The King of Ful

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I never met my grandfather, Abu Adel (Ahmed Hankir). He passed away before I was born. But for years, I’ve heard about his legacy in ful (fava bean stew)-making, not only from my father, but from ful sellers and shop owners in my hometown of Sidon, where jeddo is known as the “King of Ful.” Every single time I say that I’m the granddaughter of Abu Adel, I’m met by these ful connoisseurs with warmth, enthusiasm and nostalgia. Last month, while I was back home, I reported and wrote this piece for Roads and Kingdoms, which touches on my grandfather’s legacy as the owner of one of the most popular ful establishments in Sidon, Ful Abu Adel, and his beginnings as a ful seller in Haifa, Palestine, where he first set up shop.

An excerpt:

Jeddo’s first business partner was a donkey. Abu Adel would prepare ful overnight, and scoop it up into containers he’d dangle from one side of the donkey (the other side was reserved for hummus). He’d then travel to neighborhoods along unmarked roads in and around Haifa to sell it, among them the villages of Hawasa and Balad al-Shaykh.

This is admittedly the most fun I’ve ever had reporting a piece. Besides immersing myself in family and culinary history, the reporting required consuming inordinate amounts of ful over a five-day period with my mother, Mariam Antar, in the old souks of Sidon. For the ful story (see what I did there?), head on over to roadsandkingdoms.com.


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Abu Adel at Ful Abu Adel in Haifa, Palestine. 1945.

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