With reporting from Reem Saad
For Al Aker Sweets in Qatar, Eid is the most wonderful time of the year.
The Palestinian-owned pastry shop does brisk business during the holidays, with each of its six branches going through some 1,500kg of flour, 500kg of sugar and 200kg of nuts a day.
Its claim to fame here is the kunafa, a delectable sweet made with fine, shredded strands of phyllo dough and mild cheese soaked in a sweet, rose water-infused syrup.
Speaking to Doha News recently, owner Bassem Al Aker said his mission has always been to serve simple, tasty Arab delicacies that don’t cost a fortune.
Al Aker opened in Doha in 2013 with one branch at the Midmac flyover.
It’s now expanded into six locations, including on Salwa Road, at Souq Waqif and most recently, in Bin Mahmoud.
In addition to kunafa, which is QR60/kg (but also sells by the half and quarter kilo), Al Aker sells 40+ other sweets.
That includes warbat, which is similar to baklava in that it’s oozing with nuts and honey, but also filled with custard; and awama, a sweet, fried dough ball that’s especially popular with children.
Being such a Doha institution has its pitfalls, however. According to Al Aker manager Hassan, time off is rare, even during the holidays.
“We never really rest,” he told Doha News, adding:
“Running six branches of this shop is constant work and we are always looking ahead to the next holiday. However, after Eid, there is a definite feeling of satisfaction at Al Aker regarding all the sweets that we have produced and families have enjoyed.”
Al Aker is open from 9am to midnight during the Eid holidays.
Its locations include Al Wakrah, Salwa Road, Al Gharafa, Bin Mahmoud (new location) and Souq Waqif, Midmac and Umm Salam. More information can be found on the eatery’s Facebook page here.