October 9, 2018

Machne Yehuda, a Jewish Showcase of Good Food Gets Better with Age

Jerusalem…The range of flavors, mostly diced cubes of dried fruits, for teas was unprecedented with advice from the stall manager to fill about a sixth of a cup with the fruits before adding the hot water. Nearby, Moshe was showing off blocks of flavored Halva, many shaped like cakes, that left any passerby in the crowded Machne Yehuda marketsalivating. The sights and smells of the legendary marketplace which continues to expand and is today framed by upscale bars, sushi counters, and restaurants, are a must to any visitor to this city. Ask Tova, an American transplant mother of 3, who offers tours of the historic marketplace and will have you watch the churning of freshly made tahini or Eli’s Juice Bar that is every bit as healthy as it was the drink of the Rambam (Maimonides) and other biblical figures. Or perhaps you wondered what the Middle Eastern foods in the Arab shuk tasted like if they were kosher. It is for all practical purposes an oasis of every type of kosher food in what seems an endless display of foods from the Jewish diaspora. The morning sounds of fresh breads and malawah being flipped in a pan are enough to create a thrill for every nostril. Mercifully, most of the market is now covered with a protective shield that keeps the hot sun from ruining the shopping experience. The size of the medjool dates is enough to make you a date lover. It is Wednesday and the pace which is always frantic really picks up as it will for the next 40 hours or so as the city prepares for yet another Shabbat. There probably is no better way to experience Israeli cuisine and the blend of Middle Eastern and Diasporan delicacies.