When I say shuk, you probably think Mahane Yehuda in Jerusalem, and for good reason.
It’s an iconic market in an iconic city, so why wouldn’t it come to mind? Tourists and locals alike flock to the market in mobs to find the freshest produce, baked goods, spices, meats, cheeses, and street food during the week and in preparation for Shabbat.
But what about in Tel Aviv?
If you’ve never been to the shuk in Tel Aviv, think of Shuk HaCarmel as the little sister to Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda. The market in Tel Aviv is not nearly as big or as crowded (and it’s only one street long), but it still makes for quite the experience.
Yesterday after work we headed over to the shuk to finally buy some fresh produce. It was nearly impossible to decide what to get, but we narrowed it down to some brie and smoked gouda, cherries, plums, and asparagus (which was a huge deal because we couldn’t find asparagus at the small grocery store down the street and only two vendors had it at the shuk).
Last week I got to visit another shuk in Tel Aviv on a Delicious Israel tour as part of my internship experience. I was able to tag along with a family of five from Chicago (go Hawks!) as my boss led them around the Levinsky Market, feeding them bites of information as well as samples of food.
The Levinsky Market is known for its spices, nuts, and dried fruits. Walking through the Levinsky Market is totally different than strolling through the shuks, mainly because strolling is actually possible.
In Mahane Yehuda and Shuk HaCarmel, the narrow streets are overflowing with people and goods. The Levinsky Market has less of a “market” feel and more of a neighborhood feel. You might not even know that what you’re walking through is considered a market unless you’re following a tour guide.
In America, the farmer’s market is one of my favorite treats—but it’s just that: a treat. If I plan ahead, I’ll wake up early on Saturday and hit up the market downtown, but I usually just taste and observe and don’t buy much.
In Israel, the market is an integral part of daily life. There are no giant supermarkets where people can buy fruits and veggies flown in from around the world. The shuk is the best (if not the only) option for the freshest produce and other goods.
In other news, I’m officially listed as an intern on the Delicious Israel website, so check out my bio here!