Sunday, July 29, 2012

Druze Pita in Jerusalem's Old City's Arab Shuk (Market)

On Saturday, July 28 we arrived in the old city oblivious to the fact that a mass Ramadan prayer would be taking place at 8pm. In addition it's the Jewish Holiday Tisha B'Av so prayers will be taking place at The Western Wall and Jewish quarter. Someone also told me that it's a Christian holiday today but googling didn't bring anything up.
Our destination was the Christian Quarter. S was determined to buy a couple of his buddies in the States some gifts from the Old City. Upon arriving around 4pm, the hustle and bustle at the Damascus (Shchem or Nablus) Gate in preparation for Ramadan was apparent. Parking was impossible. We decided to head to The Jewish Quarter, found parking there in a snap. It's Shabbat, parking was free and we found a most convenient spot.
We entered through the Zion Gate, walked through narrow alleys and passed through the Arab market in the Old City heading to The Western Wall. It was now 5pm and the shop owners were closing down heading to prayers soon. We were the last of the customers. S found a couple of gifts for his friends. We didn't haggle much.
As S was at the shop looking for some gifts I was further down the alley and this is what I encountered. These two guys making bread on a taboon. I asked them what was the name of the bread. They told me the name in Arabic, and instead of repeating themselves when I didn't catch it, they decided to just make it easy, and called it Druze bread, everyone here is familiar with it.
One orthodox man told me I shouldn't snap photos in the old city, it was the day of rest, the shabbat. All along I was telling my sister to cover herself up with her cardigan. Modesty whether you are in the Jewish, Muslim, Christian or Armenian quarter is important. The minute I would indulge in enjoying the early evening breeze my sister would take her cardigan off and reveal sleeveless arms. It was a game of a cat and mouse.
The breads were 50 cents a piece. They are traditionally served with Labne and zaatar. We just devoured it as is. The street signs below show the location of these lads. Am not sure if it is their regular corner spot. The photo to the right shows the pavers you walk on in the old city.
Here is a video I found on the web showing how the bread is made and a recipe. I thought you should see the pillow they use as I didn't snap it clearly in these series of photos. I haven't tested the recipe but I found some of the tips to be very useful.

25 comments :

  1. What an amazing day and very cool to find those guys making bread. I think I'd like it plain or with the labne and zaatar. I didn't want this post to end. :)

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    1. Aww Maureen, I wish you were here to experience it.

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  2. Interesting! Those flatbreads must taste wonderful.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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    1. Thx Rosa, it was but it is a bread you have to eat as it comes out hot.:)

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  3. Amazing, I would have loved to have been there to see this ancient art performed! I will go look at the recipe now.

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    1. Indeed an ancient art.. I love it that you found a more appropriate word than I did. I wish you were here too.

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  4. I am so sad that we are completely missing each other in Israel! Sigh. I love Druze bread, especially fresh off the grill and wrapped around creamy labne with plenty of olive oil and zaatar - heaven!

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    1. I know a bummer.:( ...but I will be back.:) & ooh olive oil.

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  5. How cool. The bread looks fantastic. Thanks for sharing your trip with us,Shulie!

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    1. My pleasure Nisrine and thx for dropping by.

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  6. I'm soooooooo glad you enjoyed your day in Jerusalem - the most amazing city in the world
    I'm kind of Jealous as I'm in Tel-Aviv and don't get to Jerusalem as often as I'd like

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    1. Hi Winnnie, It is the most amazing city but daunting for me without a guide. Even as an Israeli I feel I need someone to show me around. In the new city and especially in the old. Next time:).

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  7. I just love these action shots of pita making. How wonderful you came across them and were able to share these shots with us. I've never imagined bread being made this way.I bet it was so crispy and wonderful hot and fresh. So happy you're enjoying every moment of this fun trip.

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    1. Thanks Lora. Surprisingly the bread does not come out crispy. Hard to explain though it must be consumed on the spot. It is such a wonderful craft.

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  8. This is so freakin' fantastic! I love seeing how they make this pita. And now I'm dying to get my hands on some good pita (so hard to find here)

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    1. I know, right, Bri? Even the worst pita in Israel is superior to what we get here. Sad:( I miss it so much already. Feels like I haven't done everything I set myself to do.

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  9. Beautiful photographs - I would love to see them making this puffy pita in person.

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    1. Thanks Jeanette. I was surprised to see them in the old city. I usually expect to see Druze women making them by the road side in the Galilee.

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  10. What an interesting way of making pita! Lovely shots, Shulie! I'm sure a bite into a warm and freshly made bread would be quite an experience.

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    1. I know, right?! Was super fun. I should have dismantled the pita making tin contraption to see inside but I don't think they would have liked it much. lol

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  11. HAHAHAHAHA!!! I can totally visualize you doing that!! LOL!

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  12. Great shots, Shulie! Fascinating! And you are making me anxious to finally make it back to Israel. I'm so sure you had a wonderful time!

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  13. Wow, the bread looks amazing. I can imagine how delicious it was. Your pictures are gorgeous and looks like you had a wonderful trip.

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  14. Beautiful photos and what an amazing experience! I love pita and never knew about this paper thin variety :D

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  15. What a lovely post! The pita bread looks amazing, and it reminds me of my own trip to the middle east three years ago. Thank you for sharing your experience Shulie!

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