Saturday, October 23, 2004

Mahane Yehuda

Veggies! Posted by Hello
Mahane Yehuda is the main outdoor market in Jerusalem. It is an amazing place. On Fridays it seems like the whole city is there shopping for Shabbat. There are piles and piles of every kind of fruit, vegetable, seed and spice imaginable! Yesterday I saw huge bags of cilantro that were a meter long and about a foot an a half in diameter! (Don't you love my mix of units!? I am slowly "converting"!)

There are stalls that sell fish, meat, and cheese. There are stalls owned by immigrants of particular countries. Yaacov's family shops at a stall owned by a Georgian family. There I saw a bottle of vodka with the image of Mikhail Gorbachev printed on it! My favorites are the ones that sell sweets. There are piles and piles of cookies, twists, and rolls filled will cinnamon and chocolate. People here don't use as much oil and fat in their cooking. So their pastries are a little drier than what I am used to. They are still very tasty though!

You put the things you want in plastic bags and you haul your goodies all through the market. It's tough on your hands. It's loud, crowded, and fun. The market is filled with all kinds of smells...some wonderful (hummus and fruit) and some stinky (fish!).

There is a spice shop near the outdoor market that is out of this world. I am going to go back on a day that's not so busy to take photos of this place. It's a small shop with a low vaulted ceiling. Inside are burlap bags, glass jars, and other containers filled with any spice that you can imagine. It is like this little temple to things that taste good. It reminded me of (I'm weird, I know) Harry Potter. You know when Harry goes shopping for his "school" supplies in magic shops? Well, this shop has the same magical feeling. It's as if you've been let in on this incredible culinary secret!

The outdoor market isn't the only place to shop. There are supermarkets all over town too. They look a little different that the ones in the US. Yesterday I went to one in Talpiot that was huge with wide aisles...just like in the US! The only different thing is that it had flat screen TV's everywhere showing commercials! We also visited an Ace "hardware" store. It was like a mini-Lowes, but it also had home decor items a little like Bed, Bath and Beyond. Yaacov and I borrowed a car from his folks to help bring how big packs of bottled water and Diet Coke.


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