[ Horn honks ] [ Indistinct conversation in native language ] Samuelsson: How are you?
How are you?
-He has one.
Nice to meet you.
[ Greetings in native language ] What do we -- What do we eat here?
What do we sell here?
They have falafel, and they have them chicken falafel, which is really good.
So, I remember playing in the streets of New York... Yeah.
...and I would run to the end of the street and grab a sandwich.
And I couldn't find anywhere in the U.S. that would serve it... Mm-hmm.
as the taste -- the closet as in Baghdad.
-I love that.
-And it's here.
Are you hungry?
Falafel and chicken.
Falafel and chicken.
♪♪ We got two, three pieces of falafel.
French fries, eggplant.
Lettuce and tomatoes.
And what -- what's the hot sauce I hear about?
Amba is a spiced mango sauce.
Oh, a spiced mango sauce?
And you add it on a falafel.
And, as Iraqis, we cannot have falafel without amba.
No, of course.
How could you?
Why would you?
It's -- It's -- It's a tradition.
Falafel by itself is kind of boring.
I have to eat -- have it like this.
Man, this is so good.
It is delicious.
I mean, on a falafel --- olive oil.
I've never had amba.
Yeah, well, welcome to Iraq.
[ Both laugh ] Samuelsson: I'm chef Marcus Samuelsson, and as an immigrant born in Ethiopia and raised in Sweden, food to me has always told a deeper more personal story.
It's a path to culture, identity, and history.
And now it's a party!
I'm going across the country to learn more about America's immigrant communities and culinary traditions, to see how food connects us all across the United States.
Detroit is iconic, like Motor City, Motown, but it's also the home of one of the largest and most diverse Arab-American communities in the country.
Man: Hi there.
Samuelsson: When you drive from Detroit to Dearborn, it's less than 10 minutes, but it changes dramatically.
You just go from urban landscape, abandoned buildings, and then you come to Dearborn.
You're now in the suburbs.
And you see so many small businesses, everything written in both English and Arabic -- restaurants, small cafés and bakeries, hookah shops.
Food is definitely an economic backbone to this community.
This is our kafta.
You find people from Lebanon, Iraq, Syria.
I think it's a super-important time for looking at the Arab-American experience in this country.
I feel like there's a lot of false narratives spread about its religion, its practice, about who they are as Americans.
So, I think this really is a unique opportunity to meet the people, eat the food, listen to the music, learn about the culture in what's been called the Arab capital in North America.
♪♪ Georges: The falafel, I have to have it with eggplant.
The acidity of the mango is great.
I think it's delicious.
Do you want extra amba?
Hit me with the amba.
He's not here, so we can get more.
[ Laughs ] Yeah.
There we go.
The third bite, you see the vegetables with the falafel and the French fries, it's all getting nice and soggy.
And this beautiful sauce, it's fantastic.
So, Salwan is this amazing photographer, works for Washington Post, and he's Iraqi-born, but also spends a lot of time in Syria.
How long has the Iraqi community, uh, been in Dearborn?
So, the Iraqi Christian community, which is the Chaldean, been here since the '70s.
But more of the Muslim community, the larger part, came when Saddam... ...and that's how the Iraqi in the early '90s started their community.
So, help me understand so people get the difference between -- So, most of the Iraqis are actually refugees, right?
Some, not -- not "most."
It's mixed -- immigrants and refugees.
It's a mix.
My family made a choice to leave Iraq because we knew the war coming.
We left, and then we were refugees in Syria, so Syria's like a second home for me.
It's a second home, right.
So you've actually been both.
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
I mean -- yeah.
You've been both refugee, and now you're immigrant.
Yeah, and then, uh -- and then we made it here as immigrants.
When we arrived in Detroit, I was, like, shocked.
Especially for me.
I was a teenager.
I didn't speak any English, so it was really hard.
There's a café across the street here where men were playing cards and dominoes.
I had an assignment for one of my classes, so I walked in with a 35-millimeter camera.
I just kept taking photos, and I took them back to my teacher, and he was like, "Wow, I've never seen someone that can really take us to that community."
And that's when I realized this could be something that I can kind of show my culture.
And then I started to get into photojournalism.
Now I'm in D.C. -- Washington, D.C. Yeah.
But every time I come to town and visit family, I stop here first to get a falafel sandwich so I can -- As soon as I bite it, it takes me back -- after a soccer game with friends in Iraq, on the streets, barefoot.
So, that was delicious.
That was absolutely delicious.
I'm excited about this bread.
It's so soft!
So, you want to see how they make the bread and...
I would love to.
Let's go, yeah.
♪♪ ♪♪ This is Hayder.
What's up, Hayder?
How are you?
This is Marcus.
This is the Iraqi bread, samoon.
You have a very important job, because all the people that come in that are Iraqi, they probably think about the old country and the home country, so it's important he makes it very authentic, right?
[ Laughter ] What do you miss most about Baghdad?
What do you miss the most?
[ Conversing in native language ] He said everything.
Baghdad's very, very beautiful.
And Iraq -- very beautiful.
Samuelsson: When we think about Iraq, the war's really been going on, on and off, over 30 years, so we always think about it as a place of conflict.
You never see anything positive.
So, these small businesses here in Dearborn and Detroit is really counter-programming to that.
This is a way to eat something, taste something, speak to someone that you may or may not fully understand their culture, but you can do it in the most human way, by breaking bread.
Growing up in Iraq, I, uh, never, never thought, like, faith could divide us.
Christian, Muslim, we're all one.
I remember, as a kid, I would go with friends to the mosque, they would come with me on Sunday to church.
