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beirut-ka'k vendor copy

Ka’keh is the quintessential Lebanese street food. Vendors have them precariously strung on various structures which they fit on their bicycles and wheel along the corniche or regular streets. No one ever makes them at home but after I recently got into a twitter conversation with a lebanese tweep about ka’keh and how we’d both love it if we could have some here, I decided to see if I could replicate them at home.

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mooncakes-box close up copy

I should have people over for lunch every day. Well, perhaps every week. I just had a super lunch party. Friends came from all over, Honk Kong, New York, Putney, Fitzrovia, Hampstead, Dalston and Sussex and each came with one or more wonderful present: chocolates from l’Artisan du Chocolat, spicy peanuts from Beijing (the best ever), a special red rice from Dimen village (will write about it and Joanna, Ken and uncle Kit in a separate post), beautiful jars of fried garlic, lovely wine, and the most amazing mooncakes from Honk Kong.

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There are many places I return to whenever I visit Aleppo. I go at least once to have ful medammes at Hajj Abdo. I stay at Yasmeen d’Alep, and if I am not, I make a point of going there to sit in their peaceful courtyard and have a chat with the lovely owners Badeeh & Hannadi Qudsi; and I always walk up to Sahet el Hatab in Jdaydeh at around 9 am to watch the pita bread being made and then spread right on the pavement to cool before being packed. The process, as you can see from my not so great clip, is fully automated, from kneading the dough, to dividing it, to rolling it out (first into ovals, then into perfect circles), to putting it in the oven, to taking it out of the oven and sending it to the sales window or the packing floor, with the loaves going from one place to the other on a conveyor belt. The only thing that is not automated is placing the dough into the dividing machine and then packing the bread.

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ka'ket k'nafeh-wrapping copy

Every time I visit Beirut, I have to have various dishes including ka’ket k’nafeh which is one of my favourite breakfasts, a luscious cheese pie drenched in sugar syrup then stuffed into a sesame galette the inside of which is also drenched in sugar syrup. An insanely delicious sweet sandwich that clocks in at more than a thousand calories a bite!

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