Four Sweets You Must Try in the Old City of Nablus
By Malak Hasan
The old city of Nablus is by far one of the most vibrant and exciting destinations in the Nablus area. We can never get enough of it, not only because the old city’s market is the place to meet locals and learn about life in Palestine as you shop for produce and needed life necessities, but also because it is the perfect destination for travelers like us who have a soft spot for delicious street food.
Whenever we think of Palestinian sweets, the city of Nablus comes to mind. A running joke between Bisan and me is that Nablus should be officially declared the capital of sweets in Palestine. From the early morning hours, all the shops are open, including the sweets shops, and everyone is busy preparing delicious sweets for passersby, both locals and visitors. One might wonder how anyone could eat sweets first thing in the morning, but in Nablus you simply won’t be able to resist.
While of course you can find all types of sweets in other Palestinian cities, we just think they taste different when we eat them in Nablus while standing on the side of a street under the windows of the city’s old homes. So without further ado, here are four sweets you must try on your sweets tour in the old city of Nablus.
Knafeh is a pastry that is layered or filled with white goat cheese, soaked in a sugar syrup flavored with rose water, and topped with ground nuts such as pistachios. There are many shops in Nablus where you can eat this delicious sugary sweet, but we always find ourselves heading in the direction of Al-Aqsa Sweets in the old city. We recommend this place because you get to see firsthand how knafeh is made.
Knafeh in pita sounds like it would taste the same but believe us when we say it is a totally different experience. We heard about knafeh in pita a while ago and when we finally decided to give it a try we were impressed. We stopped at a bakery right next to Al-Aqsa Sweets and bought freshly baked pita bread. And instead of eating the knafeh with a fork, we ate a knafeh sandwich. It was delicious and so hearty that it kept us full all day.
Tamriyeh is a dough that is stretched into a very thin sheet until almost transparent. It is then sliced into squares and filled with a generous amount of light semolina sweet pudding. Each square is folded and flattened and then fried in hot oil. Crispy on the outside, doughy and light on the inside, this sweet is guaranteed to leave you smiling.
Halawit zalabiya is famous for its triangular shape. The dough is stretched into a thin sheet and then fried in hot oil. It’s sprinkled with nigella seeds and topped with a scoop of candied butternut squash. The flat piece of bread is then rolled to make a delicious sandwich that you can bite into right away.
There are many other famous sweets such as awameh (sweet dumplings), qatayef (crescent-shaped stuffed sweets), burma (rolled knafeh) and so many others that we cannot even list them here! We highly recommend that you pay a visit to Nablus. Remember to have a light dinner the night before so that you can fully enjoy this sugary food tour in the old city.
Malak Hasan and Bisan Alhajhasan are the founders of Ahlan Palestine, a travel blog that promotes tourism in Palestine. You can follow their adventures and learn about Palestinian cuisine by visiting their social media platforms