Shopping at Mahane Yehuda market
There’s only one place in Jerusalem where the locals go to fill up on homemade bread, cheese, fresh fruits and vegetables. Forget the supermarket, Mahane Yehuda market, also known as the ‘Shuk’ is the place to go for all your grocery shopping. That, plus the market’s a great meeting place too.
Like any good market, there’s a charged energy about the place, not to mention the friendly and pretty amusing sellers you meet along the way.
It’s easy to know when you’ve reached Mahane Yehuda market. It’s a popular stop on the light rail in Jerusalem, so it’s easy to know when you’ve arrived. Prepare to bustle your way off the rail with the other shoppers, and upon entering the market mecca.
Second, you’ll spot the first vegetable stall as you enter the market, followed by another 50 or so in the distance. And third, there’s probably a street sign somewhere, but my Hebrew’s a little rusty so I couldn’t tell you exactly where!
The sweet stuff at Mahane Yehuda market
For those of you with a sweet tooth, pre-book that dentist appointment now. There’s so many sticky and sweet things on offer at Mahane Yehuda, you can’t miss trying some. To tease your tastebuds, these are some of the treats on offer.
Baklava. If you’ve never heard of Baklava, where have you been?! You can find these delicious bite-size pastries in many Middle Eastern/Mediterranean restaurants or cafes. They’re so moreish — one bite is never enough. They’re filo pastry parcels usually filled with pistachio and honey. Seriously sweet, but very good.
Rugelach. This Jewish favourite has a texture halfway between bread and a cake. Take a bite and you’ll get a taste of cinnamon, sugar and chocolate chips. The rolled pastry is baked, so there should be no lingering feelings of guilt afterwards!
Hamantashen. These triangular pastries filled with fruit jam may not be the easiest to pronounce, but they’re mighty delicious.
Halva. Though I’d heard of Halva before, I’d never tried it. For fellow newbies, it’s actually a dessert made of ground sesame, with different flavours and fillings. Stroll through the market, and you’ll likely see a Halva stall selling flavours ranging from chocolate, coffee beans to hot chilli.
Bread the word at Mahane Yehuda market
If you love bread as much as I do, the market’s full of it. Homemade challah bread, bagels and of course pita. There’s plenty of stalls selling fresh pita, still steaming in their bags. The other must-try bread is the healthy rye bread. Mahane Yehuda market also has several shops selling artisan loaves, so look out for those.
Mahane Yehuda market is of course more than just breads and sweet pastries. There are stalls selling plump, juicy olives, fragrant herbs and spices, and specially blended teas that’ll immediately awaken your senses.
If anything, the Shuk is more than just a place to shop, eat and drink. The buzzing atmosphere mixed with the friendly, animated stall sellers reinforce why it’s popular with tourists and locals alike.
Mahane Yehuda market – 20 reasons why you must visit
Rather than write more about what you can see, the photos in the gallery above say it better. So in chronological order, here’s 20 reasons why you need to visit Mahane Yehuda market.
1. Every stall is interesting with something new to see, smell, taste or buy.
2. The fruits and vegetables on offer are some of the plumpest and biggest I’ve ever seen.
3. The infamous baklava. There are different varieties of this sweet filo pastry and it really tastes as good as it looks.
4. Candied fruits are something I’ve never seen before in a market, but are very popular in the region.
5. Freshly baked bread rolls packaged or un-packaged— they’re delicious and very cheap.
6. Try this market cafe stop called La Cornerie. They sell good coffee and is also a nice resting place before continuing your tour of the Shuk.
7. Dried fruits and nuts are also very common in Middle Eastern cuisine.
8. Halva you tried halva before? This popular dessert is made from ground sesame, and also comes in many different flavours.
9. Artisan breads on offer including the very popular rye bread.
10. Colourful and sweet dried apricots and prunes.
The final 10
11. A photo of the mouthwatering Rugelach. It’s halfway between a bread and a cake and also filled with cinnamon, sugar and chocolate chips. Take my word: take 2.
12. Israel has very good olive oil given the climate and sprawling olive branches. Vendors are happy to give you sample of the olive oil, so don’t be shy to ask.
13. You can find spices galore at the Shuk— great for flavouring meals as well as tea.
14. As tempting as it may seem, you probably wouldn’t feel so light if you ate all these bread rolls!
15. Israel— the land of olive oil and olives!
16. I love olives so much, I had to include 2 photos!
17. These packets of pita were still steaming hot as they were being packaged.
18. Colourful pulses packed with plenty of goodness.
19. Turkish delight with different varieties on offer.
20. Mahane Yehuda market becoming its usual busy self.
Mahane Yehuda market at night
When night falls, Mahane Yehuda transforms into one of the hottest spots in towns. The market stalls convert into indoor bars and eateries, with many locals and foreigners conversing under one roof.
Mahane Yehuda market restaurants at night are plenty, and very good too. I had a delicious burger at Burger Market in the Shuk, which of course was all Kosher. It was my first experience of Kosher food, and it definitely won’t be my last. Jerusalem was somewhere I never thought would welcome such a modern eating and drinking complex, but I was completely wrong.
Boutique hotels in Jerusalem
There are plenty of excellent boutique hotel options in Jerusalem, which are also within walking distance of Mahane Yehuda market. My post covers 3 of the best centrally located boutique hotels in Jerusalem: Bezalel Hotel, Harmony Hotel and Hotel Malka.
Like this post? Why not pin it!