Trust us. She loves her hummus.

The political movement for the establishment and maintenance of a Jewish state has gone through many phases and been subject to many interpretations during its 150 or so years. From the Ohavei Tziyon, the Biluites and the World Zionist Congress of the late 1800s to the warring schools of Labor and Revisionist Zionism in the years leading up to the establishment of Israel to the gun-toting religious Zionist hippies of our present day, various groups have claimed to represent the true spirit of the Zionist movement.

Well. Nobody talks about the Ohavei Tziyon or Biluites anymore. Labor Zionism gave us the socialist nightmare of Israeli bureaucracy. Revisionist Zionism has been mostly reduced to a football club. And the religious Zionists have been transformed by the disengagement from the self-styled true heralds of the Zionist way to a bunch of petulant crybabies in obnoxious “Lo Nishkach v’Lo Nislach” (We Won’t Forget and We Won’t Forgive) T-shirts. So then, we need to refresh Zionism. And I have the solution. Forget Labor. Forget Revision. My new movement:

Culinary Zionism.

What is Culinary Zionism, you ask? Simple. You get the Jews here, and you keep ’em here with the food, which is totally cheap and totally yummy. And good for you. Seriously, where else can you not only get a host of delicious Middle Eastern treats at low, low prices, and also, due to the immigrant nature of Israeli society, just about any ethnic food you can think of? Do you New York hipster dudes have the shuk? Can you smog-choked LAers go to Abu Ghosh and bliss out on hummus-y goodness? I think not. Hummus! Falafel! Fuul! Shakshuka! Olives! A million and one pastries! Salatim! Great fruit! Fresh vegetables! Who could ask for more?

Olive oil is good and good for you. Just ask me.

So come to Israel. Come for all those historical and religious and blah blah blah reasons. Stay for the food.

And with that in mind, now that ck and laya have christened Taami as the best restaurant hummus in Jerusalem, allow me to alert you to the best hummus in Machaneh Yehudah, the shuk. I don’t know what the place is called, but there’s a tall guy with a pony tail, and a tray of divine hummus with fuul, swimming in olive oil, goes for only ten shekels. Above we can see our own princess of Jewliciousness giving it, I guess, one pita up. Seriously. It is so damned good. If you’re in Jerusalem, go out and buy some. Hell, if you’re not in Jerusalem, go out and buy some. It’s the spirit of the new revolution.

Laya buys awesome hummus from awesome hummus dude, Machaneh Yehudah

And while you’re at the shuk, stop by Ma’adanei Tzidkiyahu, which I will (loosely) translate as “Tzidkiyahu’s Yummies,” and pick up some great stuffed grape leaves and myriad salatim. Just remember to shove aside the old ladies in line or they will totally budge your ass. It is the Law of the Shuk.

And now, to be very Daily Show about it, here is your Israeli culinary moment of Zen.

One side of this garlic says “Hong Chang.” The other says, in Hebrew, “Fruit of our land.” Go figure.

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  • “one pita up”–you’re a funny young man, Michael. Culinary Zionism is at least as valid and attractive an option as Sexual Zionism (as reported here a few months back or so).

    Until three years ago, I didn’t like hummus. And I still don’t like olives. Or grapeleaves. And occasionally I’ll get in the mood for felafel, but it’s so rare that this kind of Zionism, while good for Israel, may not be good for me. When I was in Israel experiencing my own kind of culinary Zionism, it was all about chocolate croissants and cheese toast, both of which seemed to be acceptable breakfast foods at Hebrew U. Then for dinner, we went to Tea & Pie. Sigh, the memories.

  • I am so disturbed, shaken to the core, when I hear of people who don’t like hummus. Or olives, or stuffed grapeleaves for that matter. Seriously, though, the food in israel is so superior to American food it’s ridiculous. the produce is so fresh and delicious and cheap! i had to pay 3 dollars for a shitty, shitty rimon at the grocery store. it made me really mad! in israel i would probably have paid less than 3 shekels. except in israel i buy the ridiculously enormous rimonim so who knows. so except for in California, which i believe is the other promised land, the produce found in the states blows. one thing about israel though, there is no good mexican food to be found. anywhere. it’s very upsetting. and good beef is hard to come by too.

  • Darn Michael, I thought this post was going somewhere, you got me all riled up and ready to argue about Zionism, etc. We get it!! you love CHumus! You love the food! Man, u eat so much of it you must have a gaseous cloud hanging over you all day. Make sure when u role with this kid, u have the windows open…. I am going back to listening to the new Depeche MOde album, Awsome by the way!!!!!!!

