As this was pre-Sabbath shopping, challah was for sale at multiple stalls. But I took the opportunity to grab a warm, soft pita with za'atar seasoning to sustain me while wandering through the aisles.
This shuk (Hebrew for "market") is a busy place on Friday afternoons. Newbies be advised to take pictures quickly and keep up with the crowd—a lesson I learned the hard way, after much bumping and harumphing.
Dried Fruits and Nuts
One of the most visually appealing and delicious finds at any Israeli market is the variety of dried fruits, nuts, and candies. Dates and figs are particular specialties.
Spices by the Barrel
Bags and bags of spices can be found throughout the market. My favorite local offering is za'atar, a spice blend of dried herbs, sesame seeds, and salt. Many colorful seasonings can be found for modest prices, and are a great way to bring home the tastes of the Middle East.
So Many Halvahs!
Never in my life have I seen so many halvah varieties in one space. There were at least three different halvah vendors, each with upwards of a dozen varieties. The sweet sesame pastes were smooth and more delicious than what you'd typically find on American supermarket shelves.
Spreads and Dips
By far my favorite theme of Israeli cuisine is its emphasis on spreads and salads: eggplants, tomatoes, carrots, garlic, chickpeas, and more.
Several stands were selling biscuits and other slightly sweet cookies. Munch on the goodies while maneuvering through the market, or bring a bunch home as a pre-Sabbath snack.