Khalaf says his goals are to represent all the good things Syrians have to offer to their new home city. Even more, he wants Saruja to serve as a dining room for the homesick.
Food tells Syria’s history better than books that chronicle rulers and wars. Its land was part of the the birthplace of agriculture, and ruled by empires whose influence we can taste.
By importing foods Syrians need to feel at home, Al-Ahdab brings Syria to them, but even more, he brings them back to Syria. His shop in Istanbul smells, tastes and looks like Syria.
Listen to the winding tale of Salloura, a 150-year-old dessert institution from Syria, and the continued journey of Ahmed and Rashed from their hometown of Aleppo to rural Germany.
In Aleppo, became too dangerous to send people to work. “If something happened to [one of my employees] on his way to or from work...I bear the responsibility,” said As’ad Salloura.
It was late October, and, along with Ahmed and other friends from Salloura where they all had worked together, Rashed was at a processing camp for refugees for about two months.
“I have a deadline,” Ahmed said. “After two or three months, I will leave from here,” he announced to an empty dining room before his shift began. Ahmed was on the clock, always.
“It is betrayal,” As’ad Salloura declared from behind his giant wooden desk at the Salloura factory. It had been three months since he’d last seen Ahmed, Rashed and two others from his staff.
“I’ll refuse to get on a rubber dinghy…I’ll only ride a real boat,” Leila said. We reminded her to get proper life jackets for herself and the children; faulty ones had flooded the market.
Inspired by their enthusiasm for different food, the charismatic chef launched a cooking show called “Chef Wareef” on local TV to teach Gazans how to make favorites from Aleppo.