Leading the list of the ten most popular food spots of 2016, the vegetarian, Israeli-Palestinian Kanaan by the railroad tracks in Prenzlauer Berg was indeed due for a re-visit. I’m super jealous about everyone living close by, or even closer by, not having to put up with a 30min commute to get there… Unfortunately, they closed their Kreuzberg spot after a few months last Autumn, but have since expanded their menu in their original location to include even more hummus specials.
We went on Wednesday night last week, arriving just when they finished their first cooking event designed for kids, where a group of children baked their own sweet potato fishes, while their parents enjoyed some quiet hummus-quality-time. While this is a nod to the neighborhood they’re in, it’s also a business-savvy decision to raise an audience of future hummus-lovers. But hey, I don’t blame them, and certainly not the children or the parents, Kanaan’s food is very youngster-friendly and still delicious and healthy!
The place itself is still no beauty, more of a makeshift shack with the kitchen taking over most of the room, simple tables and benches serve as seating, and bright neon lights and no decoration to speak of, shift the focus on one thing only: the food. This is what Kanaan is all about, rather than investing money or time into design and materials, they spend their workdays developing new recipes and concepts to bring together nations, social classes, and age-groups, unifying them through making, serving, and eating food, and sharing all the stories and histories.
I’m basically addicted to their creamy and hearty hummus, served in classic ways with freshly baked pita bread, with tahini sauce and fresh herbs, drizzled with fragrant olive oil; on its own or with baked aubergine, egg, and mango sauce. Or as daily specials, like their very filling Hummshuka – a dish combining Shakshouka with Hummus on the menu on Monday’s, or their very fluffy, freshly fried Falafel, on the menu on Friday’s.
And there are new dishes: like a lentil Masabacha served on Wednesdays, a non-chickpea version of the classic Masabacha (which is on the daily menu), where green lentils and beans instead of whole chickpeas are mixed with tahina, spicy garlic-lemon sauce, cumin and parsley. Put an egg on it if you’re really wild for protein. Or four new salads, oven roasted cauliflower in date-honey and pomegranate sauce, thinly sliced beetroots with goat cheese (a favorite of the kids coming to Kanaan), and oven roasted pumpkin with feta cheese, tahini and sunflower seed, that was so special in its mix of sour but sweet pomegranate and sweet but savory pumpkin, it was instantly my favorite of the night. You can get them on their own, or all four salads on one plate, served with fresh pita bread. Which already makes a great main.
This kind food is rather filling thanks to the many legumes, so either go easy on ordering, or bring a bunch of friends. I advice on the latter option, because you’ll want to taste it all.