This Refugee-Run Catering Company Cures Homesickness With Hummus

On a current afternoon in a kitchen within the Long Island City community of Queens, chef Diaa Alhanoun drizzled olive oil over creamy hummus and garnished it with pita bread.

Diaa grew up in Syria. There, he barbecued meats and crispy kibbeh, or potato croquettes, which can be stuffed with minced pork, onion, spices, along with his circle of relatives and buddies. He picked up the competencies from a cook in his uncle’s eating place in his fatherland, Da, Mascus.

“When I devour, or I prepare dinner Syrian food, I don’t forget when I changed into younger,” he said in this week’s episode of the Bite podcast. “When I was very young, my mother cooked Syrian food. I won’t forget most of these moments when I make it now.”


Before the disaster in Syria began, Diaa turned to Sudan with his family, looking to release an eating place. But while he desired to leave, he couldn’t return to Syria because the war had begun. So he went to Jordan as an alternative, questioning whether the war might stop quickly and whether he could return to Damascus. He waited four years in Jordan as a refugee before coming to America in 2016. He now lives in Staten Island with his wife, son, and daughter.

According to information from the United Nations Refugee Agency, 12 million Syrians had been forcibly displaced at the end of 2016. That’s more than half of the United States of america’s populace.

In New York City, Diaa continues to cook Syrian meals through a catering organization known as Eat Offbeat, which employs refugees resettled within the city as cooks.

Manal Kahi, co-founder and CEO of Eat Offbeat, says her enterprise began with a yearning for hummus. After coming to New York City from Lebanon in 2013 to attend graduate faculty at Columbia University, Kahi quickly realized she didn’t like the hummus on American supermarket cabinets.

So Kahi made her hummus based on her grandmother’s recipe. Her brother, Wissam Kahi, encouraged her to sell it. This changed amid the Syrian refugee crisis in their domestic usa of Lebanon.

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