Alex: The joys of having such a diverse group of friends is that I have been introduced to an array of different food cultures but for this post, I will be thanking one person in particular my very good friend Claudia (better known as “Khalbeh”), who is of Lebanese descent. In the many years that I have known her she has attempted to teach me very basic Lebanese, like “how are you?”, or more importantly, “Can we get the bill?” but after ridiculous failed attempts I just stick with “Shu”. Anyway…I’m blessed to have Claudia in my life because she has introduced me to traditional middle eastern dishes like Sambousek, Kebeh kbeb, fried lebanese bread that I cannot pronounce or even spell and now, my new weakness…’Knafeh’.
Knafeh Bakery, is a mobile bakery that is run from inside a redesigned shipping container by a family of three siblings and their lovely mother. The place is designed with creative light fixtures, a simple colour scheme and fantastic ‘street art’.
I’ll get to the good stuff in a second, but can I just mention how large the crowd was. From when I got there till the time that I had left there were lines and people continuously flocking from all different directions! The atmosphere around the bakery was so chilled, even while people waited for their little bowls of heaven, they had the Middle Eastern music pumping and all the brothers were very welcoming and bubbly to every customer. It was nice to see how much pride they take in what they are doing.
And now, to explain what knafeh actually is. I’m not going to lie, it took Claudia a good 10 minutes to explain what it was because I just didn’t understand. “So it’s a creme brûlée? No wait, so is it dessert or savoury?” Ahh, bless my poor little head.
From what I understood, knafeh is a traditional dish that originated from Jerusalem (thanks to the big honking sign on the back of the shipping container). A traditional filling for knafeh is Ashta, which is a clotted cream that floats on top of fresh milk when you boil it and then give it time to cool. Once it is cooled it is mixed with a little sugar and orange blossom water. There is also a cheese knafeh (the one that Claudia terribly explained) and then the knafeh that was available at this hotspot. ‘Mumma Nabila’s’ knafeh is quite a lighter take on the two traditional versions.
it is rich and velvety with a subtle flavour, dangerously moreish, served warm and incredibly fresh.
Drown in it in the many bottles of the sugar syrup that are on hand, and voila!
For our first order we were given “#smilz” obviously because we’re a bunch of bloody hilarious people and were delirious at how excited we were to try the middle eastern dessert but I don’t muck around, my next order needed some ForFoodsSake luvin!
A very successful first attack at my new favourite middle eastern dessert.
Until next time! (and I mean that seriously, because I forgot my camera)
*Knafeh Bakery just finished their run in Strathfield, EDIT: They can now be found at ‘BATMAN WALK, Parramatta, 70 Macquarie Street.