Mahane Yehuda: A Tour of the Middle Eastern Market

Posted by Iris Hami

Mar 18, 2009 1:24:42 AM

One of the greatest joys of being in the Middle East is the fantastic food. While there are supermarkets spread across Israel that could handle all of your shopping needs, it's so much more fun to go to the shuk!

The most famous shuk in Israel is Mahane Yehuda in Jerusalem. This open-air farmer's market is full of noise, color, and flavors floating in the air. It is the ultimate sensory experience. Yalla, let's go take a quick visual trip of this vibrant shopping locale...

The first place your nose will draw you to is the Marzipan bakery on the Agripas Street side of the market. You will not only fall in love with the smell of the freshly baked chocolate rugelach, you will not be able to stop popping them into your mouth! Take a look at the wonderful treats the bakery has to offer:

You can also pick up some great middle eastern breads at a few more stands throughout the shuk. The one I always go to (pictured below) is near the middle of the main street of Mahane Yehuda itself:

Another essential stop in the shuk is at Uzi Eli's stand with freshly made spreads, sauces, and drinks made from the best of herbs and other ingredients available. You must try their samples of the green Yemenite schug and the hilbeh. To drink, try the Rambam mix for a little sweet almond taste of health.

The Jerusalem etrog medicine man (above, center) and his natural, delicious salads with medicinal properties (below).

Pick up some fish to grill, broil, or pan fry. You can make a delicious Moroccan or Yemenite style fish, or just throw it on the barbecue if you want to create a traditional Israeli summer meal.

There are plenty of shops that offer one of the more famous local ingredients, olives. Choose from Moroccan Black olives, large Stuffed Green olives, and more. They will also sell various pickled vegetables on the side, such as pickled eggplant and cucumbers.

Check out the colorful spices that are the staples of any great local dish.

Of course, the star items at the shuk are none other than the gorgeous, local farm grown fruits and vegetables.

Well, what are you waiting for? Go out and get some great deals at the Mahane Yehuda shuk. Try the following recipe for a yummy shuk-inspired refreshing lunch.

The Shuk Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of baby field greens
  • 1 bunch of mint, finely chopped
  • 1/2 kilo (approx. 1 lb) of strawberries, stemmed and halved
  • 2 cucumbers, chopped
  • juice from 3 lemons (save the peel for zest)
  • 1/4 kilo (approx. 1/2 lb) of candied pecans, crushed
  • 1/4 kilo (approx. 1/2 lb) of feta or bulgarian cheese, crumbled
  • pure olive oil
  • za'atar seasoning

Method:

Rinse all vegetables and fruit before preparation. Pat dry. Toss the first five ingredients together in a large bowl. Place the candied pecans inside of a paper bag and crush. Add the pecans and crumbled cheese into the salad mix. Add the olive oil and za'atar, to taste, and toss again. Serve and enjoy. Beteavon!

Topics: Culture and Heritage, Israel Travel