any fan of baklava here?
some will say it’s too sweet. and some say they’re delightful drops of heaven to the palate. i will tell you this : if you felt that this arabic sweets is TOO sweet, you’ve tasted the wrong kind. a really good baklava should taste amazing, with just the right amount of sweetness.
the syrupy sweet honey would envelope the pistachio bits and ‘fillo dough’ pastry with perfect union. it’s sweet romance in every bite. ewah, dah macam iklan pulak.
the shop actually offered a plate of randomly selected baklava for a ‘taste-test’ before mr. khairul decided which to buy
looking at the title of this posting, i would like to state that i did not eat a basi baklava from 1881. ok, bad joke. mr. khairul got me this box of baklava from beirut, lebanon on his recent trip there – and the shop that made these baklava had been around since – you’ve guessed it – 1881. the shop is called ‘abdul rahman hallab & sons 1881’.
1881! gile lama!
it’s actually situated in another state in lebanon, called tripoli 85km north of beirut. the building looks amazing from outside, and even more beautiful on the inside – a reminiscence of old moroccan cafe, with a little hint of french---
ok fine! i don’t know architecture much ok. it’s beautiful. nuff said! haha.
anyways, a baklava recipe since 1881, huh? that’s gotta be one heck of a baklava to have lasted THAT long! it’s said that the baklava are hand-made, from the purest of ingredients.
* * *
now, it’s the inside that excites me the most when mr. khairul first showed me. it looked like a baklava factory in there! it was so wonderful seeing all those trays filled with freshly made baklava, ready to be packed and sold.
i don’t know about you, but this could be a little bit of willy wonka for the baklava world for me! not as extravagant, but still! pretty exciting!
there are seats there for patrons who wants their baklava there and then – could you imagine the freshness of the baklava that came out straight from the oven and into their mouth – heavenly!
my favorite type of baklava – called the ‘lady’s finger’ baklava – a popiah-like sweets made from a very thin and crispy pastry called ‘fillo dough’, with nuts and honey or sugary syrup inside. it’s smaller (i think the smallest of all baklava) and bite-sized so i could pop this for hours! haha. bahaya!
i also prefer those with pistachio than any other nuts.
mr. khairul said this was his favorite because it’s very compact and chewy – so all the flavor of the nuts, and dough, and honey just gels together in one delicious bite!
it was so cute that the ‘chefs’ were all so malu-malu at first when mr. khairul were given permission to enter their preparation area behind the counter. everyone was hunched up together at one corner, curiously eye-ing this malaysian tourist!
and then one brave soul stepped forward upon mr. khairul’s request – to pose for his camera. he even sportingly cut up a few baklava so mr. khairul could ‘catch’ him in ‘action’ candidly.
…and then, all of a sudden, the ‘pack’ started spreading out, and appeared more comfortable. everyone started to be more playful and happily posed for the camera with different kinds of ‘action’ of a normal working session. hihi. comel! mula-mula malu, pehtu over pulak! haha.
* * *
i’m very fortunate to be able to try the best baklava from lebanon, and the best from syria – and personally, i preferred the latter because syrian baklava are more crispier and that’s the way i like it. i’ve written about the baklava mr. khairul bought from syria – click here.
if you’re like mr. khairul and enjoy a more chewy baklava, you’d probably go for lebanese baklava. oh well, syrian or lebanese baklava – one is never enough…