How Middle Eastern Bakeries Found A Place In America's Rust Belt
We're getting a taste of the melting pot and exploring the stories behind our multicultural food in the Newsy original series Americanize Me.By Noor Tagouri | October 6, 2016
Dearborn, Michigan, has one of the highest concentrations of Arabs outside the Middle East and North Africa region. So when you're looking for halawiyat, or Arabic sweets and pastries, this town is the place to be. In this episode of "Americanize Me," Newsy's Noor Tagouri met with a Palestinian-American and a Lebanese-American who both continue the traditions of their fathers, who brought sweet tastes of the Arab world to the states.
And what better way to get a slice of the homeland than with a piece of kanafa? Think of kanafa as the Arab version of a cheese danish. It's a pastry filled with stringy cheese or cream and soaked in a rosewater syrup or honey. At Masri Sweets, the recipe dates back generations. Khaldon Masri told us his family's story.
"My father was an accountant in Arizona. And after a while, he decided, 'I don't want to do this anymore; I want to do something else,' and he came back to his roots in Dearborn," Masri said. "So, when he came into the picture, he only had one thing in the back of his pocket: the kanafa. And everyone loved it. ... But it's getting the people's attention in what we make, you know, having a Palestinian in Dearborn back in the '80s ... you didn't see a lot of us. He developed a sense of home here. So now when you go anywhere in Dearborn and you ask, 'Where can I get the best kanafa?' ... they'll point to us."