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House-baked Maamoul and Manakeesh at Middle East Food Market in Fremont

Melanie Wong Jan 21, 2013 10:47 PM

Passing through in search of halal food to mark the day, I stopped at Middle East Food Market, opened since my intensive exploration of Fremont a few years ago. The overhead menu promised a variety of baked snacks. But I learned I was too early and the day’s baking was not ready for the oven yet. The lady on duty offered to defrost frozen manakeesh and sfihas. When I declined, insisting that I only wanted fresh-baked, she said that if I could wait a few minutes, she would make some up for me since the dough was on hand.

While I waited, I checked out the display of freshly baked maamoul. A sign highlighted that they’re made with real butter. These were the date-filled ones I bought. The proof of real butter shows in the richer taste and better keeping quality.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/melaniewong/8402212739/

I also noticed the posters publicizing the house specialty, kunafeh. None available at the time, it’s special order only with a minimum order of two pounds.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/melaniewong/8403305424/

Soon my order of one each of spinach, meat, and cheese fatayer was ready, hot from the oven. The baker marked them with black sesame, white sesame, and plain to tell them apart. The meat had a mild cumin and coriander spicing with some grated onion. The spinach one was too lemony tart for me. And my favorite was the cheese one, filled with a delicate white cheese that softened on heating.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/melaniewong/8402225343/

The golden brown crust was more akin to bread than a flaky pie dough crust. The market has a couple small tables on the sidewalk where I enjoyed these before getting back on the road.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/melaniewong/8403309070/

Middle East Food Market
4097 Peralta Blvd
Fremont, CA
510-739-3800
http://mefoodmarket.com/index.html