And it was -- it was... You know, we're living in -- in peace.
But what you should know about Iraq -- food is very delicious.
I have to put that first.
But, also, the people are very welcoming... Nice.
...and they will always give you a samoon.
I love it.
[ Speaking native language ] Okay.
He's gonna teach you.
I love it.
Samuelsson: So, he's just gonna put that in, but he brushes with a little bit of water?
Yes, water, and add some, uh, flour on top.
-Flour on top.
And that's what gives it a unique crunch and color, and also so the dough doesn't get stuck in the -- inside the oven.
[ Georges chuckles ] ♪♪ Go on.
♪♪ Oh, more, more!
♪♪ Samuelsson: Being a baker in Baghdad and then knowing that skill gave him a job in America.
You never know.
Yeah, you never know, yeah.
You never know.
That's what's so great about America... Yeah.
...that a lot of people come and bring their cultures with them.
Especially what's about -- unique in Detroit and Dearborn, that whatever skill you have, you come here, it's almost like back home here.
And that provides an easy way to become American here... Yeah.
...than just going to a city where, like, everything is different for them, everything is -- is -- is totally new.
Yeah, it's like a new world for them.
So, here you get introduced to the American culture slowly.
And that's -- that's a key for a lot of immigrants and refugees, to not have the culture shock right away.
And Dearborn and Detroit provides that.
Well, what's his goal of -- of living here in Dearborn?
[ Conversing in native language ] What dreams does he have?
[ Laughs ] He said find him a wife.
[ Laughter ] I'll be looking.
[ Door bells jingle ] Samuelsson: So, now we're in Dearborn?
Now we're in -- Now we're in Detroit.
Now we're in Detroit.
Across the street over there is Dearborn.
-Just that light.
[ Both laugh ] My very own experience as an immigrant to this country, at a very age -- around 22, 23 -- I was told, as a black chef in Europe, no one would come and support a black-chef restaurant in Europe, so America was the only country that I could go and do my craft.
So, my story has many similarities with the immigrant community in Dearborn and Detroit, but also very different.
♪♪ I do know the journey of leaving a place, setting up shop, and hopefully they will accept me and I can make this home.
But I come from a very cushy country, in Sweden, and I'm extremely grateful for that.
When you come as a refugee from Iraq or Syria, you can't just go back, so there's a huge difference there.
For me, America's always held this place of hope -- what's not possible in one part of the world, if you come to America, it may be possible.
[ Pan simmering ] Hi.
-How's it going?
Nice to meet you.
-How are you?
-I am good.
Thank you so much.
Nice to meet you.
-How are you?
Yasser and Siwah are a Syrian refugee family, and they came to America fairly recent.
They're trying to integrate their kids, they're trying to figure out how to get a job, how to fit in.
Yasser has been a chef almost all his life in Turkey and Syria, and I'm real excited to learn about this meal we're about to have.
What are we gonna do today?
And maqluba is a...Syrian dish, Turkish dish?
[ Speaking native language ] Georges: They're starting to look good.
You both come from places that have such a rich history, but over the last 30 years, when the wars separate people, how do you keep your food identity?
It must be very difficult.
Well, what's so special about, like, Middle Eastern food is always made at home.
Like, I'm in D.C. now, and my mom always like, uh, "Oh, do you want to make a dish on FaceTime?"
And I was like, "Of course!
Let's make one."
-Oh, that's awesome.
-Yeah, yeah, yeah.
I just made, uh, one this past week.
I think I did okay.
[ Chuckles ] Yeah.
That's a great way of staying connected.
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Yasser: And I'm gonna do, uh, one here, one here, one here, one here.
Samuelsson: Maqluba has peppers, eggplant, and some chicken.
It's just a good dish on a cold day in Dearborn.
When I think about Middle Eastern cooking, the first thing comes to mind is these incredible, rich, historically important marketplaces like Damascus, like in Cairo.
And the marketplaces is where people traded.
They traded spices, they traded food.
When we think about spices in this country, we very often tend to think about spicy food.
The spice blends of the Arab-American culture, the Middle Eastern culture, it's floral, it's flavorful.
You have things like coriander, cumin, cardamom, sometimes rose petals, sumac, Aleppo peppers.
Now we mix it up.
That's what I love about Middle Eastern foods.
It's just very flavorful.
-You know, floral.
All of it sets up as delicious, rich, but not necessarily spicy in heat, as we think about other cuisines.
Georges: Good job.
[ Laughter ] Both of you guys have emotional but also birth ties to Syria.
How does it -- When you see what's happening now on TV, week in, week out, how does -- how do you guys think about it?
How does it make you feel?
It just, um -- It's just a very sad situation because, you know... Samuelsson: Yeah.
It just -- It just -- You don't want your home to be destroyed.
I mean, if it's a house or if it's a country.
And you've seen it from your first home country, Iraq.
And now you see it from your second home country.
Samuelsson: I think there is a point where you can't even imagine how hard it is leaving everything you know behind.
Maybe your home got destroyed, maybe you have to go into one or two or several refugee camps.
Can you even stick together as a family?
I can sense there is hope.
This is done.
Finished, yeah, yeah.
Samuelsson: The name of the game in a Syrian home is hospitality.
Yasser and his wife served us a feast.
We came for the maqluba.
The table quickly filled up with a whole smorgasbord, a whole array of incredible dishes, with sayadieh, which is this pan-fried tilapia with rice.
There was also this beautiful lamb roll stuffed with pine nuts and fattoush.
