A Taste of Turkey: Künefe in Antakya

Our road trip around Central Turkey introduced us to many fabulous local foods. Desserts were always a highlight.We tasted fabulous icecream in Kahramanmaras and ate mouth watering baklava and katmer in Gaziantep.

Antakya is known to have the best künefe in Turkey so off we went in search of this delicious syrup soaked, sweet cheese pastry.

A Taste of Turkey: Künefe in Antakya

Künefe anyone!


Where to find künefe in Antakya

Hidden in the alleyways of the local market, Uzun Carsi, we came across small shops making the long thin strands of kadayif pastry that are used in the making of künefe.

A Taste of Turkey: Künefe in Antakya

The entrance to the market in Antakya


At Dalgaç, a little shop that caught our eye with its black and white tiles, we watched the dough being poured through a sieve onto a rotating plate. The strands were then gathered together and are ready for sale.

A Taste of Turkey: Künefe in Antakya

A small market shop making kadayif


A Taste of Turkey: Künefe in Antakya

Making kadayif


A Taste of Turkey: Künefe in Antakya


A Taste of Turkey: Künefe in Antakya

Kadayif for sale at another shop


Çinaralti Künefe

Our next stop was Çinaralti Künefe, known to serve the best künefe in Antakya. The shop is in a small courtyard off the main thoroughfare of the market. It’s not easy to find…look for the sign for the Ahmediye Camii or ask one of the friendly locals who will be only to willing to point you in the right direction. Once you see the plane tree that grows in the courtyard, you’ll know you’re in the right place!

A Taste of Turkey: Künefe in Antakya

The entrance to the courtyard where you’ll find Çinaralti Künefe


A Taste of Turkey: Künefe in Antakya

Look for the plane tree!


A Taste of Turkey: Künefe in Antakya



Inside the shop, Yusef Usta supervises the making of the künefe. The kadayif is mixed with melted butter and a layer is put on the base of a circular pan. A soft white cheese from the area is crumbled over it before a final layer of kadayif is added. At Çinaralti Künefe it is cooked over coals though in some places it can be cooked in the oven. It is turned once before a rich sugar syrup is poured over the künefe. We requested ours to be served with a layer of pistachio on top but if you prefer, you can keep the crusty top bare.

A Taste of Turkey: Künefe in Antakya

Inside Çinaralti Künefe


A Taste of Turkey: Künefe in Antakya

Kunefe over coals in Çinaralti Künefe


An excellent turkish coffee is all that was needed to accompany this delicious dish!

A Taste of Turkey: Künefe in Antakya Kunefe-3


Künefe is not just found in Turkey. In Jordan it is known as Knafeh and one of the best I had was at Habib Sweets in Amman. It is a Middle Eastern sweet so if you’re travelling to any countries in this region, try their local version. The name may vary slightly but the dish will be similar.

Have you tried künefe. If so where did you taste it?


Other articles you may enjoy:

A Taste of Turkey: Katmer in Gaziantep
Friday Photos: Tasty Turkey
Breakfast in Istanbul
A Taste of New York: Knish


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33 Responses to A Taste of Turkey: Künefe in Antakya

  1. Joy @MyTravelingJoys May 15, 2015 at 4:01 pm #

    Künefe was and is one of my fav Turkish desserts! Ciya in Istanbul as well as a few other spots there are always a good choice. 🙂

    We made it as far as Gaziantep when we lived in Turkey, but not Antakya, unfortunately. Maybe some day!

    • Jenny Freedman May 15, 2015 at 6:24 pm #

      Antakya is a very interesting city Joy…so different to Gaziantep and Sanliurfa. It’s not as traditional.There’s a lot of young people, modern shops and bars. The market was the only place that reminded me of these other more traditional towns! Thanks for reminding me that Ciya does make an excellent künefe. I miss eating there as you probably do too!

  2. Krista May 15, 2015 at 5:43 pm #

    I’ve never tasted it before, Jenny, but it sounds marvelous! I’m also delighted by the “how it’s made” photos up top. I love learning things like this. 🙂

    • Jenny Freedman May 15, 2015 at 6:26 pm #

      I had eaten künefe in Jordan before this visit but I hadn’t seen it being made so it was great to see that. I agree,I loved seeing how the Kadayif was made. Now to find someone here who will make it!!

  3. Corinne May 15, 2015 at 7:28 pm #

    Jenny, I love kadaif, but I have to say I’m not such of fan of kunefe. Both should be tried by all! Love your shots!

    • Jenny Freedman May 18, 2015 at 9:15 pm #

      Thanks Corinne. Is künefe too sweet for you? I’d love to know how you used the kadaif!

  4. budget jan May 15, 2015 at 9:47 pm #

    Looks interesting and I love the look of the courtyard with the Plane tree. I can imagine sitting there trying the junefe. I’m sure Marty would love too as well.

    • Jenny Freedman May 18, 2015 at 9:18 pm #

      Yes, it was very relaxing siting in the courtyard Jan….a quiet haven compared to the hustle and bustle of the market close by in the alleyway.

  5. Fairlie May 16, 2015 at 3:58 pm #

    We tried it in Istanbul…and loved it. I had to find a supplier that had kadaif when I got home so that we could try to recreate it!

