Searching for a gluten high-bourekas, pide and couscous

by Sarah on April 25, 2011

pide, lachmacun, Yehud , israel

Let’s make this clear. Although I write a food blog I don’t always want to cook. In fact, if I wore an apron I would throw it away in protest. Enough already! That’s what happens after three weeks of elaborate Passover meals and feeding a gang of neighborhood kids whose mothers’ aren’t in a rush to call them home. The best solution for Passover burnout and matza fatigue is going out for some of the tastiest gluten in the country. Here is a list of my favorite places to find bourekas (burek), Turkish pide (meat pizza) and wonderfully fluffy couscous, my idea of leavened heaven.

Bourekas gedara, Israel

Bourekas Gedara:

It doesn’t look like much but the stand on the main road through Gedara sells some of the best bourekas in the country. The crisp outer layers encase a steaming interior of cheese, potato or spinach, always freshly baked throughout the day. The phyllo dough is still made by hand, using a recipe originating from Izmir, Turkey; The same one being used by the current Iraqi owner, Gilad who continues the tradition. Gilad cuts the bourekas using a mezzaluna and asks if you want to add schug (Yemenite hot sauce) or a hardboiled egg.

Location: 7 Herzl Street, Gedara. It is a bit north of the central bus station. You can’t miss it with its gigantic sign. Kosher.

ramle bourekas

The Original bourekas in Ramle:

I am regular customer at the Turkish bourekas stand in Ramle because it’s right in the middle of one of my favorite outdoor markets. Like all quality bourekas stands, sometimes I have to wait before a tray comes out of the oven even if there are a few left over from a previous batch; they won’t sell it to you if it’s cold. There are always several that are a bit burnt on the top, these I love the best for they crackle when bitten into. I buy a cup of cold lemonade and walk to the nearby park to eat it, leaving a trail of crumbs behind me.

Location: Jabotinsky 3, Ramle. Telephone: (08) 925-5911. Kosher

pide and bourekas in Yehud, Israel

Pide in Yehud:

Lahmajoon, or meat pizza is often found in Arab bakeries around the country but Turkish pide, although similar, is harder to find. Nestled in the old commercial center of Yehud, a town with a large Turkish population, The Flavors of Turkey bakery provides the traditional delicacies that many have grown up with. The owners are both Turkish and so is the head baker, Mehmet Kazelrak who was born in Urfa in eastern Turkey and has been baking from the age eight. The pide is wonderful, with a thin crust holding just the right amount of savory ground meat. Read more about the bakery in Baroness Tapuzina’s post.

Location: 10 Zvi Yishai, Yehud. Telephone: 077-5466830 , Kosher

Mama mafruma, North African restaurant, Israel

Couscous and more in Ashdod:

In the  industrial zone in Ashdod, on the aptly named Worker’s Street is the family owned Mama Mafruma restaurant. It is a simple diner that serves up some terrific Tripolitan cooking, attracting families, couples and local workers alike. I ordered couscous with mafrum, a North African dish of potatoes stuffed with meat in a fragrant tomato sauce. The restaurant also serves slow cooked meat in cumin, fish patties, vegetable soup and a variety of  salads, from spiced pumpkin to tangy pickles.  The service is quick and the price is just right.

Location: 44 Ha’avoda St., Ashdod, 08-8567681, Ashdod

Telephone: 03-6392060

Couscous in Mitzpe Ramon

Hakatzeh Restaurant and Pub (On the Edge, referring to the crater right out of town) is a family owned Moroccan diner in the heart of the Negev.  After a day of hiking  there is nothing better than their steaming bowl of couscous with chicken and vegetable soup.

Location: 2 Har Ardon, Industrial center Mitzpe Ramon

Telephone: 050 7565063, 08 6595273

Next year perhaps I will adopt myself a Moroccan grandmother or head over to Liz’s for Mufleta.

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Liz April 25, 2011 at 1:15 pm

You sure have gone far and wide in your search for hametz! The only one I’ve tried so far is the Ramle burekas and they’re really good.

P.S. Next year I’m also going to adopt myself a Moroccan grandmother. Maybe we could share one?


Sarah April 25, 2011 at 1:24 pm

I don’t mind sharing, as long as I get at least one mufleta, well maybe two ;-). Who do you think will adopt two?


Yael April 25, 2011 at 1:33 pm

Didn’t try any of these places. Now I have something to look forward to. Maybe you can show me some of them now that the holiday is finally over. Great post.


Sarah April 25, 2011 at 1:44 pm

Yael, Thanks! I will very gladly drag you to everyone of those places, my favorite hobby!


usha April 25, 2011 at 5:23 pm

I imagine you might get a surprise the next time you leave a trail of bourekas crumbs….turn around and watch feathered friends or even a chipmunk or two making off with them. It has happened to me…only, it wasn’t a bourekas !!


Sarah April 25, 2011 at 11:26 pm

Bourekas are incredibly messy (or maybe I’m just a messy eater) and I try avoid walking into the house with them.


Angela April 25, 2011 at 7:40 pm

These look delicious, I love Turkish food, in Shanghai I believe I’m the best customer of the Turkish restaurant in city centre, and one of my favourite dishes is the cheese pide. I love tulumba too, the perfect end to the meal :)


Miriyummy April 25, 2011 at 11:20 pm

I haven’t been to any of these places, but I feel a road trip coming soon…


Sarah April 25, 2011 at 11:24 pm

We do alot of traveling and I am always on the lookout for good family restaurants and street food.


Turkey's For Life April 27, 2011 at 12:41 am

Mmmmm, what a great variety of food. The pide looks quite a bit thicker than the pide we get here in Turkey but it still looks soooo good. And those bourekas (or börek, as we say, here :) ) look amazing. All perfect snacks – if a little fattening. :)


Sarah April 27, 2011 at 3:12 am

Israel has some fantastic foods to choose from. There’s everything here, except perhaps proper Chinese food.


Faye Levy April 27, 2011 at 4:39 am

Bourekas are one of my favorite foods, especially those spiral-shaped ones you showed. Can’t wait to try these places.


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