To be in Yasser's home -- They have this small apartment, but yet they're cooking up a storm, a feast for us... Yasser: There you go.
...showing us all of their rich heritage and culture, it's extremely humbling.
Ahmed, what is your favorite dish?
What do you like to eat?
I lo-- I love a lot of fattoush.
Islam, what do you like?
Your mom and dad worked all day, and you said pizza.
[ Laughter ] This is really good.
This is really good.
I've never had it before.
When you eat this food, does it make you think about the old country?
[ Plate clatters ] Boy: Whoa, whoa, whoa!
They want to make the country they live in beautiful.
All what they hope for is the chance.
They just need to be given that chance, that they can, uh, really show their true color and really make -- make this country proud of giving them the chance.
Samuelsson: I really, really hope that Dearborn, Detroit can be this place of comfort that Yasser and his family can call home.
Thank you so much for opening your home, and, uh, the food was fantastic, and congratulations to... Yasser: Thank you.
...the youngest American.
Thank you so much.
[ Laughs ] Thank you very -- Thank you.
♪♪ Karam: Southeastern Michigan is home to the largest concentration of Arabs outside the Middle East, and we see that immigration has picked up in more recent years due to the refugee crisis.
But what's important to note is that people from the greater Syrian region began migrating to Detroit as early as the 1870s.
During this period, Arabs in Detroit where mostly peddlers and shopkeepers in what's now known today as Eastern Market.
At the turn of the 20th century, Detroit was a booming economy.
Migrants were drawn to the area from all over the world, including African-Americans from the American South, to begin working in the rising automotive factories.
But more recently, Detroit has a reputation for being economically depressed, especially in the wake of de-industrialization and manufacturing going overseas.
However, there's been efforts made by the city and local business owners to really invest in the city and to see it grow, not only in the Central Business District, but in outlying neighborhoods, as well.
And what we're finding is that Arab entrepreneurs are indeed adding to the revitalization efforts in the Detroit area.
Hashem: Hashems Nuts & Coffee started in 1959, overseas in Lebanon.
My father came here in 1977, and what we have today is four stores, an online market, and a spice warehouse.
We wholesale to coffee shops, tea shops all across the metro Detroit area.
We are most recognized for our Turkish coffee.
We use six beans from around the world and blend them with cardamom, which is imported from Guatemala.
They served it with cardamom to ease the effects of caffeine on the digestive system.
This is the cardamom.
Let it sit in your cheek and let it do its thing.
We're not just any store.
We are a hub for information for the Arab-American community.
People come in with land contracts and want us to read them because they don't read English.
They come here for advice, they come here for direction, they come here for a trustworthy opinion, and we pride ourselves on that.
Samuelsson: When I came to New York as a young, ambitious chef, you're looking for those small water holes that are yours.
Finding that coffee shop, finding that bakery, sandwich shops, restaurants -- are way beyond just serving people.
They're serving communities to have a chance to get together, talk to one another, help each other out, and you slowly start feeling this place of home.
Uh, I want to have some tea.
What should I have?
What's -- What's good?
My three favorites are the fem power, the blood orange, and the Yemeni tea.
So, I'm Habesh, very close to Yemen... Mm-hmm.
...so I'm gonna go with the Yemen tea.
You got it.
What's in the Yemen tea?
It's an herb mix that's mixed by Hashems in Dearborn.
Keeping it local.
Nour has this place called The Bottom Line.
The Bottom Line is part-owned by Nour, but also part-owned by an African-American family.
It's really a good example of the Arab-American community and African-American community working together.
I love the whole place.
[ Laughter ] How long you guys been open?
Ballout: Two-and-a-half, three years.
So, we're in what is historically called the Cass Corridor.
Cass Corridor is, like, very fastly, like, being gentrified.
It's now called Midtown.
And one of the things that I'm extremely invested in is making sure that black-owned businesses, like, make it in the city and also to create spaces where my Arab community and, like, this black community that's, like, neighboring Dearborn -- which is, like, the place I grew up... Yeah.
...all come together here.
And I really want to be a part of creating this, like, vision for the space where people can come to and, like, feel safe.
Yeah, that's why I love the vibe here.
It's always so, like, you can interact with people or you can just hide off in a corner and do your own thing.
How did you build up all that energy, passion, drive?
That's a lot.
You know, people can be really inspired by you.
Like, this place, this space, these people are my home.
I was born in Lebanon.
I was in Lebanon when war was happening, and I was in Lebanon when the revolution happened.
I moved to the States shortly after that.
So, like -- I'm, like, obsessed with the idea of home, and I think that's a fact for a lot of folks that are within diaspora, within my generation.
I mean, as an immigrant, I can relate to that, right?
'Cause you always question -- And I was adopted and an immigrant, so I'm like, "Is my home Ethiopia?
Is my home Sweden?
Is my home, you know, New York?"
You know what I mean?
Like, this idea of home, where is home, and it's -- it's a different answer for you than it is for anyone else.
You're so clear in your drive.
You know, it's very empowering to listen to you.
I'm an artist, I'm Arab-American, I'm also Muslim, and, like, I'm also queer, and so, to me, creating this space is creating a space where I feel safe... Yeah.
...where people can come to and, like, explore their identities...
...and not feel like they have to choose.
Like, I don't have to choose between being Arab and being queer.
I don't have to choose between being Arab and being American.
Intertwine them, yes.
Like, how can you have these, like, dual identities?
How can you be this intersectional human being... Mm-hmm.
...and still, like, maintaining this, like, deep culture of, like, where you come from -- like the hospitality, the food... Sure.
