Mahane Yehuda, or just "the shuk" (meaning "market"), is a must-hit in Jerusalem. Over 250 vendors make up this vibrantly colorful and bustling open-air market. You've got the tattooed cherry vendor standing before piles of lighter pink and deeper red cherries; the Halvah King wearing his crown, presenting you with mocha-flavored halvah samples; Orthodox Jews shopping for rugelach alongside Armenian monks buying almonds by the pound.
Located minutes away from the historic city center, Mahane Yehuda is an incredibly diverse place where tourists shop next to locals, young and old, rich and poor, religious and secular. It's a market you can see, touch, taste, hear, feel, and breathe while roaming through each lane.
Pomegranates, sumac and za'atar spice bins, sticky dates, olives in pools of oil, sacks of dried lentils, sesame seed-speckled Jerusalem bagels, and plenty more around each corner.
We also crossed the street to eat some khachapuri, the Georgian cheese bread, from a khachapuria. There was an oblong-shaped one filled with stretchy white cheese, a few cracked eggs with still runny yolks, and melted butter swimming in there that burned my tongue several times, but it was worth every wound. Rip off the still steamy bread edge then dip it back into the buttery, yolky, cheesy middle. You must stop into this standing-room-only shop while at the shuk.
Mahane Yehuda Market Jaffa Road to the north, Agrippas Street to the south (map) Jerusalem, Israel
Note: Erin traveled through Israel on a 7-day eating tour thanks to Kinetis.