Monday, November 29, 2010

Breakfast in Nablus

Vendors were beginning to display their wares as I slipped into the morning markets of Nablus. Bypassing baskets of spices and stacks of tomatoes and ducking often to avoid scarves hanging from awnings, I soon stumbled across a vendor surrounded by a crowd.

Wedging my way in-between shopkeepers, farmers, and students, I joined the clamor and dropped shekels into his palm in exchange for a plastic cup of thick, Arabic coffee.

As I reached for my coffee, I noticed the circular pans of my favorite Palestinian dessert in a shop next door.  

Men sat crowded around flimsy plastic tables pushed up against walls lined with cracked tiles. Each had a slice of orange pastry oozing out toward the edges of the plate.

Crunchy and sweet on the outside mixing with the rancid sourness of the Palestinian cheese inside, knafeh is said to have originated in Nablus. Served as a dessert, but often available as a breakfast treat, its taste is a pleasantly acquired one.

These shops--set deep into walls of Jerusalem stone--are where locals often congregate around a precariously placed television set as bakers slides circular pans of knafeh in and out of the oven.

Balancing coffee and plate, I found a cracked plastic chair at a crowded table. Men moved to accommodate me without shifting their gaze from the television. As I took my seat, I fell into ranks with my tablemates, shoveling spoonfuls of knafeh into my mouth as fuzzy images flickered across the screen. 


  1. Lovely. You really took me there. Very evocative. Good luck!

  2. Love this post. I can totally picture it too!

  3. Lovely descriptions - food and scene. Excellent entry!

  4. Thank you all for your wonderful comments! Very much appreciated! :)

  5. I am awake and can smell the coffee. Your post has inspired me to seek out some knafeh.
    Good luck with your excellent entry!

  6. @John, Thanks for the comment! And I definitely recommend seeking out some knafeh. It's the perfect compliment to a cup of coffee!