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Jerusalem’s markets

Where to eat in Jerusalem

Gentrification has seen a vibrant dining scene emerge

Gentrification has seen a vibrant dining scene emerge

Robert Penn | August/September 2018

Machane Yehuda market, known as the shuk, has been the belly of Jerusalem since it was established during the Ottoman period over a century ago. Originally an open-air bazaar for Arabs selling local produce, it has become one of the world’s great food markets. Two decades ago, politicians still came here to be photographed with the amcha, the hard-working masses. In the last decade though, gentrification has seen a vibrant dining scene emerge: restaurants, espresso bars and pubs serving local brews break up the fruit sellers, fishmongers, butchers and sweet shops. Yotam Ottolenghi, a chef and food writer in Britain and a son of the city, wrote of Jerusalem’s immense tapestry of cuisines: Machane Yehuda is the place to sample this rich blend of Middle Eastern, north African, Mediterranean and eastern European foods. Pomegranate tea, bagels, burekas, baklava, exquisite hummus and olive oil, dried mulberries, challah bread, pastries, halva and tahini are just a few of the things to taste on a stroll through the covered alleys at dusk. Then, when the hawkers have finally fallen silent, drift into the neighbouring streets to dine in one of the modern restaurants inspired by the shuk.