...the, um, how we exist as Arab, like our ways of thinking.
Samuelsson: Nour is an inspiration.
The way Nour built the place, the energy is so pure.
I do feel like a lot of people are searching for, "How do I fit in?
Society might not always be so kind to me, but when you come to The Bottom Line, you're welcome."
One thing that has always resonated with me was my parents telling me... [ Speaking native language ] What does that mean?
Which means, if you forget where you come from... Yeah.
...you forget yourself and you lose yourself.
♪♪ Navigating dual identity is something that all of us are doing at some point of our lives, specifically refugees and immigrants.
The first generations, parents comes in and just get a job and try to get the kids into school.
The next generation is constantly, "Am I American?
Am I Arab-American?
What am I?
How do I fit in?"
This idea about belonging in the new country.
And it could be a lifelong journey.
But food is probably one of the best ways of expressing that and understanding that.
Samuelsson: What is your favorite dish there to make?
Lena: It's really hard for me to answer that question.
It -- It's like asking a mother to choose her favorite child.
I don't -- I could never choose my favorite.
[ Both laugh ] Lena is this incredible, young, talented pastry chef that works in one of the top restaurants in Detroit -- Selden Standard.
Tell me a little bit about Selden.
What type of joint is it?
So, it's a rustic style, small plates.
Um, we have very tight-knit relationships with Michigan farmers, Detroit farmers.
We try to keep it in the fam.
I think it's -- it's more on the simplistic side.
'Cause we -- we try to take, like, three ingredients and make them the star.
One of the Lebanese desserts on the menu at Selden Standard right now is called halawa.
Traditionally, it's a sugar base that is taken to caramel stage, 240 degrees, and while you're whipping tahini, you pour in the syrup, and it gets to a nougat-type texture.
I also did a honey version, and it reminded me of a Snickers bar, so I dipped it in chocolate, and now I call it my Lebanese Snickers bar.
Have your parents been to the restaurant?
I actually gave them a limit on how many times they're allowed to go in there because they abuse it.
I love it!
So, we're leaving Downtown Detroit, and we're heading up to Dearborn.
I know that Dearborn has a large concentration... Mm-hmm.
Is there a difference between the Arab-American community in Detroit versus Dearborn?
Do you think they're similar?
The Arab population in Dearborn is definitely more concentrated, but one of the things that I love most about Detroit is it's melting-pot society.
There's so many different people.
If anything, you stand out if you're different.
And people like the -- you attract people because you're different... Yeah.
...and they -- they always, like, hold you high, and -- and they love it.
And I-I love Detroit.
What's -- What's the Dearborn community like?
Uh, family, I would say.
Everyone knows each other.
It's everywhere you go, you're gonna see someone you know.
I-I can't go anywhere without running into a person I know.
-To your cuz?
-Yeah, to a cousin.
To a cousin's cousin.
Everyone knows each other.
So, Lena, you have Lebanese background.
Were you born here or Lebanon?
I was born here, in Dearborn.
So you were born, bred, buttered... uh, olive-oiled in Dearborn?
My mom is a convert.
She was born in Boston.
And my dad's family is all Lebanese.
We kind of all, as a family -- we're always in the kitchen.
[ Laughs ] That's awesome.
Here we are!
This is nice.
This is a nice neighborhood.
Can't wait to meet Mom.
-I know, right?
They can't wait to meet you.
How are you?
♪♪ I usually just do like an "X" motion... Samuelsson: Mm-hmm.
...so you get even on all sides.
Do you want to get in there?
So, the most important thing -- Did your grandmother approve on this dough or what?
What's going on here?
Whose recipe is this?
My mom made the meat mix.
It's in the family.
So, I assume there's a lot of cabbage in here, then, or...?
[ Laughter ] Potatoes.
And potatoes, of course.
You know, all the Irish ingredients.
We're gonna make this dish, lahme bajin, which is almost like a -- I would say a Lebanese pizza or a Lebanese pie.
Is this similar to a pizza dough?
Yeah, it's -- it's a straight dough.
Samuelsson: How are you?
What are we making?
You want me do it?
Show us the way you do it.
Or you do it?
Do it, please.
I heard, like, the first pizza is from, like, Egypt, like the region -- like flatbread.
So, this is similar to that, right?
Yeah, it was made on accident.
Someone just left out porridge for too long, and it turned into -- into dough.
So, what do you have?
Is this beef or lamb?
Any spices in here?
There's sumac, salt, and pepper.
I love sumac.
It has that beautiful -- You can just toss that in the meat.
Just throw that right in there.
It has that beautiful sort of citrus notes in the back.
So, what are we doing here?
What is this called?
It's a little stretch and pinch.
That's a lahme, and this is the hajin.
-Lahme is meat.
-Lahme is meat.
-Lahme is meat?
Lahme the meat.
Can we go -- Can I work next to you?
We can work together.
Ethiopian and Lebanon works together.
We can do it.
We can do it.
I believe in you.
[ Lena laughs ] So, who came first?
Who came from Lebanon?
Man: My, uh, brother.
They call him Uncle Sam.
[ Laughter ] He got the rest-- the restaurant.
Lena: Uncle Sam.
Is this in the '50s or...?
-Little bit... -'68.
Man #2: The reason she crimps it and makes the crust is because the fat renders and it'll run out into the pan.
But if you do the crust this way, it's stays in there... Yeah.
...and you get all that juicy yumminess... Beautiful.
...just baked into the bread.
And she's insisting on putting pine nuts in it.
Well, these pine nuts are from Lebanon.
These are from my jeddo's garden -- my grandfather's.
