Our road trip around Central Turkey introduced us to many fabulous local foods. Desserts were always a highlight.We tasted fabulous icecream in Kahramanmaras and ate mouth watering baklava and katmer in Gaziantep.
Antakya is known to have the best künefe in Turkey so off we went in search of this delicious syrup soaked, sweet cheese pastry.
Where to find künefe in Antakya
Hidden in the alleyways of the local market, Uzun Carsi, we came across small shops making the long thin strands of kadayif pastry that are used in the making of künefe.
At Dalgaç, a little shop that caught our eye with its black and white tiles, we watched the dough being poured through a sieve onto a rotating plate. The strands were then gathered together and are ready for sale.
Our next stop was Çinaralti Künefe, known to serve the best künefe in Antakya. The shop is in a small courtyard off the main thoroughfare of the market. It’s not easy to find…look for the sign for the Ahmediye Camii or ask one of the friendly locals who will be only to willing to point you in the right direction. Once you see the plane tree that grows in the courtyard, you’ll know you’re in the right place!
Inside the shop, Yusef Usta supervises the making of the künefe. The kadayif is mixed with melted butter and a layer is put on the base of a circular pan. A soft white cheese from the area is crumbled over it before a final layer of kadayif is added. At Çinaralti Künefe it is cooked over coals though in some places it can be cooked in the oven. It is turned once before a rich sugar syrup is poured over the künefe. We requested ours to be served with a layer of pistachio on top but if you prefer, you can keep the crusty top bare.
Künefe is not just found in Turkey. In Jordan it is known as Knafeh and one of the best I had was at Habib Sweets in Amman. It is a Middle Eastern sweet so if you’re travelling to any countries in this region, try their local version. The name may vary slightly but the dish will be similar.
Have you tried künefe. If so where did you taste it?