There are a wide range of markets to immerse yourself in from the famous Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem which is now considered one of the most chic Jerusalemite hang outs, to the traditional Arab markets in the Old City of Jerusalem, to the Carmel Market in Tel Aviv overflowing with fresh produce, and the Levinsky Market in Tel Aviv famous for its spices, teas and dried fruits. And don’t worry, we can make sure that our guides take into account any dietary requirements and needs. We only ask that whatever your predilections, you come hungry!
Mahane Yehuda Market: Visiting Mahane Yehuda market you will find yourself surrounded by a plethora of sights, smells and tastes, and the colourful hustle and bustle of Jerusalem life. Your expert culinary guide will show you little known, hidden away gems, and will also explain how Mahane Yehuda serves as a symbol of Israel’s immigrant culture. You will see foods from all parts of the world, and will understand how culinary trends have mixed and influenced each other – just as immigrants from the four corners of the world have preserved their own traditions, and yet integrated to create a unified Israeli culture.
We also love our tours of the Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem by night. Jerusalem’s best loved market lives two distinct life. During the day she sports the colours of a hundred different fruit and vegetables, she smells of spices and fresh baked bread, and she sings the song of the market trader. However, by night it’s a different story. As the light fails, Mahane Yehuda puts on her ‘make up’ – the market stall shutters come down and reveal artfully painted grafitti fronts. Pop up restaurants selling all sort of fast but delicious finger food open up, and inviting beer boutiques and wine bars overflow with party people. During this evening tour you will visit Mahane Yehuda by night for an insider’s view of the coolest market in town, and will have a leisurely bites to eat throughout the market.
Old City of Jerusalem Food Tours: This wonderful culinary tour will open your eyes to a totally different side of the Old City. Here we present the living evolution of Jerusalem’s culinary scene. You will meet indigenous foods from Palestine, Turkey and Armenia, which still form a major part of today’s Israeli food scene. You will sample Middle Eastern foods such Sphecha – a thin Armenia flat bread with mince meat and tomatoes or zatar cooked in a one hundred year oven; baklawa (Middle Eastern sweets) of a baffling number of varieties; traditional Palestinian pastries called ‘Ftayer’ made by Palestinian village women; and four different types of tehini expertly produced in a tucked away 150 year old Old City factory. Most importantly you will meet the men and women behind these delicious treats, and hear their stories – which are often generations long.
Levinsky Market: Over in Tel Aviv, the Levinsky Market is a gourmand’s paradise with its range of flavors, spices, nuts, dried fruits and fusion cuisines. For every scent and spice in the market there’s a story of roots, struggle and nationality that deepens its impact. What unifies all these variables is a love for food. From growing it to preparing it, and cooking it to savoring it, the Levinsky Market is filled with legends of migrating recipes and kitchens.
Foodie types will also love our intimate, hands-on cooking workshops which are offered in professional chef kitchens and private homes. Here you will learn to make everything from traditional Israeli street food dishes such as hummus and kubbeh, to more sophisticated four course meals of ceviche, meats, and sweet pastry delights produced from fresh Mediterranean market produce.
Street food tour:
Middle Eastern food is a major highlight of travelling the region, and our Amman based street food tours are not to be missed in order to get off the beaten track and switch on your taste buds. Spices feature heavily including the heavenly zaatar, and plenty of thyme. There are plenty of vegetarian options such as hummus, falafel and local cheeses, as well as traditional grilled meats for those so inclined. Arab sweets tend to be very sweet, but the halva and kunafa are definitely worth a go and are delicious with strong, bitter Arabic coffee. Many will be surprised to know the although Jordan is a Muslim country, there is a long history of wine making and we will be happy to introduce you to a sip of the local nectar – just for cultural reasons of course!
This authentic Arabic home and culinary experience offers the chance to chop, cook, learn and dine. You will learn about the Arabic kitchen and how to prepare a traditional Arabic meal with the help of some pretty experienced ladies and gentlemen! Most importantly you will then get to eat the food that you prepared, whether in a traditional grandmother’s house found in one of Ammans oldest neighborhoods, or a traditional spice-packed kitchen in Petra.
Street food tour:
One of the best way to enjoy being in Egypt is to ‘Eat like an Egyptian!’, and we will be happy to hook you up with a local expert in Egyptian cuisine and the Egyptian street. Your food tour involves four stations, so please come hungry! You will try the national dish Koshary which consists of rice, pasta, lentils, chickpeas, crispy fried onions and more; falafel which in Egypt is made of fava beans rather than chickpeas and is considered to be a breakfast food; a meze of various traditional dips and starters; and a local fruit or coffee parlor. In addition to enjoying the flavorsome delights tucked away in places you would never walk into on your own, this is a great opportunity to spend some time with a fun, young local of Cairo and quiz them on the realities of life in the city.
Just to let you know (although I suspect you already do) that our market guide was terrific! Bright, bubbly, fun and funny. And a brilliant bit of scheduling on your part to pair her w/ Yad Vashem. Just the uplift we needed.
Steve S, New York
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