Syrian Artist Settled in Shenyang After Traveling to 26 Cities in China

There is a coffee shop named Nasomatto in the coffee culture street of South Market in Shenyang. Decorated in black and white, with colorful Egyptian blankets, shell-made plates, and clusters of Damascus roses, the shop exudes a rich Arabian style and a unique artistic atmosphere, helping it stand out in the bustling South Market filled with trendy shops.

The proprietor of this coffee shop is Naseem, a Syrian who has settled in Shenyang for four years. Naseem first came to Shenyang in 2010 and visited 26 Chinese cities including Chengdu and Guangzhou over a decade before deciding to settle in the vibrant city of Shenyang. Naseem expressed, “If I need to describe Shenyang in one word, I think ‘warm’ is the most appropriate. The hospitality, inclusiveness, simplicity, and openness of Shenyang locals give me a warm feeling.” In particular, he appreciates their emphasis on relationships and family. “Every friend in Shenyang has provided me with a lot of help. They are really like my brothers or sisters, making me feel the warmth of family.”

“I visited many cities in China, but my favorite is Shenyang City, so I chose to live here and start a business. Since coffee culture is popular in Syria, I decided to open a coffee shop in Shenyang to share Syrian coffee culture with the people I like in Shenyang,” Naseem explained.

Naseem, who has worked as a fashion designer and painter, treats each cup of coffee as a work of art and enjoys the process. “The method of making Syrian washed coffee is quite novel for Chinese people. It involves selecting the right coffee beans, roasting them by hand or with use of a machine, grinding them finely, and then adding water to boil them. The temperature control, the ratio of water to coffee powder, and the stirring techniques are particular, which can only be mastered through practice.” Naseem introduced these while holding a pure copper hammer Arabic coffee pot he brought from Syria. He slowly poured the coffee into a porcelain cup, put a rose, date palms, orange slices, and Middle Eastern dessert baklava on a mother-of-pearl tray, and then the “Syrian Baklava Set” (Syrian coffee plus baklava) was completed. The coffee is usually accompanied by a vibrant rose, as Naseem said, “Coffee and roses go hand in hand in Syria.”

Naseem uses plates as “drawing boards” for artistic creations in his leisure time, drawing with moist coffee powder. After a swipe and a touch of his forefinger, a vivid eagle appeared on the plate. Then he used a toothpick to lightly sketch a galloping horse in the abdominal area of the eagle. Naseem expressed, “The favorite animals of Syrians are eagles and horses, and the favorite delicacy is coffee. This love has a traditional history, deeply ingrained in our cultural genes. I also want to use this method to introduce the culture of my hometown to Shenyang locals.”

Naseem’s enthusiasm for art is integrated into his coffee shop. He passionately shows the logo he designed to customers, and beneath the line drawing is the phrase “Peace & love” expressing his longing for peace. “I look forward to new friends walking into the shop every day, who can taste coffee while chatting with me about art and the past, present, and future of Shenyang,” said Naseem.

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