Wednesday, July 04, 2012
The obligatory market post: Mahane-Yehuda market in Jerusalem
Which food lover doesn't like visiting a proper food market when travelling? I believe there's none. Here are some of my photos from the visit to the main market in Jerusalem exactly one week ago.
Also known as Machne Yehuda or simply the Shuk, Mahane-Yehuda market is one of the symbols of Jerusalem, the capital of Israel (and one of the non-religious kind). The market dates back to the Ottoman period (the first stalls began their trade at the end of the 19th century), and has seen several redesigns and developments during the last 100+ years. Today the market covers a rather large plot of land, and hosts stalls that offer everything from flowers to household goods to art to food. We, the foodbloggers, were obviously focusing on the numerous market streets specialising in food (that'd be Eitz HaChaim street, Machane Yehuda street, HaTapuach street, Eliyahu Banai street, HaShaked street). Our tour guide Zvi took as to several of his favourite food spots at the market.
Beautifully fragrant fruit teas:
A fruit vendor. Cherries, peaches, plums - all were in season right now:
A great range of olives was sold at the market. Many indigenous olive varieties are grown in Israel (f. ex. Souri, Barnea, Nabali (Balladi)), as well as internationally known Manzanilla, Kalamata, Picual, Novo, Leccino, Fishulin.
This cheeky vendor offered everyone a taste of some rather fierce yellow pickled chillies. Luckily I was warned before I went for it :)
A great selection of fresh pastries. See the rugelach on the back (you'll find my two rugelach recipes when clicking on the link)?
Halva Kingdom had couple of stalls at the market. Halva Kingdom has been making and selling home-made halva in Jerusalem since 1947, and opened a stall at the Mahane-Yehuda market back in 1986. They sell over 100 different halva flavours and types (we had a chance to nibble a mocca-flavoured one, which was lovely). Their halva is made using sesame seeds from Ethiopia at a factory in Mishor Edomim industrial settlement. The sesame seeds are ground in a millstone and then mixed with sugar until a sweet and thick paste is formed:
Israeli climate is perfect for growing figs. Again, several varieties are grown across the country, the one on the photo should be honey-sweet and pale pink Byadi. I had a chance to eat them later during the week again (and that's where I was told the variety of figs), and they're extremely soft and luscious and sweet.
A fresh vegetable stall:
I was bemused by the cucumbers at the market. They look exactly like mini versions of our "regular" cucumbers - shiny, long, smooth and slim, just much smaller. Our "small" cucumbers that we eat a lot during the summer - 10-12 cm in length, crunchy and crisp as they are - are prickly and chunky, like you can see on the third photo in this old post of mine.
Getting hungry was inevitable with all that fresh and delicious-looking food all around us, so Zvi led us to the Iraqi market (built in 1931) and more specifically, to a wonderful Georgian café Hatchapuria (5 HaShikma St, established in 2009):
hatchapuri (the traditional bread with cheese in the middle), acharuli (the boat-shaped open-top bread filled with cheese and topped with an uncooked egg that you mix yourself with into the very hot cheese filling) and magaruli (a simple hatchapuri that's topped with cheese and baked until crisp), as well as some Georgian pickles and the popular sweetmeat - walnuts dipped into thickened grape syrup and hanged to dry (churchkhela, pictured on the left).
Some funny crocheted kippah/kipa skullcaps were also available at the market:
FoodBridge on Mahane-Yehuda market and our tour of Jerusalem (an Israeli foodblog written by US-born Sarah)
The Kitchn on Mahane-Yehuda market (post by Cambria Bold)
Other posts about my trip to Israel.
If you're visiting the market and want some guidance, then this English-language website dedicated to the market might be a good place to start.
Disclaimer: I spent six days in Israel in late June/early July as a guest of a non-profit social start-up Kinetis, more specifically their Vibe Israel programme. This particular trip hosted five international food bloggers and writers, introducing them to the multifaceted and pluralist Israeli culture and cuisine.