”Shalom, how much is this Jewish kippah?”, I ask the local man at the Carmel Market in Tel Aviv. ‘It’s 10 shekel for you my friend’, says the old man sitting behind his table. ”Bevakasha sir, Im a student and have only seven shekel”, I try to negotiate. ‘No no, it’s 10 shekel. Fair price!’ ”Sorry sir, I have only seven”, I repeat showing him my wallet with only 7 Israeli coins. ‘Oke oke, give 7 shekel.’ ”Toda raba sir! ‘Bevakasha my friend, lehitraot!’ I put the kippah on my head and continue my walk further into the magic world of colourful spices, exotic fruit and antic artifacts. Now I have more the feeling how it is to be Jewish in Israel.
On my left side I see two Jewish men bargaining about some Baklava. In front of my there is a big crowd moving. Sometimes you get at the Carmel Market into a traffic gem but than without cars. I can recognise the other tourists who try to get some Shekel of the price. But the sellers of the Carmel Market know how to spot a tourist. With my kippah I will maybe have some more luck to be treated with fair prices like a local. But I still don’t know enough Hebrew. Probably people like my get something of the price and are happy that they made a good deal. But in reality you are scammed! Or maybe we can call it business…
I walk further and see a table full of spices that can be used for flavoring, coloring or preserving food. A spice is a seed, fruit, root, bark, or other plant substance. The local people collect it from herbs that are leaves, stems or flowers of a plant. You can add it to the Israeli falafel and Shakshuka (Middle Eastern egg dish). The flavour of the dish will become even better!
My parents see the tower of spices and are willing to buy something so we have some special taste into our diner. The men selling the spices welcomes us to smell the fresh scent of the plant substance. It’s smells really good! I can almost taste it with some falafel pita. The men gives us also some nuts and dried fruit to taste. The flavour is really expressive. My parents buy a big bag of spices but forget to bargain and pay too much. The men will probably treat his wife some nice diner!
When I go further I come in wonderland of sweets and candy. I can see my dentist talking how bad all this sugar is for my teeth. But it looks so tasty! I almost want to buy all the halva, baklava, winegums and every sweet looking candy on the table but the force from inside stops me. To be honest the wallet stops me, because I don’t have any Shekel left.
Instead of getting stomach pain from all this candy my father offers me to try some fresh carrot shake. It sounds first Blehh. But in the end it was a refreshing way for the thirst.
What would you buy at the Carmel Market in Tel Aviv?