Say the word, “shouk” (open-air market) and most people will naturally think of the world famous Machaneh Yehuda Shouk in Jerusalem or Shouk HaCarmel in Tel Aviv. Sweet aromas of freshly-baked rugelach, the tangy scent of zaatar meandering through the narrow passageways and the classically Middle-Eastern sound of stall-owners hawking their wares are a delightful vacation stop for tourists and Israelis alike. But did you know that there are several lesser-known shouks that also offer delightful local treats? If you like the hustle and bustle of the shouk but are looking for ones frequented mostly by locals, Israel with Love has two great ideas for you.
The Ramla Shouk. Ramla is a city founded by Muslims in the early 8th century. Highlights of the city include boating in the Pool of Arches (rowing underground in the remains of a late-8th century reservoir) climbing to the top of the White Mosque and visiting the city’s shouk on Jabotinsky Street. The bourekas are huge, the pickled vegetables are plentiful, and the fresh fruit is sweet and juicy. The restaurants feature authentic Arabic and Israeli cuisine. Ramla is a little off the beaten path but if you want a touch of local color, this is a great place to stop. Please note that the shouk is closed on Tuesday afternoons.
The shouk in Haifa’s Wadi Nis Nas, located between the German Colony and downtown, is a model of coexistence as both Jewish and Muslim vendors share the small space that comprises the shouk. Enjoy sambusak and treat yourself to a traditional Arab coffee set. It’s accessible via public transportation and is a great way to top off the morning after visiting the nearby Bahai Gardens.
Israel with Love looks forward to sharing more touring tips with you soon!