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Tweety69bird

Traveling to the Middle East

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I will be traveling to Bethlehem, Haifa, Rameh and I'm looking for some really authentic places to eat. Dessert places, street vendors for falafel etc... please advise. Also, what would you suggest I bring home for fellow foodies, as in spices etc, that I would find at the souks. TIA!

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I wish I could help, but I haven't been to Bethlehem in seven years and I don't know much about Haifa. I have the latest edition of the dining guide for Israel. Sort of a Michelin guide. I will look there and post some suggestions.

Where is Rameh? Are you going to be in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem?

The Hebrew word for souk is shuk. You could bring back zaatar, ras al hanout, hawayej and baharat.


Edited by Swisskaese (log)

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Shwarma in Haifa:

Shwarma Amil

Derech Allenby 33

Haifa

Shwarma Chazen

Derech Yafo 140

Haifa

Falafel:

Falefel Hazkenim

Wadi 18, Wadi Nisnas

Haifa

Burekas:

Burekas Bechar Haaglah

Derech Haazma'ut 35

Haifa

Druze Restaurant:

Elchar

Tchernikovsky 35

Haifa

Hummous:

Abu Maron

Kibbutz Galuyot 1

Haifa

Pastry Shoppe:

Dudu Otmazgin (sp?)

Wedgewood 3

Haifa

If you are going to be near Umm al Facham, you must go to this excellent Arabic restaurant:

El Babour

Kwish Wadi Ara

Umm al Facham

Anyone in the area will know where it is.

All of the places above received high ratings.


Edited by Swisskaese (log)

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Thank you for all of your suggestions. I will be arriving into Tel Aviv, and travelling around after that. Rameh is a little village, and honestly, I'm not even sure where it is.... yet. I do hope to find some good ras el hanout, I've been looking forward to cooking with it since I did a project on edible flowers a while back. I don't know what hawayej and baharat are, but I shall educate myself. I am so looking forward to finding great falafel!!! Also, I am quite interested to see what desserts they have other than the obvious baklava. Swisskaese you are awesome!!!! :wub: Much appreciated!

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There are some very nice pastry shops here in Israel, but I can only recommend the ones around Tel Aviv-Yafo, Jerusalem and the area that I live in. If you are interested, let me know. Israel is a very diverse country so it is much more than baklava.

I have used ras al hanout in an apricot tart I made. It really took it to another level.


Edited by Swisskaese (log)

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I don't think I will be going to Jerusalem, so thank you for the work you have already done, I think the places you listed will keep me busy for a while. I read on the Bethlehem link that one of the falafel restaurants sells the mix, I really want to go there and try their falafel and bring some mix home! That's the kind of gifts I like to bring back for friends. I looked up hawayej and baharat so I'm already better informed! :biggrin:

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Beware buying felafel mixes. Although locals can discuss for hours - oyez, weeks and even months - where the best felafel is to be found all, regardless of whether Israeli, Palestinian, Syrian, Egyptian, Lebanese all agree that the only way to make felafel is fresh. Perhaps the only thing on which all of us are in agreement but as night follows day, as low tide follows high, dried mixes or even even mixes purchased an hour in adance to be prepared at home will simply never taste as good. Come to think of it, isn't that the 11th Commandment?

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Beware buying felafel mixes.  Although locals can discuss for hours - oyez, weeks and even months - where the best felafel is to be found all, regardless of whether Israeli, Palestinian, Syrian, Egyptian, Lebanese all agree that the only way to make felafel is fresh.  Perhaps the only thing on which all of us are in agreement but as night follows day, as low tide follows high, dried mixes or even even mixes purchased an hour in adance to be prepared at home will simply never taste as good.  Come to think of it, isn't that the 11th Commandment?

Oh. :huh: Thanks for that... I would have piled up on it!! I guess I'll have to make sure to get my fill before I leave!!!! :raz:

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While I loved falafel all over Israel, I recall my favorite experiences were in Haifa, which seemed to have the most options for toppings, basically a salad bar. Granted this was 13 years ago, Daniel is it still the case?

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The one thing I miss most from my travels in the Middle East -- and I miss them very, very much -- are truly good dates.

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While I loved falafel all over Israel, I recall my favorite experiences were in Haifa, which seemed to have the most options for toppings, basically a salad bar. Granted this was 13 years ago, Daniel is it still the case?

There is great falafel all over the country. You just have to know people in the know :wink: . There are places in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and in the Center where I live that have great salad and topping selections.

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The one thing I miss most from my travels in the Middle East -- and I miss them very, very much -- are truly good dates.

Yes, Chris, we have some amazing dates and Tweety69bird will be able to buy them in the shuk. You can also buy them in most supermarkets.

gallery_8006_2277_68206.jpg

This is a picture I took a few years ago of one of the dried fruit sellers in Shuk HaCarmel in Tel Aviv. Notice the dates in the foreground. Another thing you could bring back is date honey and date filling which comes in sealed packages, I can't think of the word in English. You know the packages that have the air squeezed out them to keep the contents fresh. :rolleyes:


Edited by Swisskaese (log)

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While I loved falafel all over Israel, I recall my favorite experiences were in Haifa, which seemed to have the most options for toppings, basically a salad bar. Granted this was 13 years ago, Daniel is it still the case?

Ditsy, Hi....

