By Pafoua Yang

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Muslims throughout the world are celebrating Eid al-Adha, also known as the festival of sacrifice. The holiday can be compared to Christmas. Minneapolis bakeries have a crucial role in this religious holiday, including Halwo Kismayo and Grill.

Halwo Kismayo cooks 10,000 pounds of halwo every year for the holiday. Halwo is a caramelized dessert made of sugar, ghee or oil, cornstarch, cardamom and nutmeg. The treat is essential in every major Somali occasion, especially Eid al-Adha.

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(credit: CBS)

“It was hot in here and it was – the lines went all the way to the streets,” said Lee Magan, marketing manager for Halwo Kismayo. “Since we have a large Somali population in Minnesota, the demand is crazy.”

The dessert takes about three hours to make and costs $5 per pound. Businesses in Minneapolis like Halwo Kismayo ship the treats to states with larger populations of Somali residents, including Ohio and Utah.

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“We also ship internationally, we got an order from Iceland and the UK. Some people actually drive from Iowa, Nebraska, I had a guy came from Denver and bought five buckets,” Magan said.

The demand for halwo goes beyond the sugar crave. Magan said it’s about history, culture and nostalgia.

“You eat for holidays, weddings and when the taste is almost identical, it just brings you back,” Magan said.

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Several bakeries in the city that prepare their own halwo are listed below:

  • Hawlo Kismayo and Grill
  • Quruxlow Restaurant
  • Dur Dur Bakerty & Grocery
  • Hamdi Restaurant
  • Banadir Kitchen
  • Afrik Grocery
  • Towfiq Grocery
  • Metro Foods Halal Market
  • Barkhadle Store

Pafoua Yang