Pittsburgh is a city that’s loaded with great restaurants, but few are fueled by a concept as brilliant as Conflict Kitchen. By only serving food from countries that the US is in conflict with, Conflict’s founders are introducing hot-button issues to college students and Pittsburghers alike through a forum we can all relate to: food.
Located in the heart of Oakland, Conflict Kitchen has explored the cuisines of North Korea, Venezuela and Cuba (among others), serving up foods like mouthwatering arepas bundled in wrappers printed with interviews held with Venezuelans. Conflict Kitchen is currently serving up delicacies from Palestine, a move that’s been met with much opposition.
The conflict first started over an open discussion Conflict Kitchen hosted that many claimed was heavily representative of pro-Palestinian views, while failing to fairly represent the pro-Israel side.
The back-and-forth debate that ensued was indicative of the strong views people have concerning the area known as Palestine, but the discussion escalated in early November when Conflict Kitchen was met with death threats.
In the days that followed, people placed Post-It notes with messages of support over the windows of the closed take-out stand. Students hosted a sit-in in support of the work of Conflict Kitchen before it reopened its doors a few days later to tremendous support. One thing was clear: Conflict Kitchen’s goal of opening the floor up to debate had worked.
Conflict Kitchen has since updated its menu to feature brand new Palestinian dishes, and the results are just as delicious as you’d expect. The classics, like hummus and bhaba ghanoush, are delectably smooth and served up with a pita the size of your head.
They also have some traditional dishes that are new to the area on the updated menu. The musakhan, a piece of toasty flatbread topped with spicy sumac-dusted chicken and onions, is as incredible as it is unique.
Served up with any dish you order is a cup of steaming hot black tea, lightly sweetened and accented with sage. It’s the perfect hand-warmer for this frigid weather, and it’s a great accompaniment to any meal on the menu.
What Conflict Kitchen has been able to achieve through its humble takeout stand in Schenley Plaza is truly remarkable. While waiting for some delectable falafel, the woman behind me in line, intrigued by a poster about Nakba, pulled out her iPhone to Google the refugee situation that took place in 1948.
Reading the wrapper that your food comes in can teach you more about life across the globe than a couple minutes on Wikipedia ever could. Conflict Kitchen has boldly emerged in the era of Snapchat stories and YikYak posts with a tried-and-true way of engaging people: over a delicious meal.
Need a refresher on Middle Eastern food lingo before Conflict Kitchen changes their menu again? We’ve got you covered.
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