On my 19th birthday, I was down with the flu and unable to get out of bed, which was a huge disappointment for someone who loves birthdays. The only thing that managed to lift my mood was a steaming pan of shakshuka that was presented to me by my Israeli friends. They promised me great taste and an instant relief from my blocked nose as they’d made it extra spicy for me. It was a dish that had always intrigued me because of its name, and it was a dish that lived up to all my expectations – it was delicious!
Shakshuka is fried eggs made in tomato stew on a frying pan. Varieties of spices and chills are added to enhance the taste and it is usually eaten with some pita bread. Although popular as a breakfast dish, I’ve been told it is commonly eaten as a comfort food.
By all accounts, on my trip to Israel, Dr. Shakshuka in Jaffa, Tel Aviv, is a must-try. Located right next to the flea market, this place is famous for making the best shakshuka, thus gaining its name. The little courtyard restaurant is family-run and is said to give you a feel for Old Jaffa, along with some amazing shakshuka. With long communal tables and locals frequenting the restaurant, the vibe is warm and inviting, much like the dish itself.
The Libyan Jewish family has run the restaurant for over a decade. They represent the diversity of Jaffa where a high number of Arab and other African communities coexist. This could explain how a Middle Eastern origin dish has become such an iconic dish of this area.