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5 Hidden Secrets of the Jerusalem Market

November 5, 2019

When someone says the word ‘market,’ what picture comes to mind?

It may be your routine, tedious experience – rolling a shopping cart through the monotonous aisles of a supermarket. Doesn’t sound that exciting, does it?

You will discover that the outdoor Mahane Yehuda Jerusalem food market, or, as the Israelis call it, the Shuk (‘market’), is so much more than your typical grocery shopping experience. Located between the historic neighborhood of Nachlaot and the modern light-rail on Jaffa Street, it is the beating heart of the city. Founded in 1885 and still standing today, it carries the authentic Israeli spirit and yet has grown and kept up with the times.


Young Arab baker

Young Arab baker


Something for everyone

From one end to the other are alleys lined with stalls, shops, restaurants, and bars. The smell of spices and freshly baked bread greet you at every corner. You can buy anything from meats and fish, to cheeses at Basher’s famous fromagerie, to fresh fruit and vegetables. In just your first few steps, you’ll find aromatic roasted coffee, fresh-out-of-the-oven pastries, and Bakla Wish’s hot and cheesy pistachio covered middle eastern dessert. The sound of sellers offering tastes of their products, the rumble of local buyers bargaining for reasonable prices, and the buzz of visitors speaking different languages create the feeling that the Shuk is a place for everyone.

Seeing all that food is bound to make you hungry. Why not stop at Azura, where they’ll sit you down for a hot plate of Turkish- and Israeli-style meat dishes or enjoy bite-after-bite of crispy Yemeni malawach from the Jachnun Bar. If you’re searching for a familiar taste, you’ll find a wide variety of international cuisines. Latino street food, delicious Italian pasta, English fish and chips, and Japanese sushi bowls – they have it all. If you can dream it, you can eat it!

The after-party

But it doesn’t stop there. After shop owners have packed up for the day, the vibrant nightlife takes over. Restaurants and pubs use the now-empty stalls to put out chairs and tables for young people (and the young at heart) seeking to end their day with an evening hang-out. If you want to try something unique, Beer Bazaar is the place for you: Israeli craft beer, food, and a chilled-out atmosphere awaits you.

After the party is over, there is still some midnight magic waiting for you night owls. If you stay long enough after the shops’ metal shutters have been rolled down, you’ll see the market turn into a hip art gallery. An aspiring artist, Solomon Souza, spray-paints colorful murals of characters such as biblical figures, politicians, entertainers, and even rabbis and religious leaders.


Artist - Solomon Souza

Artist – Solomon Souza


Discover its surprising history, learn about the founding families who made it what it is today, and the tastes that define it.

Well, there you have it, 5 hidden secrets:

  1. Bakla Wish
  2. Azura
  3. Jachnun Bar
  4. Beer Bazar
  5. Hip night gallery

Don’t know how to navigate your way through the city or find the best hole-in-the-wall hummus joint? (It’s always the one the locals go to, of course!) With our daily tours in Israel, you’ll be sure to see all the hidden gems. All you have to do is be there. We’ll take care of the rest.

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