Shuk HaCarmel

4 Feb

Candied and Dried Fruit

Candied and Dried Fruit. click on the image for more photos from the market

 

The Carmel Market is Tel Aviv’s largest outdoor bazaar. The market is open every day of the week except Saturday (Shabbat). One can find a dizzying array of foods including fresh produce, baked goods, spices, fresh fish, beef and poultry. Also on offer are home accessories, t-shirts and other flea market-type items. On Tuesdays and Fridays an artist market is set up adjacent to the regular market.

I’ve heard a lot about the market ever since I arrived in Tel Aviv and today I finally went there with three friends. It’s located within walking distance of Brad’s office but I am so glad S. offered to drive there. Traffic in downtown Tel Aviv is a bit intimidating.

A light rain fell all day long but that did not deter us. Apparently it did deter many of the art market vendors. S. said there were less than half the vendors there today than there usually are. The rain was not good for taking photographs either but I managed to get some shots in today.

While in the produce section I whipped my camera out to take photos. I did my usual thing, I smiled at the vendor and asked if it was okay to take some photos. The first vendor shook his head no and angrily spat some words out. S., who understands Hebrew, said the vendor indicated that one is not allowed to take photos in the market. She said that was news to her. She’s taken plenty of photos there before. So, after that, I tried taking photos without asking permission and I was scolded several times. I tried being more surreptitious about it after that.

The quality of the produce was amazing. There were several vendors who sold juice squeezed fresh on the spot. Two women were baking flat breads on what looked like an upside-down wok. Most food vendors allow you to sample their wares before buying. And so, I sampled my first halvah and it was delicious. Of the several varieties of halvah on offer I got the marbled chocolate/vanilla.  I also bought some fresh spices, cheese and bread. A couple of vendors were selling fresh dates. I was intrigued by them. I love dried dates but have no idea what fresh dates taste like. I asked if I could try one. R. also asked if she could try one of his strawberries. I didn’t like the fresh date and she was unimpressed with the strawberry so we walked away without purchasing. The vendor scolded us for trying but not buying. Sheesh!

After browsing through the market we had a delicious lunch at an outdoor cafe (they had umbrellas set up to shelter us from the rain). Nearby some street musicians were playing some not-half-bad jazz. All in all, a great day out despite the rain.

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