Bay Area/ San Jose/ Food & Drinks
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Published on March 25, 2024
Ma'lawach Bar Infuses Silicon Valley's Palo Alto with Traditional Yemenite Jewish CuisineSource: Google Street View

The culinary landscape of Silicon Valley just got a taste of traditional Yemenite Jewish cuisine with the opening of Ma'lawach Bar in Palo Alto. According to a report by Eater San Francisco, the new eatery rolled out its welcome mat on March 20, offering a delectable selection of dishes like jachnun and malawach. These hearty, laminated dough-based delicacies are served with accompaniments such as grated tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, and schug - a zesty Middle Eastern sauce.

Helming the kitchen is Doreet Jehassi, a former corporate communications professional turned baker extraordinaire, who found her niche channeling her family's heritage into her culinary ventures. Jehassi, whose parents hail from Israel with Yemeni roots, saw an opportunity in the market for authentic dishes she grew up loving. “The original malawach and jachnun were created out of necessity,” Jehassi told Eater San Francisco. “The Jews in Yemen were persecuted and very poor, they must have had one meal a day — and so the original jachnun is very heavy and dense.”

In contrast to her first career, Jehassi's journey into the food industry has been marked by personal touches and a deep connection to her roots. Her venture, once a home-based business, now extends its reach to the public with the opening of Ma'lawach Bar, as detailed on their Instagram page and the restaurant's official website. The latter story narrates Jehassi's rich background and her culinary evolution from experimenting in her home kitchen to establishing her own restaurant.



As for the Ma'lawach Bar's current offerings, Jehassi has adapted traditional recipes to suit modern palates and dietary needs. Her tweaked versions of jachnun and malawach are "lighter and fluffier", substituting butter with margarine to keep dishes kosher. Both can be vacuum-sealed and enjoyed at home, intertwining convenience with authenticity — a selling point that is very much in the spirit of Silicon Valley’s innovative and fast-paced lifestyle.

Jehassi is also eager to expand the menu with more Yemeni-inspired fare, like hawaij-spiced soups and stews reflective of her childhood experiences. While the main draw of the Ma'lawach Bar is its tantalizing takeout selection, patrons can opt to dine in. According to Eater San Francisco, despite jachnun's less-than-photogenic appearance, Jehassi is confident in its ability to deliver a pleasing surprise to the palate, "But when you bite into it, it pleasantly surprises you," she says. The story of Ma'lawach Bar goes beyond food; it's about heritage, passion, and the journey of an entrepreneur who’s baking her way to Silicon Valley fame, one flaky pancake at a time.