As many have stated,the "best" felfafel joint is the one you conclude to be the best. In this case, I'll have to say that my own two favorite two felafel joints are indeed in Haifa - Felafel ha Zkeinim (the felafel of the old men) and Michel's, one across the street from the other and both existing for more than 40 years. Such enemies are the two that every morning at 10 a.m. the staff at HaZkeinim send a felfafel to the staff at Michel's with a hand written note: "If you want to know what really good felafel is, try this one" and at 11a.m the staffat Michel's sending a felafel across the street and returning the note, this one signed by themselves.

As to toppings - interestingly many of the very best felafel joints offer a relatively small choice of toppings - (small in this case being a question of definition - e.g. amba sauce, tchina, moderately hot peppers, supremely hot peppers, picked cabbage, onions with sumac, pickled carrots and swet green peppers) while it is the more mass-market and not always very good felafel joints that can put out as many as30 different salads. Many of the 30 salad joints offer you a single pita bread and then you fill it ourself. In places like that I often pop a single felafel ito my mouth and if not up to my standards will then fill my pita with as many of the salads and condiments that I choose, leaving the felafel to others.

You must realize of course that Tel Avivians are still in mourning over the closing of Felafel ha Malchot (the Queen's Felafel), the only true gourmet felafel ever offered on this planet (by the owners of the Orna and Ella Cafe).

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Do you think I will be allowed to bring back fresh dates??? That would make some friends and family very happy in place of the falafel mix.... :smile:

Daniel, I love your story about the falafel wars!!

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You must realize of course that Tel Avivians are still in mourning over the closing of Felafel ha Malchot (the Queen's Felafel), the only true gourmet felafel ever offered on this planet (by the owners of the Orna and Ella Cafe).

:shock::shock::shock:

When did it close?! I have been out of the loop since I moved to the burbs. :sad:

They rocked.

I agree. A few really good salads and toppings are better than 30 really mediocre ones. I really like fried eggplant on my shwarma, but I would never put it on my falafel.


Edited by Swisskaese (log)

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Do you think I will be allowed to bring back fresh dates??? That would make some friends and family very happy in place of the falafel mix....  :smile:

Daniel, I love your story about the falafel wars!!

You won't be able to bring back fresh dates, but you can bring back dried dates. You can even buy them frozen at the supermarket. They make great date shakes.

You must have a few fresh fruit drinks when you come here. I love Mango/Banana and Date/Banana.

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You must have a few fresh fruit drinks when you come here. I love Mango/Banana and Date/Banana.

And I spent a summer drinking my well documented watermelon juice :wub:

You must eat a fresh hot potato bureka somewhere. Or cheese. Ah hell, have one of each.

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You must have a few fresh fruit drinks when you come here. I love Mango/Banana and Date/Banana.

And I spent a summer drinking my well documented watermelon juice :wub:

You must eat a fresh hot potato bureka somewhere. Or cheese. Ah hell, have one of each.

Ok, I looked them up to learn what they are.... and if I can, I'm going to have a falafel from each of those guys who are across the street from each other! :shock:

Mmmm watermelon juice sounds delish... I am not sure how I feel about the date shake... :huh:

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[Mmmm watermelon juice sounds delish... I am not sure how I feel about the date shake...  :huh:

Don't knock it till you try it. Here is a recipe for a date shake. This recipe includes ice cream. Here it is only made with milk.

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[Mmmm watermelon juice sounds delish... I am not sure how I feel about the date shake...  :huh:

Don't knock it till you try it. Here is a recipe for a date shake. This recipe includes ice cream. Here it is only made with milk.

Ok, I won't go searching it out, but if I come across it, I will try it. :smile:

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I just got back from Israel, and there are two things I miss already: mint limeade and shawarma. I think I ate about 10-15 different shawarma in the ten days I was there. The mint limeade is available at basically any grocery store. I've never seen it in Seattle, but I need to find some... Also picked up some saffron at about 1/10 the price I'd pay for it here.

Unfortunately I was with a group, and we were constantly surrounded by Americans (Birthright, if anyone's familiar with it. We always seemed to be in groups of hundreds of Americans, eating mediocre food), but I managed to sneak off a few times to get "real" food.

The best shawarma I had was in the Jewish quarter of the old city, but I have no idea what the place was called, or where it was. So the answer I guess is, eat at every shawarma place there.

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I just got back from Israel, and there are two things I miss already: mint limeade and shawarma.

lemonana :wub:

(ask any local place that sells kosher foods if they can order Prigat or Spring Juice in for you)

what is it about the juices in Israel? They're so damn good.

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I think one of the things that makes lemon/limeade in Israel better is that every brand seems to use sugar, not high fructose corn syrup. I can definitely taste the difference. Now I have to get to finding some of that mint limeade... mmm :biggrin:

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I just got back from Israel, and there are two things I miss already: mint limeade and shawarma.

lemonana :wub:

(ask any local place that sells kosher foods if they can order Prigat or Spring Juice in for you)

what is it about the juices in Israel? They're so damn good.

You can also get housemade lemonana at some restaurants or you can make it at home. Make regular lemonade and steep spearmint in your tea. Nana is spearmint, not peppermint.

You can find fresh lemonana at the food fair at Dizengoff Center in Tel Aviv. The food fair is every Thursday evening (til 9 or 10pm) and Friday (until 3pm or 4).


Edited by Swisskaese (log)

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