Friday, March 5, 2010

Levinski Market - The Spice Mecca

The Levinski market can be crowded and noisy and more often than not, dirty, but look to the sides and you'll suddenly be taken by it's charms.
The smell of spices, neat pyramids of paprika and an never ending array of colors.

It's beautiful really, in a messy way, like a Jackson Pollock painting. Stay focused, there is so much to choose from, up from the high shelves, down to the neatly lined sacks of walnuts, herbs and tea mixes on the side walk.

Grab a bag and take a little bit of everything, ask questions later.

A couple of visits and you'll instinctively find yourself returning to the same places, like making them your own. It's a bonding thing.
I usually start with my favorite dry goods shop located on Nahalat Binyamin street, about 15 meters north of Levinski. It's got everything under one roof. From tehina to organic dried figs. It's never crowded, which always give you a little time to talk with Meir Gabbay while eating a big fat medjool date.

For spices, seeds, coffee and all kinds of little odd powders, David's the place. 
I'm a rather big coffee drinker and I'm a bit ashamed to say that until recently, I thought the most trustworthy place to get my ground coffee was Café Neto. On a whim, I decided to get 250g at David's and just hoped for the best.
The container holding the different blends of coffee is, to say the least, pretty impressive. Like an amazing piece of steam-punk, with it's beautiful copper color and fat knobs. I chose the Italian blend.

The coffee turned out to be excellent and in no way inferior to what I used to buy at the coffee shop. It isn't very strong, like what I'd get in Europe, but it tasted great and produced a nice thick, light colored cream on top. No fancy packaging here, thought I think it looked pretty neat and kind of retro.

 Mr. David at his shop

Also, If you're on Levinski, you have no excuse to go hungry. Right next door to David's Shop, a small sandwich bar is the perfect place for a pit stop. 

Kaimak, sandwich and coffee Shop

...may I say the sandwiches are pretty good too. Fresh and making use of the local spice market products, everything is made right under your eyes. And that's fine with me. The decoration, while simple, is homey and inviting, with a definite middle eastern touch.

It's all about little details at Kaimak...

...and good honest food at a fair price. You can see the rest of the pictures here.

Cheers all!


  1. Hi, Alex, my name is Katia, and i living in the Carribean.
    I have a question, What is tehina?

  2. Hi Katia! Tehina is simply sesame seed paste. ^_^

  3. Hi again. I have many question about your fabulous recipes. When you mentioned kasoorimethi in the spicy chicken meetballs recipe, what is this?. Because I have another culture I think I need a "little map" to comprensive all the things. Please be patient with me ^_^. Have a good day.

  4. I'm more than happy to answer any questions you may have. Keep them coming! ^_^
    Kasoorimethi is dried fenugreek leaves and it's not easy to find or to substitute. Actually, I could not find that for the recipe, so I skipped it altogether. The recipe turned out wonderful without it, so don't worry!