Syrian Refugees Meet Mayfair Residents for Shared Meal at Reading Terminal Market

The third dinner in the “Breaking Bread, Breaking Barriers” series seeks to find commonalities through cuisine and nurture a supportive relationship between communities

PHILADELPHIA – On Tuesday, January 31, 2017, Reading Terminal Market (RTM) hosted the third of six interactive cooking demonstrations and dinners as a part of its “Breaking Bread, Breaking Barriers: Food as a Bridge to Cultural Understanding” project.

A group of nearly three dozen Syrian refugees, who have been resettled in Northeast Philadelphia, came together with residents of the Mayfair community for an interactive cooking demonstration and dinner. Residents of Mayfair were recruited through the “Take Back Your Neighborhood” community organization that looks to celebrate diversity and bring people together.

Two of the Market’s very own merchants lead the cooking demonstration-Hesham and Adham Albarouki of Kamal’s Middle Eastern Specialties and Jack McDavid of Down Home Diner. The Albarouki’s highlighted traditional Syrian dishes of Falafel and Hummus, while McDavid served up a Southern dinner of blackened catfish, collard greens and roasted butternut squash. The two merchants worked together to develop a menu that helps the refugees combine familiar tastes of their home country with the flavors of their new location.

Discussions at the dinner, facilitated by professors at the Penn Center for Civic Engagement, gave each community the chance to openly discuss the issues, challenges, opportunities and fears of each other while also encouraging social engagement between Mayfair locals and the Syrian immigrants.

RTM was a winner of the 2016 Knight Cities Challenge, an initiative of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which sought ideas to help cities attract and keep talented people, expand economic opportunity and create a culture of civic engagement. The project was awarded $84,674 as one of 37 winners of the challenge.

Here is a complete breakdown of news coverage from the event:

Philadelphia Inquirer


Philadelphia Business Journal