Israeli culinary wonders 3

Feel free to read part 1 and part 2 of this series. They were posted a while ago and I apologize for leaving thousands of readers waiting for the part 3. Part 3 will talk about:

Unlocking the flavors of Jaffa

Jaffa (pronounced Yafo, spelled יָפוֹ) is one of the oldest ports in the world. It’s right south of Tel Aviv and is actually part of the same municipality, creatively named “Tel Aviv-Yafo municipality“. The last week of my recent trip I was honored to eat tons of food while in Tel Aviv and Jaffa. Below I begin describing as best as I can some of the highlights in Jaffa. Get ready to get that stomach growling.


For hummus (חומוס), Itay and Ziv Erlich took me to Abu Hassan. This is a really small yet well known place in Jaffa that opens in the morning and closes when they run out of food, right around 2 P.M. Their extensive menu: Pita. Hummus. Warm Hummus with garlic.

To put this in perspective, it’s like having a restaurant in Mexico where all they serve is refried beans and tortillas. And it’s packed and there are crowds lining up for it and they run out of beans in the middle of the day. It’s unheard of (when it comes to refried beans) and that’s how good it is. It’s awesome.

Hummus looks better when Itay Erlich is eating it. The clever sign on the back says: "Smoking allowed one day yes, one day no. Today: no".
It's a known scientific fact that if you eat nothing but Abu Hassan's hummus you live up to 200 years old.

Click to keep on reading. It’s worth your while.


After eating nothing but hummus, you have to wash it down with some coffee and some baklawa. The coffee, of course, turkish style. The MKX® readers already know that back in Austin I have access to lots of this black delicacy ever since we installed The Coffice at work.

Baklawa, the Arab pastry, you can also find here, but like Tex-Mex tacos… it’s not quite the same as the real deal. I will let you stare in awe at this photo I took at a bakery in Jaffa. When I saw this, I was hit with dreamy images of myself swimming in baklawa. Like Scrooge McDuck would swim in his money, only a lot stickier.

Picture yourself swimming in baklawa. Go ahead. Don't be scared.


Shakshuka (שקשוקה‎), like bureka, is a fun word to say over and over. It’s also delicious. Being a (very, they say) spicy dish, it appeals a lot to my insensitive Mexican taste buds. Like many dishes, it’s not hard to make, but pretty hard to make right. To unlock the secret, we went to Dr. Shakshuka which is right by the shuk (market).

The basic recipe is: make a thick sauce with tomatoes, peppers, spices, garlic, onions, etc. Put them all in a pan until it’s boiling. Then throw some eggs in there. The shakshuka I ordered also had lamb meat. Because everything tastes better when there is lamb meat in it.

Shakshuka, served directly in the pan to keep the eggs undisturbed.
Amit Safir loves his shakshuka.
Mijal Weissberger loves her shakshuka.
Marcos loves his shakshuka. He enjoys typing the word shakshuka over and over as well. Shakshuka.
Dr. Shakshuka is a decorated with pans on the ceiling. In the back to the left you can see Dr. Shakshuka, the man, talking on his cell phone about about shakshuka.

Finally, let me present a video in which you can see Dr. Shakshuka’s small and delicate hands making shakshuka. Based on his technique alone, I concluded that the man was trained in the finest culinary schools of Paris. If you are a local Austin resident and want to make shakshuka, please watch this video, learn it, and invite me over. Thank you so much. So very very much. For those of you who might be in a hurry, skip to 4:15 to see how the eggs part is done.

It’s not over yet… Israeli culinary wonders 4 coming soon.

Update Nov 11 2008: Some people have asked about the full recipe. While I’m sure there is no one recipe for shakshuka, here’s the one supposedly used by Dr. Shakshuka. Yep, the red powder appears to be paprika.

7 thoughts on “Israeli culinary wonders 3”

  1. Se me hizo agua la boca… pero la bronca esta en los polvitos ¿qué son?, ¿se pueden conseguir?. Igual y lo intentamos ahora que vayamos a Austin.

  2. En el video, se ve que el señor le echa unos polvitos rojos a la salsa de shakshuka. Sospecho que ahi está la clave del platillo, que se ve buenísimo.

  3. Definitivamente que para el caso de baklawa lo mejor es el hecho en casa. No han probado el que yo preparo! Un día los invito.

    Es la primera vez que acceso a MKX® y la verdad el creador es un genio, tengo que reconocerlo. Saludos Marcos! Y no te conocía la faceta de monja! jaja!!

    A ver si luego me pasas algunas recetas (pero que las sepas preparar tú) de los platillos que acostumbras comer en familia o en tus visitas a Israel.

    Luego te paso también algunas recetas tradicionales árabes, ya vez que mis ancestros eran de por aquellas tierras también, obvio te pasaré las que sean kosher. La comida de Monclova Coahuila es un asco!!! no saben comer acá! tengo un año viviendo por el rumbo.

    salúdame a la mamá de Iuval Levinson si la ves, a Tamara.

  4. Ramiro, últimamente no cocino nada mas sofisticado que cereal con leche:

    Ingredientes: cereal, leche.
    1. Vierte el cereal en un plato hondo
    2. agregue leche al gusto, con cuidado de no derramar.
    3. Sírvase inmediatamente si prefiere el cereal crujiente o déjelo remojar si le gusta suavecito.

    Gracias por visitar la página, le pasé tus saludos a la mamá de Iuval.

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