  • I loved the open bins of chocolate-covered corn flakes at Supersol…do they still have those? And fresh mushroom barekas everywhere. BUT, the french fries in Israel were a nightmare, too thick and undercooked. Have they fixed that? I was there back before any American fast-food franchises arrived.

    Um, don’t mean to be “mothering” again, but is a Hepetatis A shot required before traveling there now? When I went in ’88, no one told me I needed it, or I don’t even think they had one and I came down with “zahevit” which they told me was from eating from salad bars (remember I did NOT kiss even one Israeli soldier). It was really bad and my eyes and skin were bright yellow until they put Pigeons on my stomach to remove the toxins and turned me into a “believer” in one fell swoop.

  • Hey, if you want to argue about Zionism, go ahead, just be aware that anything you can come up with will pale before the might of Culinary Zionism.

    And to be correct, I don’t eat much food, I just make sure what I eat is good. And if you don’t like it, bite me and my delicious hummus.

    Chutzpah, the only fries I’ve eaten in Israel have been inside laffa or pita with falafel and a bunch of other stuff, so I cannot really comment on their quality.

    And as far as I know, I’ve been vaccinated against Hepatitis. Although I don’t know what you’re talking about with pigeons.

  • The pigeons is part of treatment for zahevit.

    you put a pigeon on the patient belly-button and the pigeon take the illness away…weird..but it works..!
    And of course it’s a jewish thing.

  • Yep, they told me it was cure from the Gemara. Female pigeons for women, male pigeons for men…don’t know how they find gay pigeons. Anyway, they put the pigeon on your belly button like Sharonsts said, and it dies, and they keep going until no more pigeons are dying on you and it’s a mitzvah for the pigeons. Yeah, it’s stuff like that than can make a modern liberal feminist ivy-leaguer into a crazed “baruch hashem” saying ba’las tshuva pretty quickly over there…unless it was just the fever that melted my common sense.

  • Well. I’m glad that for all our enlightened tradition, we can still attempt to treat a serious medical condition with voodoo.

  • Yep, but if you have Hepatitis during Rosh Hashana/Yom Kippur you still have to swing a chicken over your head to remove your sins, the pigeons only remove the excess bilirubin.

  • Dude I didn’t knew that the pigeons died and certainly not on you…spooky.
    Voodoo indeed.

  • you know, modern medicine is actually thriving in israel, no need to go to witch doctors.

  • Of course I went to an American Doctor in Jerusalem as soon as I felt sick and he told me there is no cure and it just has to run it’s course, and that any medicine would just further stress the liver. I was so itchy and fatiqued I would have let them put leetches on me to alleviate the discomfort. 3 dead pigeons later and I was feeling much better, they told me they’d do two more pigeons in the morning if I didn’t. I heard they sneak pigeons into the hospitals for this.
    As to any Dr. who is the product of Socialized medicine, don’t get me started…

  • Burger Ranch dominates all!! Sabich in Givatayim also, when I am in Israel I can eat 3 a day. We have really good CHumus here in Brooklyn, so it’s not that special over there.

  • Everyone should get all of their Hepatitis shots, no matter where they live. There’s no excuse not to.

    The pidgeons will thank your for it.

  • Is everyone one ok,there was suicide bomb attack in Israel market…Laya? You roam there…

  • I have spoken to both Laya and Michael and they were no where near the explosion. Wish i could say the same for Michael Kaufman, 68, Yaakov Rahmani, 68, and Perhia Mahlouf, 53, of Hadera; Sabiha Nissim, 66, of Moshav Ahituv, and Jamil Ka’adan, 48, of Baka al-Gharbiya.

  • Glad “our family” is safe. But saddened, as always, by the loss of life. May their memories be for a blessing.

  • I wonder why Chummus is not popular in the USA while Guacamole is. What is the vast difference there really?
    last time I was in the Shuke in January 2005, late on Friday, there was such long lines to buy cakes and pasties, I literally could not pay the guy for about 25 small Rugglach chocolate ones still hot. I brought most of them back to the States, froze them and we had one or 2 each Shabbat for many weeks.
    I am looking forward to my next visit this winter.

  • chummus is pretty popular in the states, as far as i can tell. it seems most people like the greek variety though, which is coarse and chunky and has its own charm but cannot compare to lebanese/israeli chummus.