Culinary market tour in Jerusalem
No visit to Jerusalem would be complete without a trip to Mahan Yehuda Market, Jerusalem’s prominent marketplace.
Even before the tour started, I knew we were in for a treat.
We met our local guide David just outside the Mahane Yehuda Market, the largest market in Jerusalem. It was a busy Thursday afternoon, which was normal at this time of day in this bustling centre of food, drinks, shopping, bars and restaurants.
After a brief introduction to what we were about to experience we ventured on. Our first stop was at a spice stand owned by an Ethiopian immigrant. We learned about various exotic spices that had been introduced to Israel, through taste and smell. We were offered some local spirit served from a plain glass bottle – I was a little apprehensive at first, however I gave it a go and I wasn’t disappointed – it tasted like brandy.
We then moved along to another stand run by a local family where we sampled the famous Medjool dates. I like dates very much, but these were dates like no others I have tasted before. They were huge, very moist and creamy. It was very hard to stop at one – so “more-ish”
As we meandered through crowds of locals, doing their regular food shopping, we were introduced to a young Yemeni man who had settled in Israel. He had a food stand called “Jahnun Bar” where he made a pizza-like snack using freshly pan-cooked bases, topped with cooked meats, caramelised onions, herbs & spices and boiled egg. WOW – they were so tasty! It was such a great atmosphere in his little corner of this huge market, not only where his pastries delicious, but the lads preparing the snacks would sing and dance along to the loud music. It was so good, I went back a few days later for more.
As we continued, it was clear to see how many diverse cultures that had settled here and how their food played an important part in the Israeli way of life – just like the waves of immigrants in Australia.
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