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Apr 2, 2013 12:13 PM

What should I bring back from the shuk?

I'm leaving Jerusalem tomorrow. What small items (like spices, olives) should I bring back to the US from Machane Yehuda? I live in DC, and want things that are hard to get, or hard to find in kosher form. Thanks and happy Hametz!

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  1. If you don't have Pereg spices easily available, find their stores in the shuk and have fun with some of the spice blends. I also like trying many different kinds of halvah from the King of Halvah.
    A word of advice, though, if you like dried fruit. Apparently, on airport x-ray devices, dried fruit looks exactly like plastique explosives. Fortunately, El Al operatives are used to tourists bringing home dried fruit.

    1. Curly halvah. It's like cotton candy for grown-ups.

      4 Replies
      1. re: CloggieGirl

        Definitely the curly halva - so much better. In the spice quest, there are some fancier spice places in the shuk that sell black salt which is from the Dead Sea. I don't particularly notice the difference, but I have friends who really enjoy it. For spices, sumac and Za'atar - but there are also a lot of fun spice blends.

        If you're able to bring back larger items, then definitely olive oil - and the only item any of my family ever want me to bring back are the Marzipan ruggelah. They actually do travel fairly well, and has definitely simplified getting gifts when I travel to the US.

        1. re: cresyd

          Your Marzipan rugelach actually made it to the airport? I'm impressed. Last summer we were staying just about across the street from Marzipan and were getting the rugelach right out of the oven. Man, was that ever good.

          And I did forget about the olive oil. You can taste many before you buy so you can choose your preferences. Just be sure to wrap the bottles or cans very, very well. Voice of experience here. Just sayin'...

          1. re: rockycat

            I think like many things, the longer you live around something - the less appeal it holds. But - investing in some "gift" tupperware is definitely necessary for the trip.

            And definitely invest in quality transport for olive oil if you go that way. That is one unpleasant mess to clean up.

            1. re: rockycat

              A relative purchased 6lbs of the rugalech and brought most of it home. Lasted for a while In the freezer.

              Spilled olive oil cannot be good.

        2. oh, i love the shuk! the smells, the colors, the very aliveness of the whole thing! know that whatever you bring home you will enjoy, if only because it will remind you of the amazing place you bought it in!

          1. CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE!!!

            1. I second the spices & halvah.