Suha Najjar is on the ground in the Gaza Strip and taking full advantage of the sweet little knafa war that can be found there.
Knafa, which I take to be the Palestinian national dessert, is known around the world in the form that was first perfected in Nablus: one layer of fine orange noodle shreds or packed semolina on top of a layer of Nabulsi cheese. Admittedly, it makes for an excellent treat that draws attention and praise from Arab communities anywhere in the world.
But Gaza’s knafa, aptly named Knafa ‘Arabiya or Arabian Knafa, is a friendly rival to the Nabulsi knafa we know so well. This knafa is brown not orange and it lacks cheese. I can’t be sure if I even know what it’s made of but I do know that I have a personal preference for it. Although not as sweet as Nabulsi knafa, the more-wholesome flavor strikes the senses harder and, to many, offers a brief stint of normalcy in Gaza’s besieged reality.
Here’s a photograph taken by Suha. Nabulsi knafa is on the left and Gaza’s knafa is on the right. Which would you hail as the knafa king?