seeds that were eaten as a snack. He just wanted to know if they could be planted and I said no.

    The best way to eat them is to cradle them between 2 of your molars (your back teeth) and apply pressure gradually until it cracks, then move the two halves apart and get the inside out and enjoy. If you break the the inside along with the outside into two halves, use your incisor to splinter the half further and get the inside part out.


  43. Robert says:

    Banak is the common name for a Central American, medium-large, tropical forest tree of the Genus: Virola, species: koschnyi often growing to 100′ in height, and having a trunk diameter of up to 40″. It has the very unusual property where, if a cut is made through the bark, the sap that flows is the color of blood. The tree has medicinal properties, and is the subject of much study in the scientific/medical community.

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