Picked them in Lebanon.
It's in a pine cone, and he sits there with a rock, just breaking them.
-And crack it.
So, how long did it take you to make this much, to open this much pine nuts?
Maybe seven, eight hours.
[ Lena chuckles ] And what's your favorite dish, Lebanese dish?
[ Laughter ] Lena: They typically take, like, 10 to 12 minutes, but we're gonna -- we're going based on color.
We like that nice, gold, deep, flavorful color.
Our finished product.
Came out pretty nice.
-I like it.
Samuelsson: It's not a complex dish.
It's, like, actually -- I like it.
It's just an easy snack, something you maybe eat before dinner or in between lunch and dinner.
It's just really, really good.
I have one more thing that I brought to you from Selden.
Kanafeh is a very traditional Lebanese dessert.
You'll see it at every family get-together.
Is that a little phyllo on top?
You start with shredded phyllo dough, and then, traditionally, it's made with feta and mozzarella, but I did goat cheese instead because goat cheese gives it a more creamy texture and a tangy flavor, which I love.
And then I do a little quenelle of ashta.
Ashta is a Lebanese-style clotted cream.
And it's flavored with orange blossom and rose water, as well.
'Cause this has almost like ricotta texture, right?
Some, uh, places cheat, and they just buy ricotta and flavor it with orange blossom and rose, but -- But I don't think your grandmother would, like, even let that pass by.
Oh, he-- Say, "We're not doing that."
So, when you get that gooey cheese... Mm-hmm.
...that's what you want, right there.
And that's -- that's something that -- Probably a majority of the Lebanese desserts are filled with ashta.
Do you infuse a lot of Lebanese flavors into dishes, into -- I try to, but then I try not to, as well, 'cause I don't want to be so, you know, predictable.
[ Laughs ] Because people are expecting -- -Tell her.
-I love that!
People are expecting, "Oh, the Lebanese girl is gonna make a kafta."
Man #2: I think you should marry it.
It took me a long time to start cooking with Ethiopian ingredients... Oh, yeah?
...because I didn't really know how to incorporate it.
It took time, 'cause it's still for an American audience mostly.
-Yeah, it's new.
But I don't care.
When you make desserts like this... Ah!
This is so good.
This is worth going back and forth.
Uh, and more Lebanon in your dessert.
This is -- This is everything.
[ Indistinct chatter, laughter ] One of the beautiful things about being a chef is that you can express yourself and think about your identity through food.
There will always be some Swedish pickling in my food, there will always be berbere at the table, and there will always be something from Harlem.
When I taste Lena's food, I kind of feel the same thing -- constantly this idea between Lebanese ingredients, Lebanese techniques, married into these incredible pastries that are so delicious, that are more kind of New American or French in a way, but the way she combines this is very unique, and it makes Lena's desserts some of the best in Detroit city.
♪♪ Hakim: Detroit is known for its coneys, Detroit-style pizza, and then I think shawarma is right there with it.
It's primarily cooked on a spit.
It can contain chicken, it can contain beef, lamb, or some mixture of beef and lamb.
It's usually served in pita bread, topped with any number of things -- onions, pickles, tahini, or toum, which is the garlic sauce.
It's a street food in the Middle East, where you go to any street vendor, and they'll slice off some shawarma for you, and you walk with it.
The number of Middle Eastern restaurants in Detroit -- they're everywhere.
Every suburb, especially in Macomb, Wayne, and Oakland County, has at least a couple.
It's that prevalent, and everyone has their favorite, and everyone will argue with you over which one is best.
♪♪ Woman: Sanden play this.
Man: Oh, do they?
I didn't know.
[ Indistinct conversation ] Chicken, anyone?
[ Laughter ] That was good!
That was good!
You want beef, chicken, veg?
Chicken or beef?
Uh, I could take the baby.
Music has always been a big deal, of course, in Detroit, and I'm meeting Mona and Tunde.
Their studio is in this church.
It's cold, but the spirit of the place is incredible.
Chicken, beef, or veg?
I see you on that chicken.
Growing up and eating shawarma on the streets of Damascus, it's this incredible thing because it's like all of these different elements coming into one, and I feel like that's a really good representation of the world.
You can kind of wrap everything in a pita and make it good.
You got yours?
Food is this funny thing.
Like, you can call something Lebanese food or Syrian food, but all of these arbitrary, political, nation-state lines, they're so modern, and so for somebody to say, "Oh, that's Syrian food," or, "That's Lebanese food," I'm just like, "You know what?
It's food, and it's delicious, and let's enjoy it together because that's when it's best."
Samuelsson: I'm an immigrant.
I'm an African immigrant to this country, so love to see African-Americans and Arab-Americans coming together and creating something that is very unique and inspiring for other communities to collaborate and work out together.
Woman #2: Right.
Haydar: I think we have a lot to learn from one another.
Like, it's so important to come together, and I think that's one of the things that has been most inspiring about this moment in time.
Samuelsson: That's amazing to have each other as community.
And everybody's so talented.
It's really, really nice.
I feel like being from Michigan keeps you humble.
[ Laughs ] I am a Syrian-American Muslim.
I was raised in Flint, Michigan.
I'm a poet turned rapper.
♪ All around the world, love women, every shading ♪ ♪ Wrap my hijab ♪ ♪ Wrap, wrap my hijab ♪ ♪ Keep swaggin' my hijabi ♪ -♪ Swaggin' -♪ Keep swaggin' my hijabi ♪ ♪ S-Swaggin' my hijabi ♪ ♪ Swaggin', swaggin' my hijabi ♪ ♪♪ You guys worked on that here?
