Street Food Tour of Ramle Shuk

by Sarah on October 9, 2010

Ramle is a working class town in central Israel, populated by a mixture of Jews, Ethiopians, Karachis, Russians and Arabs.  Although conditions are improving, Ramle continues to stuggle against poverty, high crime rate and the dust storms for which the town is named. Despite its stigma, Ramle’s has a prestigious history and was an important economic and cultural capital of the area during ancient times. It was founded by Umayyad caliph Suleiman Ibn Abed Al-Malik, in the year 716 AD. Remnants can still be seen of this era.

Today the heart of the city is not the palaces and mosques of the past, but the outdoor market. It is here that the vibrant diversity of the town can be experienced as well as tasted.

Although Ramle Shuk is much smaller than those in Jerusalem, Haifa or Tel Aviv, it contains an amazing variety of fabulous street foods within walking distance from one another. If you are looking for culinary diversity but are short on time, Ramle shuk is an ideal place to visit. Just come with a big appetite.

Tunisian sandwich, ramle shuk

Tunisian Sandwich: There are three different Tunisian sandwich places at the shuk, all close to each other, but Eli’s is the most famous. With back to back competition the sandwiches are wonderful, especially with the traditional fried fricassee bun.

Location:

Eli’s Tunisian Sandwich Shop

Sderot Ester HaMalcha , Ramle (near the entrance to the shuk from Herzel Road)

Kosher

Telephone: 08-9228363

sambusak in ramle shuk

Sambusak: In the shuk there is a vendor selling Iraqi style spiced chickpea filled sambusak. It is best to eat it while it is still sizzling hot.

Location: The middle of the shuk

Bourekas ramle, turkish burek

Turkish Bourekas are made with crisp, flaky phyllo dough and filled with cheese or potato. You can eat them plain or stuffed with a sliced hard boiled egg and hot sauce.

Original Turkish Bourekas

Jabotinsky 3

(08) 925-5911

Kosher

Ramle

breads ramle

Ethnic Breads: Pick up a variety of breads from the bakery stall, from zaatar sticks to Buharian bread. Located in the shuk. Kosher.

Falafel Jackie was established in 1948 and continues to be the favorite falafel stand in the area. When school is out for the day, there is always a line of hungry children waiting there.

halil hummus ramle

Halil’s Hummus is a proper sit down restaurant and it prepares some of the best hummus and masabacha in the country.

Location:

Kehelat Detroit 6, Ramle (the road that runs parallel to the shuk)

Telephone: 08-9222284

Not Certified Kosher (open on Shabbat)

Knafe- A few stores after Halil’s restaurant is a little store called Shaheen’s Sweets selling baklava from Nazareth as well as homemade knafe, a classic Arabic dessert.

Location:

Kehelat Detroit 2, Ramle

Not Kosher

Telephone: 054-4444229

08-9226459

Ramle indian store, restaurant

Indian sweets are sold at  Maharaja, an Indian specialty store. There is a large population of Karachis in Ramle and this store provides them with traditional Indian spices and goods.

Location:

Herzl 87, Ramle (opposite the park near the shuk)

Kosher

Telephone: 08-8522064

shabkia, iraqi sweet

Shabkia (Zoolbia) is an Iraqi deep fried sweet coated in sugar syrup or honey. It is sold adjacent to the sambusak vendor in the shuk.

If you are thirsty from all the food, there are plenty of refreshing options. Stands sell everything from lemonade, pomegranate juice, orange/carrot juice and even sugarcane juice. It is also possible to buy leben, a yogurt drink popular in the Balkans. It’s sold at the Turkish bourekas stand.

Places of Interest:

If you have a few hours in the city there are several places worth visiting.

white tower ramle

The white tower was built in 13th century close to where the White Mosque used to stand. It is 30 meters high and it was probably used as a watch tower as well as a minaret to call Muslims to pray five times a day.

ramle pool of arches

The Pool of Arches, also called St. Helen’s Pool, is an underground cistern which was used to provide the city of Ramle with water. It was built during the reign caliph Haroun al-Rashid in 789 AD.

08-9771595

Hours: Monday-Thursday 8:00-14:30

Friday and Eve of Holidays: 8:00-14:00

Shabbat and Holidays: 8:00-16:00

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Kate October 11, 2010 at 11:44 pm

Are the fry-guys (sambusak and the honey fritters) seasonal? I remember seeing them last Chanukah and not since. Admittedly I only go to Ramle about once every 4-6 weeks, but I have definitely kept an eye out for those delicious treats!

Reply

Sarah October 11, 2010 at 11:55 pm

You are right, he isn’t there everytime, I have not noticed, however if it is a seasonal thing or if he is there only certain days of the weeks.

Reply

Sarah October 19, 2010 at 4:34 am

Thank you so much for your wonderful posts. My family is living in Haifa for the year (from NYC) and we’ve been to Ezba because of you & now I want to take a trip to the Ramle shuk. Now, if you can just tell me where to find the best croissants in Haifa . . .

Reply

Sarah October 19, 2010 at 5:36 am

Thank you Sarah, The Ezba review is actually Michelles of Baroness Tapuzina
As for croissants in Haifa, if you find something wonderful let me in on the scoop!

Reply

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