A lot of my birthright experience was filled with history, history, and more history. I’m not in any way saying that I’m no fan of learning, but in all honesty, I would rather spend some of this precious time in Israel learning about foods stuffing my face with goodies. I mean, there is only so much by brain can retain before it explodes… and gets hungry!
We had the opportunity to get lost in the super busy Jerusalem Market, Mahane Yehuda (יהודה מחנה שוק), commonly referred to as “The Shuk”. This marketplace, originally all open-aired, now partially covered, is popular with both tourists and locals alike. The market is home to over 250 venders, including fresh fruits and vegetables, baked goods (which I would have loved to got my hands on), fish, meats, and cheeses, nuts, seeds, and spices, wines and liquors (oh, yummy!), and even clothing. And shoes. And housewares. And Judaica. Just about everything. I could have stayed there for hours.
But we were only given about 45 minutes. Complete bummer!
As we walked around, we were surrounded by falafel and schawarma stands, juice bars, cafes, and restaurants. Having a few felafel and schawarma pitas already on our travels, I really wanted to get my hands on:
1) chocolate rugelach
Chocolately, fudgy “cookies”. The absolute best. I instantly went into into a sugar coma the moment I bit into this sweet, sweet treat. Rugelach are like super duper rich cookies, with a flaky outside, and moist semi-sweet inside. The Shuk is known for it’s superb rugelach, as they are different from any other rugelach I’ve ever had, practically oozing with it’s chocolately filling. I can honestly say the rugelach in America just doesn’t cut it anymore.
2) fresh jerusalem breads and pitas
These pita’s are the most awesome thing to stuff with cold cuts, olives, and cheese, or whatever else your heart desires. Why not put some hummus and felafel inside? My absolute favorite!
5) spices and beans
After wandering throughout the market, with my mouth more than salivating, we headed off to a nearby park and got right to it- eating that is.
And sliding down the Monster Slide. Look at that thing! SO UNEXPECTED!
Tip: If you want to explore the market, try to stay away on Thursdays and Fridays, as the marketplace is filled with shoppers stocking up for Shabbat. The Shuk is closed from Friday afternoon to Sunday morning for Shabbat.
Tours: If you want to make sure you don’t miss any goodies, you can opt to take a self-guided tour, called “Shuk Bites”. For 99 shekels (approx $26 US), you get a ticket that includes both a map with a pre-planned route through the market and a punch card which allows you little tastes of a variety of foods and drinks. Other guided tours include a bakery tour, a wine and cheese tour, chef-guided tasting tour, and a shuk cooking workshop. I really wish we had enough time to do this.
Considering the tensions between different ethnic, religious, and social groups in Israel, it is fascinating that the Shuk is one of the few places of sanity in the whole city. It’s true: food always brings people together.
And a few more treats from the Shuk:
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YUM!!!! I miss those olives!!!
same here, I want to go back just for the food!!!
Agness Walewinder says
Yummy! I would definitely go for one fresh jerusalem piece of bread and two pitas for breakfast, then halva for a snack and olives with salad for a dinner! 🙂
sounds like a pretty good day of local jerusalem food! 🙂 Have you ever had halva?! It is AMAZING!
Peter Lee says
It looks like you had a great time at this local market and yes 45 min is very less a time to explore all this area. It is quite appreciable that you manged to cover all the food stalls. I loved the Halva stall most.
yes the Halva was SO good- wish I could have tasted more, but as we both said- I was very limited on time!
Gerard ~ GQ trippin says
Love food markets whereever I go. This Jerusalem market had me at rugelach. Then lost me at olives. I'll have to see it for myself one day.
Love this post, the photography is incredible!!!! YUM!!!!!
Doesn't it just make you want to eat it all up!?!
Sarah P | The Travel says
This looks so delicious! Jerusalem is definitely on my travel list! And I would kill to try through Jerusalem breads & pitas! I'm SUCH a bread fanatic (it's not good for the waistline, let me tell you!) BUT there's nothing quite as satisfying as bread!
I agree- fresh bread is totally my thing! I definitely ate way too much when I was over there!
Charli | Wanderluste says
Local markets are one of my favourite things to visit. It's amazing what delicious local delicacies you can find, along with local knowledge and friendly faces!
So true! Markets are a great place to learn about some local hotspots!
Great pics – thanks for sharing 🙂
Thanks for stopping by!
Go and explore- there are so many tasty foods your eyes (and mouth!) won't even know where to begin!