Bearded brother bakers, from left, Ameer “AJ” and Joey El-Issa, at the Knafeh Bakery are attracting hundreds of people a night to their eat their Jerusalem street food dessert. Photo: Wolter PeetersIt is a pop-up bakery housed in an old shipping container surrounded by a few milk crates for customers to sit on.
But this makeshift outlet has become one of the hottest food trucks in town and it is attracting thousands of people from different backgrounds and religions to eat its “Jerusalem street food”.
It is the creative idea of Ameer El-Issa and his Palestinian family who now live in Sydney It grew out of a need to keep up with the high demand for the popular dessert, knafeh, at the family’s cafe Shisha Bar and Grill in Croydon Park.
As soon as it opened people started flocking to the bakery. Ameer said they are getting 2000 to 3000 customers a night.
“The response has been amazing,” Ameer told The Sun-Herald.
“It is bringing all types of people together. Our family is Palestinian Christian but we have Muslims baking here with us.”
“Knafeh is loved all over the Middle East. It is one of the region’s symbolic desserts and the love for it transcends all races and religions and cultural backgrounds,” he said.
“We feel so blessed that because it is one of those rare projects that is so powerful and such a different experience it is bringing people together.
“We get hipsters foodies, designers, oldies and the later in the night it gets – the younger the clientele gets.”
Knafeh is a Middle Eastern sweet cheese or cream dessert, topped with pistachios and drizzled with sugar syrup. It varies from region to region in the kinds of cheese or cream used. In Lebanon it is often eaten for breakfast sandwiched in a sesame seed bun.
The knafeh being served from the food truck is from a recipe from Ameer’s mum, Nabila, whose family comes from Yaffa. Ameer said it is a light mixture of cheese and cream and it is the sort of knafeh that people would eat in the streets of Jerusalem where his father was born.
The bakery is mobile and sets up somewhere different in Sydney every weekend. Ameer said they will launch Knafeh bakeries in Melbourne and Brisbane within the next few months. Love photography? Join our photo club Clique. Find out more.
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