Yeah, this is the space.
This is like [laughs] where we had all the sweat and tears and, like -- Yeah.
How did your -- your project come about?
Mona hit me up.
I knew she was this, like, amazing spoken-word artist, and she's like, "I want to do an album."
Yeah, I knew I needed somebody who would understand where I came from, somebody who understood the story of what it is to be a non-white person in America.
We just kind of worked it out, and I feel like we spent at least two weeks here?
We kind of lived on that couch for a hot minute.
It says something -- all over the world, when you come from Detroit... People know it.
...when people think about cars and music, from Motown to -- Aretha Franklin.
Or even -- even house music, right?
-House music, yeah.
So, Aretha and all of that stuff.
You know, maybe people don't expect a female rapper with a Muslim spin on it.
I think it startles people, especially the fact that I was pregnant in the video.
I think people were like, "What is she doing?
Like, that's not safe."
No, that's awesome.
[ Laughter ] So, what's the comments been, like, both from friends and family, but also your community?
Because you're really representing something new and really, uh, forward-thinking.
I think it's beautiful.
You know, there's been a really funny mix.
So, like, white supremacists, Islamophobes, xenophobes, people who are anti-immigrant, anti-refugee, really coming on my case, being like, "Oh, she's just a mouthpiece for ISIS.
She's trying to bring Sharia law."
-They went there with it?
Death -- Death threats.
Oh, my God.
I'm so sorry.
You know, people in my e-mail -- Yeah, I know.
That is crazy.
And then, on the other side, you have some Muslims who -- who believe that music is forbidden, who are like, "Yeah, she shouldn't be doing this."
"She's not even really Muslim."
You know, similar to how, like, food is very emotional.
People feel something about it.
They feel like, "It should sound like this," or, "It shouldn't sound like this."
"It should feel like this."
"It shouldn't feel like this."
And, like, food is the same way, And so, for me, like, being somebody who loves food and loves music, I'm sort of here, like, living in that world, trying to find a good balance, trying to just find my own rhythm... Yeah, yeah, yeah.
...my own little sweet spot where -- So, you've got your critics on both sides... -Yeah!
-...but guess what?
You can thank them both 'cause they're gonna make you better.
You're gonna just, like -- Yeah.
When you kiss your Grammy, you're gonna be like, "Peace."
And I'm just, like -- I'm just out here, living my best life, you know?
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
I think cities with a little bit of an edge create love.
People have to work together, people have to collaborate.
And from collaboration, I think, comes real love, come diamonds, you know?
You get that -- that power when people get together.
♪♪ So, something that's really important to know about the Arab community worldwide is that not all Arabs are Muslims, and not all Muslims are Arabs.
The Arab-American community in metro Detroit is exceptionally diverse.
In terms of religion, we have a large community of Maronite Catholics from Lebanon, Orthodox Christians from Syria, Chaldeans from Iraq.
The community is incredibly diverse in other ways, too, especially in terms of generation.
So, not only do we have newly arrived immigrants, but they live alongside third- and fourth-generation Americans like myself.
The Lebanese community is known for its historic community, as well as its new arrivals.
So, we have this big mix of new and old.
Eid: This here is, no two ways about it, one of the greatest places in Detroit.
It's been in existence from the '20s.
They open at 2:00 in the morning, and by 8:00, everything is done.
My name is Sameer Eid.
I am about the oldest restaurant that's been run by its owner in Michigan.
When I first opened the Phoenicia restaurant, I remember very well there were three restaurants in the state of Michigan for Lebanese food.
Right now, there got to be over 200 of them.
How are you?
How are you?
Ever since 1973, I've been coming down here, so I have dealt with the grandparents of these kids' in their 20s operations now and their parents, and, uh, I enjoy that.
Give me four of them.
-Four of them.
When I come here, it -- it just gives me the feeling -- like great memories of the small place that I used to go to in Beirut.
Only, in Lebanon, everything was seasonal.
Here, you can get anything you want all year around.
There is no seasonal stuff anymore.
You don't got the big boxes of the cukes, do you?
Not the big ones.
I got the small ones, so -- Why don't you, you know?
I got these ones right there.
No, no, no, no.
By now, all these wholesalers know me, and they know me so well that, when I ask them for lettuce of a certain kind, they will tell me, "We have it, but not for you," because they know how fussy I am.
And I attribute my success to this fussiness of everything.
I just want to see how much seed's in there.
Give me a case.
Give me a case of those.
Granddad, mayor of the Lebanese community, is Sameer.
[ Grunts ] It feels so good being a customer.
[ Chuckles ] Sameer knows every customer.
He knows their kids.
He might even know their grandkids at this point.
Samuelsson: How long have you had the restaurant?
Uh, August 1, 1971.
He's extremely successful.
Sameer never stops evolving his business.
He goes to the market at 4:00 in the morning.
He knows everyone at the market.
He still picks his ingredients.
He sends stuff back.
That by itself is amazing.
This looks delicious, by the way.
This is what we call fattoush.
I love fattoush.
This -- Saab: No Lebanese meal be complete without a little bit of olive oil... -Yeah.
...to add to your baba ghanoush and to your hummus.
We -- Him and me, probably, if you squeeze us, you -- you don't get blood.
You get olive oil out of... Saad: Me too, me too.
[ Laughs ] I grew up under the nozzle of an oil press.
The baba ghanoush gets the smokiness of the eggplant.
It's smoked, yes.
They charred it really, really well.
I think it's the best baba ghanoush I've ever had.
