If you’ve ever had Palestinian food, you know how it feels to be on cloud nine! The delicious dishes like maqloobah, kunafa, mansaf, or simply olive oil and zaatar are not just loved by Palestinians. Then, there are beautifully-intricate embroidered textiles and clothes, colorful and expressive ceramics typical for Hebron, nurturing olive soap from Nablus, and olive wood carved into stunning objects. But where do you find these things in Qatar?
It’s estimated that Qatar is home to roughly 20,000 Palestinians who live in the diaspora. As Israel continually encroaches on and occupies Palestinian land, over 6 million Palestinians have been forced to seek refuge in neighbouring and even very far-flung countries. With them, the Palestinian people carry strength, resilience, dignity, and also their culture – enriching the world with traditions, cuisine, music, and handcrafted objects from the Holy Land.
Palestine is not only a place holy for Muslims, but also for Jews and Christians. And anyone who visits the country can only fall in love with it. Unfortunately, not all of us can travel freely to Palestine. Though, if Qatar is home to this many Palestinians, there surely exist a few places that can offer a little touch of Palestine – be it in the form of gifts, jewelry, and food.
I was recently faced with the challenge to find something Palestinian in Qatar and, sadly, there really wasn’t much information on where to go. Restaurants and shops all exist, but they just have to be found! Just for you – our ILQ community, we’ve made it our mission to find you the best Palestinian places in Qatar, so here they are!
(Photo credit: www.ardcanaan.com)
Ard Canaan is Palestinian restaurant in Katara Cultural Village, that has truly authentic food. Mansaf, musakhan, maqloobah, hummus, waraq ainab and many other Falastini delicacies are awaiting you here. Inside the restaurant, there’s also a small shop called Dukkan, where you can buy things like Palestinian spices, olive oil, and zaatar. Fun fact: in 2016, Qatar broke the Guinness World Record for the largest key in the world, which you can visit outside Ard Canaan.
(Photo credit: iStock by Getty Images)
Check out Al Meera and the Baladna Farm shops. You’ll find products from Palestine and the Levant like dried Jews mallow, which is used to make mulukhiya, a popular Palestinian dish. Also, look for olive oil, mariamiya (sage) and zataar (thyme) – all sourced from the Holy Land. Even some beauty products like Dead Sea scrubs, baths, and masks are often from Palestine!
(Photo credit: Khan Al Agha)
This shop is an incredible find! Located in Muntazah on Ibn Seena Street, you can find more than Palestinian things here. But ask the friendly owner for the Palestinian objects, and he’ll show you fabrics, home decorations, Palestinian thobes (dresses), and real antiques. The authentic, handmade objects come at a good price and are each more unique and gorgeous than the next. The owner, originally Palestinian himself, travels and gets shipments directly from Palestine, Syria, and Jordan.
(Photo credit: www.watanpalestine.com)
Born out of the diaspora is Watan, a shop dedicated to selling Palestine-inspired art and other objects. It’s also a space in which Palestinians learn about and explore their cultural and intellectual heritage. The Chicago-based shop supports Palestinian artists and handcrafters. Get décor, cards, posters, jewelry, phone cases, T-shirts, olive products, and custom Arabic calligraphy necklaces from here – purchased online and shipped to Qatar.
(Photo credit: Al-Maliha Qatar)
A Palestinian woman in the U.S. who has made fashion her business, also has a boutique in Qatar on Haloul Street. Apart from stunningly beautiful evening gowns, which can be worn to balls, weddings, galas, and anywhere glamourous, you can also find some great Palestinian thobes here. These valued dresses have history, a meaning behind the elaborate embroidered patterns, and are elegant and casual at once.
(Photo credit: Jeeran)
For a low-key night out, or lunch with luscious Palestinian food, try Jeeran on Salwa Road. It’s a family-friendly place that has all the greats of Palestinian cuisine. Everything is homemade with fresh ingredients. It’s a little culinary trip through the hills of Palestine.
(Photo credit: Anat)
Another recent happy find in Qatar, has been Anat, a small shop in Building No. 5 in Katara. If you love traditional Palestinian embroidery, this is your place. Beauty embroidered on handbags, coin purses, shawls, table-cloths, and wall designs. Fabrics that stretch over an entire wall, feature the old city of Jerusalem, the unmistaken capital of Palestine. The original store is in Damascus, where Palestinian and Syrian women handcraft the items. You’re not just supporting Palestinian and Syrian business but also women in business.
(Palestinian kunafa. Photo credit: iStock by Getty Images)
Al Nafisa is connected to Jeeran, and has the loveliest desserts – unbelievably sweet, but drenched with flavor. Try their kunafa or harisa! Once you have kunafa, you never go back! By the way, a kilo of kunafa here is only QR 60!
(Photo credit: www.palbox.org)
An amazing gift idea, or something to get yourself on the regular, is the PalBox. It’s literally a box you order online filled with Palestinian products. Each box supports non-violent resistance and the Palestinian economy struggling under the Israeli occupation and apartheid. The food is organic and fair trade, and you can pair them with cultural items like music, art, and jewelry.
(Photo credit: www.nadiajewelry.com)
Katara has featured a Palestinian Festival in recent years, with entrepreneur Nadia Abu Ghattas, who makes silver jewelry from olive leaves. Olive leaves and branches symbolize peace and the Palestinian freedom movement. Each olive leaf, captured and cast in sterling silver, is unique and original. They make for beautiful necklaces, rings, and earrings.
Now’s your time to tell us about your favourite Palestinian business in Qatar! Did we forget a crucial restaurant or store? Support Palestine, Palestinian women and business, and make a statement against Israel’s illegal occupation and the suffering of Palestinians. But also – enjoy the Palestinian culture in Qatar!
What do you think? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section! Also don’t forget to give us a like and a share – you know it keeps us going!
(Words by Sarah Schroeder)
(Cover image photo credit: iStock by Getty Images)
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