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Arab Street Food Manakeesh with cheese

Arab Street Food Inspiration to Get Your Mouth Watering

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Our food takes inspiration from the very core of traditional Arab street food. We start from scratch every day to bring you enduring Arabic flavours. We believe in supporting our local suppliers, community, and serving the freshest food to you.

Shakshuka with potatoes and breadArab Street Food

Haven’t quite yet had your fill of Arab Street food yet? Well, the Arabian food is our offer to get you adventurous with our part of the world. In Arab countries, food is a big deal, nourishing, and aromatic. It is almost a fiesta of flavours, colours and textures. If you have never eating Arabic style, you are in for a treat!

Our Name

Yafa Café is a small shop with a lot of heart. We named the café after our youngest daughter, Yafa. Yafa was named after a Palestinian coastal city which for millennia, was significant for trading activities. Yafa Café seeks to bring you a taste of the vibrant atmosphere ever-present in Downtown Jerusalem, Beirut, Baghdad, and Cairo, all right here in Winnipeg. It is our mission to be a place of comfort and kinship. We fulfil this mission by sourcing our ingredients locally, supporting local charities and cultural initiatives, as well as supporting local artisans. In that spirit, we welcome you to our shop.

Arabic Breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  At Yafa Café, breakfast is served all day. With so many rich cultures and traditions in Manitoba, we thought it would be fun to shed some light on the basic breakfast foods in the Arab world. Don’t skip breakfast. It’s the best meal of the day, especially at Yafa Café. Here’s what generations of Arabs have eaten for breakfast and continue to do so with a hearty appetite:

  • Egypt has a unique breakfast of choice called Foul Mudamas:
    • This treasured delight simmers in huge copper pots over low charcoal fires, made with fava beans, chickpeas, garlic, and lemon.
    • You’ll see the dish topped with olive oil, cayenne pepper, and Tahini sauce.
    • Sometimes, it’s topped with a hard-boiled egg, and diced veggies.  
  • Palestinian breakfast consists of:
    • Zatoon (olives), arous (bride) labneh, hummus, and falafel, alongside with olive oil, fried eggs, and fresh apricot jam, made from the bountiful harvest of the villages.
    • It also stars za’atar manakeesh, with a mixture of thyme, sumac and sesame seeds, baked on top of this delicious flatbread.  
  • Algerian breakfast features:
    • Qahwa (Coffee) or mint green tea
    • Combined with delicious pieces of bread, “Chrik-Costantinois” stuffed with chocolate chips and flavored with orange zest, msemmen bread with honey, and anything in between. 
  • In Tunisia:
    • Shakshuka is a dish of poached eggs in tomato, onions, and chilli sauce, spiced with cumin, a favorite item on Yafa’s menu.  
  • Iraqi breakfast is:
    • Samoun, anoval-shaped bread loaf with gaymer (thick white cream). 
  • In Yemen, breakfast is the most important meal of the day:
    • It consists of a fried egg with onion and tomatoes or mouton liver with spices, in a stew of foule with brown beans, tomato, onion, and chilli
    • In addition, a large pancake-like bread called el megasgas is included.  
  • In Kuwait, breakfast is called Rayoug:
    • The Balaleet is a sweet vermicelli pasta served with a fried egg, which is very popular.
    • Bajilla (jumbo beans) and nakhi (chickpeas) are eaten with Iranian bread and are also great eaten with tea with milk.

Arab Street Food Manakeesh with cheeseChemin de l’amour

You may have seen this beautiful motif in our restaurant. As you can tell, we believe in the power of eternal love! For the team at Yafa Cafe, the delicious pairings of our food can never be separated.

Across all cuisines, there are timeless duos, but we certainly believe we have some of the most delicious combinations of all. Our fresh sage or mint tea is served with honey and walnuts, baklava or with za’atar manakeesh which are perfect together. Our chicken shawarma is served with our garlic sauce for an absolute treat! 

Makloubeh and rice were made for each other. What else would you want to dip into your hummus with pitta bread, baked fresh right from the oven? Our chefs out great care into everything they cook. In the kitchen, they make sure that they get the best ingredients and prepare and cook them properly, so that the one who eats their food will genuinely enjoy the meal. Cooking is love in action. The sense of fulfillment from knowing that others appreciate what you do is unlike anything else.

Team Member Inspiration

Khalidah Abbas was born in Baghdad. She became a Yafa Café team member since its inception. Khalidah enjoyed cooking at age 7. Her first foray into cooking happened when her mom took a well-deserved break, sitting down to rest. She pulled a stool up to the stove and started cooking some eggs. Guided by her mother’s teaching, she did not leave the kitchen ever since. From those first days in the kitchen at home to professional kitchens, Khalidah enjoys creating traditional dishes that are close to her heart that combine all her memories.

“Each job has its own vibe. When I’m prepping the menus, I like to present food that really wows the taste buds of our guests, conveying the joys and love of Arab cooking. It feels so good and so rewarding to feel proud of your work, of the people around you and to have a successful day at work.” Thank you, Khalidah, for your hard work.

Pay it Forward

At Yafa’s Kitchen, we started a Pay It Forward Movement, where people enjoy a meal that’s already paid for — and are invited to continue the chain of generosity. In the process, people learn the transformative power of gratitude. A customer donates into the jar, which is documented in a binder. Then, someone that is homeless or less fortunate can come into the cafe and cash in for their free meal, manakeesh, or drink using the funds the previous customer has paid for. 

Barista Chyna, valuable member

Valuable Member Spotlight – Chyna Morissette

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Showing off our employees on our blog gives us an avenue for our customers to learn about them – the valuable member spotlight. Chyna Morissette was born in Vancouver. She joined Yafa Cafe as a Barista when we opened the cafe back in 2017.

Barista Chyna, valuable member

Valuable Member

Ever since then, Chyna became an extremely valuable member of the Yafa Café team. Chyna is knowledgeable, reliable, hardworking, and a team player. She is always willing to lend an extra set of hands. Most importantly, she comes to work every day with a smile on her face and has a can-do attitude that inspires her fellow team members. No doubt, Chyna is a very valued member of the team.

Chyna came to work for Yafa Cafe as she was previously working for the owners when they had their previous business. They recognized her value, and asked her to join them in their new venture. She happily accepted and stayed with them for over a year and a half before setting off on a new adventure.

Work Like I’m Playing a Violin

Coming to work is like playing the violin for Chyna: “I do this work the way a violinist plays her instrument,” she said, “with feeling.” It’s an interesting way of looking at one’s work but surely a very creative way, that shows passion and affection.

Chyna loved Yafa Café so much that after she left, she asked the owners to hire her sister.

Yafa Cafe Gift Card

Yafa Café gift cards

Share a Yafa Cafe gift card with someone you love. It’s a great, easy gift to give to anyone for any occasion.

Summer and holidays are right around the corner. This is a perfect opportunity to give the gift of an award-winning breakfast, brunch or lunch restaurant this season. Yafa’s gift cards are suitable for Easter baskets, Mother’s Day, end-of-year teacher gifts, graduations, Father’s Day, birthdays, anniversaries and more!

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