Well, I'm glad you enjoyed it.
The smokiness -- But this is the reason.
Our baba ghanoush, we make it from fresh eggplant that we charcoal here.
But when you -- when you left as a young man, Lebanon, what type of, um, country was Lebanon in the '60s?
Yeah, an absolutely gorgeous country, very alive, very gorgeous.
It was a -- It was a wonderful, wonderful country.
And I came in 1961, went to school in Denton, Texas -- North Texas State University.
I don't look it.
But I've forgot my hat and my -- You look -- Hey.
[Chuckling] my -- my boots.
I forgot my boots.
We're missing the cowboy boots, but you could definitely be from Texas.
♪♪ ♪♪ The food is delicious.
The food is... Glad you're enjoying it.
This is the best thing he has right here.
Menal: That's the best.
This here is Lebanese sausages that I make from only legs of USDA choice lamb.
That's hashweh -- ground lamb with onions.
I love it.
And -- And here we have the star dish, right?
This is, here, the kibbeh nayyeh.
That's the queen of the table.
It's -- It's wonderful.
Eat a piece of the mint with it.
Some people put some onion with it.
Take a piece of bread, the soft bread.
Put a lot of olive oil in it and...
Lot of olive oil.
You don't have enough olive oil.
-I knew you would say that.
[ Laughter ] I see not Lebanese food coming here now.
Now I see -- I'm like -- I'm smelling Texas now.
I'm like... Do not use the sauce on it before you taste them.
Taste them first.
If you think they need sauce, then do that.
Otherwise, don't do that.
Samuelsson: The menu is true Lebanese, and then you have the pork ribs.
And I love it, the fact that he dared to do that and he just wanted to, like, eat like Texas.
He spent time in Texas, He likes barbecue, so it's like, "All right.
I'm gonna put some pork in my Lebanese restaurant."
The rub is great.
Yeah, it is delicious.
I just wish that people who don't know anything about, um, Arab culture, I wish they could come eat here, stay here for a week.
Anyone that has fear for immigrants, uh, they should come to Dearborn, and they'll see nothing but small businesses and people working together, and that's what I've seen this week.
You know, our governor started something called Business Leadership Awards.
Last year, he gave awards to two Middle Eastern business leaders who employ a lot of people.
He wanted to change the false perception that people think immigrants come here... Nice.
...to take away jobs, when, in fact, they are becoming owners and creating jobs.
Yeah, that's right.
It's the land of opportunity.
When you come to the United States, you start seeing things that literally don't exist in our part of the world.
You have security.
You have rights.
You've lived now longer in America than you have in Lebanon, right?
I'm more American than Lebanese, by far.
That's what I wanted to know.
So what do you...
Right now, as American as apple pie and Chevrolet.
When you think about Sameer, he's really the embodiment of the American dream, that idea that you can from a different country with different language and different culture and make it in the new country.
I know he works really, really hard at it.
He's created many, many jobs for the Arab-American community here, but he also has this incredible level of pride for Detroit.
His restaurant serves so many guests.
And when they leave, they leave with a little bit more knowledge of Arab American food.
The pure Lebanese food is better Lebanese food than I've had in Lebanon.
I've been to Beirut twice.
I felt like that was the best Lebanese food I've ever had.
It was incredible, impeccable.
Thank you so much for showing me an amazing time.
It's my pleasure.
And your -- your journeys are very inspirational.
-Such a delight to meet you.
To 47 more years of business.
I-I'm planning on 50, but, eh, I'll settle for 40.
[ Laughter ] ♪♪ Samuelsson: Hi, everybody.
-Welcome to our kitchen.
-How are you?
Thank you for being here.
It's an honor to meet you.
How are you?
How are you?
This is Nahdie Shukr.
How are you?
How are you?
Her son's wedding is tomorrow.
Thank you, thank you.
Gonna be a big wedding.
Are you excited?
It's her oldest.
What's his name?
And so I heard, like, couple of people are coming to the wedding?
Oh, not a couple.
All right -- A big one.
Samuelsson: I'm at Byblos, which is this catering hall to many, many weddings and big occasion in Dearborn.
And Nahdie, she's the chef.
We are making kibbeh, which is on the menu tomorrow for Mustafa's wedding.
Yeah, raw meat.
I'm from Ethiopia, and we have a very similar dish called kitfo.
It's also raw meat.
Please teach me how to make this.
She's gonna walk you right through.
So, what do we have here?
What's in this?
So this is the base?
Yeah, this is -- Cumin.
And this is, uh... Chili pepper.
Yeah, we mix it.
We be like that.
Are you nervous for the wedding?
You think it's -- No.
I'm so excited.
I can pour for you.
Oh, you dump the meat in there?
So this is beef, right?
Yeah, this is the beef.
Halal beef, 100%.
All the people in Dearborn eat halal.
Samuelsson: Kibbeh is just almost like a -- I would say a Lebanese raw-beef tartare.
First of all, eating raw meat -- the meat is the cleanest, the freshest already.
And, you know, there's a certain style that you have to do it.
Yeah, I'll need some more water.
When I make for 700 people, we make it -- or we mix it for a big, uh, machine.
How many -- How many kids do you have?
Well, your kids -- They were born all here or -- They're all born here.
They were all born in -- in America.
At home, did you speak Arabic at home, or do you speak English at home?
The kids answer back in English or Arabic?
No, in Arabic.
Oh, they do?
If they answered for me in English, I'm not answer.
"I'll not answer back."
You can taste it before I put it on the dish.
Thank you very much.
And now you're gonna cook it well-done?
No, we leave it alone.
