Hummus is sacred in Israel, the chickpea dip is considered a national dish. The right consistency is a matter of debate: creamy or coarse, with a lot of Tahini or a just a little, heavily or mildly seasoned, with parsley, olive oil or warm chick peas as a topping.
One thing’s for sure: buying prepackaged hummus in the supermarket is regarded as a faux pas. It is a main course, to be eaten with passion and without flatware. In Hebrew one says: “lenagev”, which means something like wiping, so it is wiped off the plate with pita bread. It’s preferable to do this during the first half of the day (not evenings), and there’s nothing wrong with making a mess. In the evening, however, the dip sits too heavily on the stomach.
Here are my top five Hummus places in Tel Aviv
Abu Hassan aka Ali Caravan – the legend
Abu Hassan, arguably the most famous hummus in Tel Aviv, has cult status. Ali Caravan sold his first hummus fifty years ago on a wheelbarrow in Yafo. A few years later, he opened his first shop in Dolphin St in Yafo. Since then, hungry crowds are already queuing up outside the family business early in the morning, the doors of which already close in the afternoon. Ali Caravan’s hummus is legendary and should not be missed by any Tel Aviv visitor. A month ago, the Yafo institution opened a branch in the trendy Sarona market. Although the hummus there is just as addictive, those looking for the real deal should not hesitate to take the trip to Yafo.
Abu Hassan, Dolphin Street 1, Yafo; Shivtei, Israel Street 14, Sarona Market
Hummus Abu Adham – for a quick snack
Abu Adham is a simple place without airs and graces, just as befits a genuine hummusyiah. The dip is creamy, smooth and served with warm chickpeas and a dash of olive oil. Located on central Carlebach Street in the south of Tel Aviv, the place is never short of customers. Here too, you can have the hummus bottled and take it home with you. The flagship at Abu Adham’s is with warm fava beans (ful).
Abu Adham, Carlebach-Street 7
Weekdays 10 am-10 pm, Fridays 10 am-6 pm, Saturdays 10 am-8 pm
Gargar HaZahav – hipster Hummus in the Levinsky market
The area around the Levinskymarket is Tel Aviv’s hipster district. Right in the middle lies Gargar HaZahav. The clientele is young, it’s noisy, and I find it has the best hummus in town. When I crave hummus, that’s the address I head to. The chickpeas are freshly processed all day long. It also offers delicacies like lime-tabouleh salad and roasted cauliflower. My favorite.
Gargar HaZahav, Levinskystreet 30
Sundays -Thursdays 10 am-6 pm, Fridays 10 am-3 pm
Shlomo und Doron in the Yemenites Quarter
In a side street off the weekly Shuk HaCarmel market lies this hummus pearl. The clientele is an interesting mixture of elderly Yemenite Jews who live in the neighborhood and young Tel Avivers who are already wiping their hummus off plates early in the morning. Here too, you should be prepared to queue up if you want to get a table. Shlomo and Doron is still an insider’s tip. A popular choice is “complete”, with fava beans, hard boiled eggs and tahina.
Shlomo&Doron, Yishkonstreet 29
Sundays – Fridays 7 am-3 pm
Hummus Caspi – neighborhood meeting point
Finally, there’s also a delicious hummus place in my neighborhood, in the old north of Tel Aviv. To my delight, Caspi opened up a branch on busy Yehuda Maccabi Street two weeks ago. The place is colorful, with loud Israeli music, red-checkered tablecloths and is jam-packed around lunch time. So, best to go eat there on an anticyclical basis. The falafel balls are huge and fluffy. The perfect solution if you don’t feel like cooking and the children (as always) are hungry. Absolutely recommendable.
Hummus Caspi, Yehuda Maccabi Street at the corner of Hildesheimerstreet
translation by Catherine Bradshaw
credit cover photo: themodelhouse.tv
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