Jordan’s most celebrated dessert: kunafa

Heaven is hard to find, but well worth it.
Heaven is hard to find, but well worth it.

You can’t visit Amman, Jordan without tasting freshly baked kunafa at Habibah Downtown. (Or knafeh, or kanafeh – count the different fillings, count the different spellings!)

It’s hard to describe the golden dessert to you. Some say it’s the middle eastern version of a cheese danish. The salty sweet combination of crispy vermicelli-like pastry with soft melted goat cheese, topped with finely chopped pistachios…mmm…a bite of heaven!

Habibah Sweets is one of Amman’s oldest sweet shops. Cramped and without seating, it is hidden in a side lane by the Arab Bank and is usually crowded late into the night. Kunafa is a social activity here.

The Habibah story goes all the way back to 1947 in Jerusalem. Al-Haj Mahmoud Habibah started his first shop then, offering one of Jordan’s most sought-after desserts.

P/s: When you’ve had your fill, don’t forget to look out for the Roman amphitheater, cut into the side of a hill in then-Philadelphia just a few sandstone blocks away from Habibah Downtown.

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