No cook it.
[ Laughs ] ♪♪ No salt?
This is beautiful.
This is so nice.
This is fantastic.
This is really, really good.
And you know what I love about Middle Eastern food?
It's very flavorful.
It's not super-spicy.
It's just so much flavor.
♪♪ Little pepper.
A little heat, a little jalapeño.
Nahdie got it.
I got the best teacher ever, and our kibbeh -- It's so delicious.
You're not gonna share.
Like, you're gonna eat all that.
I want to invite you for my son's wedding tomorrow.
Oh, thank you very much.
See you at the wedding tomorrow.
Thank you so much.
Thank you, thank you.
And all of you guys, wel-- more than welcome.
♪♪ Joe: Tonight, what's happening is my nephew's wedding.
It's a big wedding.
It's over 700 people we're -- we're serving tonight.
Okay, everybody got towels, gloves on?
-Okay, let's get to work.
Joe: I'm the owner of Byblos banquet hall.
I've been in Dearborn since '79, my hometown.
I was born in Lebanon.
I came to America.
I was 13 years old.
We started our family business, originally in the gas-station business.
But since my childhood, I loved cooking.
I like it so much, I started cooking at home and learning.
We do 100% halal food.
We do all kind of weddings, and -- and the majority of the events, they come, and they love our food.
They like the -- the Middle Eastern food.
Let's do the hummus.
I have a policy -- When we serve the food, I don't allow nobody to talk unless we have to so we can concentrate on the looks of the plate and the quality that's gonna come out in front of the guests.
Nahdie: Hummus we like to call "the bride of the table," so if you don't have hummus at a wedding, it's kind of like not having a bride.
Joe: All right, make sure you put the pomegranates on the baba ghanoush.
♪♪ Wash these with the strainer.
Put them in the cold water.
Have them ready for me over there.
Okay, we got to make a little bit of tabbouleh.
The tabbouleh contains, is chopped parsley, diced tomatoes, and we got some chopped onion, green onion.
On top of that, we use homemade dry mint, crushed wheat.
Tabbouleh has to have 100% olive oil, and I get lot of my olive oil from overseas.
This is the lemon juice here.
And at the end, you add a little salt to it, but you don't add a lot, because that lemon juice, that gives it kind of sour-y, salty taste.
And a box of diced tomatoes.
It's getting close to go time.
♪♪ Samuelsson: I've never been to a Lebanese wedding.
It's something that I've always wanted to do.
Even in the lobby, you can start feeling the energy.
Samuelsson: Did you come directly to Dearborn?
Joe: Directly from Lebanon to Dearborn.
The majority of the people in the community knows me very well, and, uh, it's like a -- like a -- you know -- It's a tight community, a small community, and everybody knows everybody.
So, uh... Well, congratulations.
A big day today.
Well, thank you very much.
It is for my nephew.
So, he's a doctor, and his wife-to-be -- she's a pharmacist.
And they have a lot of friends and co-workers and big family on both sides.
You guys are gonna enjoy it.
-How are you?
-This is our dad.
-Nice to meet you.
How are you?
Samuelsson: We're guests of Nahdie and Joe, the organizer, the caterer to many, many weddings and big occasions in Dearborn.
We're gonna be just going this way, Chef.
I'm so excited!
This is gonna be the funnest -- This has been the most anticipated wedding for a year.
I sat with Joe's family, and they presented this incredible meze platter.
The hummus was important, of course, the pita with everything.
How is everything going over here, you guys?
We good, good.
How's the food tasting?
Very, very good.
Thank you very much.
It is so cool because, there's no alcohol, right?
It's a Muslim/Lebanese wedding.
But people are pumped -- the joy, the spirit.
And I was just watching this wedding...theater.
Man: Can we have your attention, please?
Introducing the king and the queen of the night.
Ladies and gentlemen, let's give a big round of applause.
[ Speaking Arabic ] ♪♪ ♪♪ Samuelsson: As I look around the room at this incredible wedding, I think about the couple, their future together, the excitement together.
Now I have a little better understanding from my humble seat about this incredible, complex, layered, but super-successful community -- from Yasser's family that just got here...
Welcome to America.
[ Laughter ] Samuelsson: ...to Sameer, that's been here for almost 50 years... Everybody is an immigrant of this country.
[ Laughter ] ...to Nour and Lena, that are young and modern.
So many small businesses that provide an economic backbone for refugee immigrants... Fresh bread.
...setting up the next generation of Arab Americans that now are Americans and are contributing with their passion for America but also for their own culture.
There you go.
I love it, love it!
I feel really lucky to be invited in and also be able to show to the world how beautiful this community really is.
NEXT TIME on "No Passport Required"... Samuelsson: What makes New Orleans so different is really its influence from all these ethinic cultures.
Africa, Spanish, French, Southern, all of it.
Now you also have the Vietnamese-American community on the food map in one of the best food cities in the country.
This is your soul food.
This is you-- Woman: Yes.
It's from the motherland because I've always had this.
An incredible immigrant-American story.
That's the best cheers ever!
This is so delicious.
[ Woman speaks Arabic ] [ Laughter ] Woman: "To your health."
Woman #2: Yeah, that means "to your health."
By the way, I have to try some of this.
-Gonna put it on?
-Just a little.
He's -- He's warning you.
He's like, "That's very hot."
[ Laughter ] Man: Is it -- Is it hot?
Yeah, it is hot.
[ Chuckles ] -I-I got it.
I don't think you have to eat for the rest of the day, right?
No, you won't for, like, the next two weeks.
[ Laughter ]