As Palestinian families faced imminent eviction in Sheikh Jarrah in May 2021, Khaled Alshehab, owner of Southeast Portland food cart Alley Mezza, took to Instagram to express his outrage — not just in response to the violence itself, but to the silence in the Portland food community. “What’s up Portland? Where are all the woke postings? Is Palestinian suffering not trending enough? Portland chefs making money off of Palestinian/Arab cuisines, what’s up?” he wrote in his Instagram stories.
From Alshehab’s perspective, this silence was nothing new. Dining in Portland, he has encountered several restaurants serving Southwestern Asian and Northern African (SWANA) dishes while separating themselves from the cultures: When
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