Kunafa: Traditional Middle Eastern Dessert

This beloved Middle Eastern dessert goes by many names - kunafa, kunafah, kanafe or knafeh. Despite the different spellings, they all essentially refer to the same thing. It is fundamentally a delicious rich pastry soaked in sugar-based syrup and topped with a generous amount of crushed pistachio. Aside from kunafa, many people are also familiar with baklava - which requires relatively more effort to make. In this article, let's dive into this unique traditional dessert by learning more about it!

Table of Content

kunafa viral
Kunafa: Traditional Middle Eastern Dessert

Kunafa: Traditional Middle Eastern Dessert

History of Kunafa

Kanafa has been around for several centuries and this dessert is extremely popular in many countries - making its origin tricky to trace. Although many may recognise kunafa as a Turkish dessert, it is believed that this sweet treat is invented by the Palestinian Arabs in the city of Nablus, which eventually found its way to neighbouring regions.

best kunafa in kl
Kunafa is invented by the Palestinian Arabs

Types of Kunafa 

Although there are many types of kunafa, the most popular and commonly consumed varieties are Kunafa Khishneh (rough), Kunafa Naameh (smooth), Kunafa Mabroomeh (rolls), and Kunafa Bayn Naraain, which is a double stack of dough served with cream or cheese in the middle.

In Malaysia, there are two types of kunafa that are most commonly found near the city in Bukit Bintang, which are cream kunafa and cheese kunafa.

kunafa viral
Cheese kunafa is a popular type of kunafa that's loved by all!

Kunafa Recipe & Ingredients

The ingredients needed to make a tray of kunafa are surprisingly simple – butter, sugar, water, kataifi (kunafa dough), pistachios, and mozzarella cheese. To make the dessert fancier, you can always add your favourite choice of mozzarella. For cream kunafa, simply replace cheese with heavy or whipping cream!

How to Eat Kunafa

Cheese kunafa is best enjoyed hot or warm when the cheese is still gooey, and is the perfect treat for all the cheese lovers out there! As the pastry is soaked in rich sugar syrup, the dessert could be overwhelming for some. That is why we suggest that you opt for cheese kunafa as the saltiness of the cheese balances the sweetness of the pastry.

To elevate your dining experience further, it is advisable for you to pair the kunafa with a cup of hot black coffee or unsweetened tea to bring about a beautiful balance in taste.

best kunafa in kl
Kunafa is best enjoyed fresh and warm

Best Kunafa in KL

In Malaysia, you can discover many Arabian eateries in the city, especially around Bukit Bintang which offer fresh-out-of-oven kunafas. If you want to jump on the bandwagon, head straight to Dubai at the Food Republic in Pavillon Kuala Lumpur for a taste of the very first batch of kunafa that went viral in Malaysia! Expect to pay RM15 for cheese kunafa and RM12 for cream kunafa here.

Besides that, one of the pioneers of Arabic restaurants in Bukit Bintang – Damascus also offers an incredible selection kunafas. If you discover an Arabic restaurant that sells baklava, you will most definitely find kunafa on the menu as well! 

The power of viral marketing is unbelievable – with just one video of an Arabian man pulling the cheesy kunafa going viral, the kunafa fever has instantly spread throughout the country. If you have yet to try the kunafa -  run, don’t walk, to Bukit Bintang now! 

Don't forget to share your travel & dining moments with us on Instagram by tagging @rollinggrace or #RollingGrace. Happy travelling!


  1. Makanan viral dah kunafa ni. Pernah makan sekali tapi tak boleh banyak sebab manis sangat

  2. Ohh wowo....this is just so so delicious looking to enjoy a bite, I've yet to try, I'm hoping to try this soon. Cheers Siennylovesdrawing

  3. AM pun memang suka makan Kunafa.. memang layan dan kena dengan selera tekak AM.. yuummmyy!!

  4. I have tried the viral one at Pav KL food court. so yum and the guy so so handsome some more haha

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