Friday, August 22, 2008

The Shuk

(The picture was taken from

This morning I met Chad, an HUC SO and extremely friendly and kind person, and we went together to the shuk to do some grocery shopping. I bought:
- cheese
- a cabbage
- lots of cherry tomatoes
- lots of grapes
- lots of fresh mint
- hot peppers
- fresh figs
- two bottles of soda
all for about $20 -- not bad!

The shuk is enormous, covering several city blocks. Rows and rows of vendors sell vegetables, wine, cheese, meat, fish, olives, crackers, and fruit - with the occasional vendor selling kippot, scarves, or skirts. The shuk area is a pedestrian mall and the main road, Mahane Yehuda, has a roof to shield it from the sun. On Friday mornings, the only time on the weekend when everyone has off and things aren't all closed, the shuk is swarmed with shoppers - orthodox and secular alike - who shove one another out of the way to get through the narrow alleys between the stores. Shop keepers shout out the latest prices of their wares, trying to outbid their competitors, and when you want to make a purchase, you pick it up and handed to the storekeeper, who brusquely tells you the price and barely waits for you to pay him before he moves on to help another customer. The variety of fruits and vegetables is phenomenal - giant gourds and squashes larger than pumpkins sit next to apricots, plums, apples, persimmons, pomegranites, and fresh figs. So many varieties of cucumbersd, peppers, tomatoes. Stacks and stacks of bundles of fresh parsely, cilantro, dill, and mint. Spices that are shoveled into bags in large quantities so that you can bring it home and have enough cumin for I don't know, at least seven years. It is hot, crowded, and it is hard to get in and out of the store to make your purchase, but the produce is excellent and cheap. There are some things you can't get at the shuk- prepared foods, milk, eggs in reasonable quantities, but for the experience and for what you can get, it definately seems worth it. Just maybe next time I won't go on a Friday morning?

(PS - yes, Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa, it is a lot like St. Lawrence Market, only everything is happening fast, and tons of people are there, and it is much bigger, and outside, and everythign is in Hebrew, and the produce reflects the fact that we are in the Middle East.)

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