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The Middle Eastern Dessert with An Unknown Background

by Dubaiforum

Knafeh, the popular Middle Eastern dessert, has origins that are as mysterious as they are delicious. While the dish can be found across the region, certain locales have strong connections to it that have helped shape its history and variations.

One such place is the Palestinian city of Nablus, which is renowned for its knafeh featuring local cheese. In fact, Nablus holds the world record for creating the largest knafeh ever recorded. Some even claim that Nablus is the modern birthplace of the dish, although this claim is hotly debated.

Turkey also has its own famous version of knafeh called künefe, originating from the country’s Hatay province. Here, the dish is made with a unique stretchy cheese and semolina dough instead of phyllo. The addition of lemon to the syrup gives the dish a refreshing tang. While different variations of knafeh can be found throughout Turkey, many people have a special fondness for the Hatay province’s rendition.

Despite the popularity of these two regional varieties, the true origins of knafeh remain elusive. Historians are unsure of the century in which the dish first appeared. Some believe it was created in the 10th century in what is now Damascus and enjoyed as a breakfast treat. Others attribute its origins to Egypt, with early versions appearing in the 15th century. Regardless of its exact beginnings, knafeh has stood the test of time and continues to be a beloved dessert.

In fact, the dish has even been reimagined in modern ways, such as a viral knafeh bar created by a chocolate maker in Dubai. With its rich history and enduring popularity, knafeh remains a symbol of Middle Eastern culinary tradition that captivates taste buds around the world.

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