    • Jenny Freedman May 18, 2015 at 9:19 pm #

      Delicious isn’t it. Was it hard to make Fairlie? A FB reader mentioned some places in Melbourne where I could buy the kadayif. I’m thinking of giving it a try!

  6. Donna Janke May 18, 2015 at 1:13 pm #

    I have never heard of künefe. But it looks as if it would be something I’d enjoy. I will certainly try it if I have opportunity.

    • Jenny Freedman May 18, 2015 at 9:21 pm #

      It’s definitely worth a try Donna. You’ll find it in quite a few middle eastern countries.

  7. Suzanne Fluhr May 18, 2015 at 2:27 pm #

    We were recently in Istanbul and walked past many little shops selling all manner of pastries and sweets, alluringly displayed. We finally wandered in for tea to a place where we could go to the pastry display and point to what we wanted served with our tea. I’m not sure we had kunefe, but the baklava was scrumptious. (My husband had a plate with a little sample of several things, so maybe it was there). Your photos are a very illuminating addition to your narrative.

    • Jenny Freedman May 18, 2015 at 9:26 pm #

      It’s quite confusing looking at all the different sweets available and trying to choose a couple when they all look so good! I’m pleased you had a good baklava…they definitely do vary in Istanbul!

  8. Betsy Wuebker | PassingThru May 18, 2015 at 3:05 pm #

    Oh man, I’ve never heard of künefe before, but I can appreciate your quest! It looks dee-licious! I really enjoyed the details of the process that you included in your photos and descriptions. I think you’ll have inspired many to duplicate your efforts! 🙂

    • Jenny Freedman May 18, 2015 at 9:31 pm #

      Turkey food is really interesting in the fact that different areas are known for different dishes. There was no way I was going to miss trying künefe in Antakya! it was certainly worth finding Cinaralti Künefe! I’m glad you enjoyed seeing how it is made.

  9. Charles McCool May 18, 2015 at 7:28 pm #

    I like your behind the scenes look.

    • Jenny Freedman May 18, 2015 at 9:34 pm #

      Thanks Charles. I love finding these little places in the market making products we are not familiar with and following it through to the finished product. Künefe is so delicious!!

  10. Johanna May 19, 2015 at 8:18 am #

    Your insider guides are so full of interesting snippets which pique interest in a place. I like the way you so often zoom in to the little known facts and have us all yearning for more. Those Turkish delights though do looks just a little bit awesome and I am sitting here on a diet feeling hungry 😉

    • Jenny Freedman May 28, 2015 at 8:37 pm #

      Thanks Jo. Künefe is not something I’d recommend for your diet but you definitely have to try it when you can!

  11. Irene S Levine May 19, 2015 at 11:25 am #

    I’ve never tasted kunefe but I’m’ hoping to find some in New York! Looks delicious!

    • Jenny Freedman May 28, 2015 at 8:40 pm #

      It would be worth looking for in New York Irene. There must be an fabulous turkish cook making it there otherwise it looks as though a trip to Turkey could be in the stars!

  12. Carole Terwilliger Meyers May 20, 2015 at 4:13 am #

    I’ve never before heard of künefe, but now I know where to try it next time I’m in Turkey. Very interesting article.

    • Jenny Freedman May 28, 2015 at 8:41 pm #

      Thanks Carole. I’m glad to have given you a new dessert to try when you’re next in Turkey.

  13. Marilyn Jones May 20, 2015 at 11:11 am #

    I have never been to Turkey, but if I get there, I will be looking for the Künefe! I enjoyed learning about how it is made and your journey to find it!

    • Jenny Freedman May 28, 2015 at 8:42 pm #

      Turkey is a fabulous country Marilyn and one I would highly recommend you put on your wish list! Don’t forget künefe if and when you do get there.

  14. Karen Warren May 21, 2015 at 12:02 am #

    I love Turkish food and that looks wonderful! If I go back to Turkey I’ll be sure to look out for it.

    • Jenny Freedman May 28, 2015 at 8:47 pm #

      Turkish food is fabulous and its desserts are especially wonderful. It’s certainly worth looking for künefe when you’re do return!

  15. Lyn (aka) The Travelling Lindfields May 21, 2015 at 5:50 pm #

    I have never even heard of Kunefe, let along tried it but it looks heavenly.

    • Jenny Freedman May 28, 2015 at 8:52 pm #

      It is heavenly Lyn! You might find in another middle eastern country under a different but similar name.

  16. A Cook Not Mad (Nat) May 22, 2015 at 3:44 pm #

    It looks delicious! I love the machine that makes the dough spirals, lovely.

    • Jenny Freedman May 28, 2015 at 8:53 pm #

      it is delicious Nat. That machine is fantastic isn’t it!

  17. Turkey's For Life May 28, 2015 at 6:54 pm #

    Ohh, we’re in love with künefe. We recently had our annual international culture and arts festival in Fethiye which is just growing year on year. This year, there was a range of food stands and some guys had made the journey from Hatay to show off their künefe. We just couldn’t resist it and I now when we’re in Hatay (eventually) we’ll put a few pounds on from all the eating we’ll do! 🙂

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