A foodie's mecca at Jerusalem's biggest market
Anyone visiting Jerusalem simply has to go to a local market, or shuk. The biggest and busiest of these is definitely the centrally located Machane Yehuda market situated between Agripas and Yafo Streets. In recent years it has experienced quite the reinvention, and now has a collection of hip cafes, bars and restaurants in and around the main marketplace, drawing a bustling mass of locals and tourists alike.
The market may be a bit overwhelming for anyone who usually shops in a grocery store with quiet background music and sparkling clean aisles lined with perfectly packed products. But, this mecca of fresh produce and local/ exotic fare presents an enormity of unique foodstuffs that you simply won't find anywhere else. It remains a very authentic place to visit - often referred to as a national treasure, boasting an atmosphere alive with sights, sounds, scents and of course, tastes!
The various stall owners lure buyers in with their individual offerings, and famously interact with potential customers by calling out a friendly greeting or offering a free sample of whatever it is they're selling. If you don't have a specific shopping list, I suggest you simply let your senses guide you, as a preplanned mission may just not work in the seemingly chaotic trading space.
However, if structure is what you're after, you can always book one of the original acclaimed foodie tours, or do a self-guided curated culinary trip by buying a "Bite card" online. Check out the market's official webpage for more details.
Many Jerusalemites see the "MachneYuda" as testimony of a modern harmonious mixed society, that coexist in the often socially, ethnically and religiously divided city. For me it was definitely an exciting cultural melting pot, showcasing the true spirit of the Middle East!
FYI: The main market trades Sunday till Thursday from 8am - 7pm, and Fridays from 8am - 3pm. (It is closed on Saturdays for the Sabbath, although some restaurants/ bars remain open)
- All photos were taken by me © Traverate -