Apparently, hummus is the dish most commonly associated with the Middle East. The debate among the countries of the Middle East as to which of them produces the best hummus will never be resolved because, for each of these countries, hummus is the basic food item identified with one’s home. According to reliable evidence, hummus was first eaten five thousand years before the start of the Common Era!
Hummus is prepared from ground chickpeas and is served as a thick paste. In most cases, it is accompanied by a side order, such as, for example, mushrooms, tahini, meat, or olive oil. When you come to Israel, you can find hummus eateries throughout the country. We have put together a list of the seven hummus eateries you should visit. In each of them, we recommend that you also taste a different version of hummus that is commonly encountered in Israel: masabacha.
Abu Hassan is the most famous hummus eatery in Israel. The original restaurant, which you should definitely visit, is located at 1 Dolphin St., Jaffa, close to Jaffa Port. Every Friday, the long queues of people waiting to enjoy this eating establishment’s hummus are a social gathering. Diners take their hummus portions outside the restaurant, eating on a nearby wall or a parked car; thus, the eating experience here becomes a social and cultural event.
Shlomo and Doron, a father-and-son hummus eatery, is situated in Tel Aviv’s Kerem Hateimanim, or Yemenite Quarter, at 29 Yishkon Street. Doron, the son, who is also responsible for the restaurant’s slogan, “The pleasure of a hummus dip,” is a third-generation maker of hummus, and their hummus, without any side orders, is something that you must try. The eatery closes its doors daily at 3 P.M. and sells hummus until the day’s supply runs out. On particularly busy days, you might find that, even if you come early, your favorite hummus spread is already sold out.
Northern Israel also has a number of different varieties of hummus. Two of its most famous hummus eateries are Hummus Said, which is located in Akko’s marketplace and which does not have an exact address (just ask passersby and you will be directed to this eatery) and Hummus Abu Shakker, 29 Hameginim St. in Haifa’s Lower City. Despite the spaciousness of Hummus Said’s premises, you will often find that you will have to wait a while in line for a free table. During the eatery’s busiest hours, the queue of hummus enthusiasts can sometimes reach as far back as the kiosks situated outside the restaurant. With its delicious hummus, pitot (flat Arab bread) baked on the premises and courteous service, Hummus Said is a must place to visit. Hummus Abu Shakker, which was established in 1939, is less well-known; however, hummus enthusiasts (some of whom will wander the length and breadth of Israel in search of the perfect hummus) claim that Abu Shakker’s hummus is in an elite group. The restaurant today is operated by Abu Shakker’s widow, who personally prepares the hummus that is served there. In addition to hummus, you can ask for a delectable side order of majdara, served with onions and tomatoes.
One cannot speak of hummus without mentioning Jerusalem. Hummus Akramawi, 2 Haneviim (The Prophets) Street, serves a hummus that many say is based on a Syrian recipe brought into the country by a Syrian waiter. The hummus at this eatery is served with balls of falalel and, according to the restaurant’s fans, this establishment makes the best hummus in Jerusalem. The Abu Ali restaurant, which is located in the eastern part of Jerusalem on Al-Isfahani Street, adjacent to 10 Salah A-Din (Saladin) St., is one of the oldest hummus eateries in Jerusalem. Its superb hummus, served in the unique setting of this restaurant, is regarded with great esteem by local residents.
At the Khalil restaurant, 6 Kehillat Detroit St., Ramle, you will find all the favorite dishes of a typical Middle Eastern eating establishment – from various kinds of meat to a wide range of exotic dishes. However, hummus connoisseurs go there primarily for the hummus; according to some sources, these connoisseurs go there primarily for the masabacha, which is served with a unique bell pepper sauce and which is considered by many to be the best in all of Israel.