Although Shuk HaTivkah is smaller than its cousin, Shuk HaCarmel...it proves that commitment to fresh fruits and vegetables is not a haute value—it’s something all residents of this city (and the country as a whole) shares. Melanie Weiss takes explores this other Tel Aviv Shuk...
Just east of Tel Aviv’s HaHagana train station lies Shchunat HaTikva (“Quarter of Hope”), a poor neighborhood that even many lifelong Tel Avivis are unfamiliar with. However, with a shuk of its own, Shchunat HaTikva proves that commitment to fresh fruits and vegetables is not a haute value—it’s something all residents of this city (and the country as a whole) shares.
And, indeed, although Shuk HaTivkah is smaller than its cousin, Shuk HaCarmel, it’s also cleaner, quieter and all around saner, providing a much more pleasant shopping experience. Like Shuk HaCarmel, there is fresh produce in abundance, although the prices in Shuk HaTivkah are generally lower, while the quality is uniformly high for everything from radishes to rimonim. There are fewer clothing stores and stalls full of kitchen goods, but along with the fresh fruit and vegetables, there are quite a number of prepared foods stalls. Because of the neighborhood’s demographics, Shuk HaTikvah offers a variety of Russian foods, including some unique pickled fish options (check the stalls closest to Levinksy Street).
Speaking of pickles, Shuk HaTikvah features a number of stalls hawking hamotzei habayit—homemade pickles. Along with the expected cucumbers, vendors have tubs of beets, radishes, cabbage and more. These pickled goodies are the epitome of international cuisine meeting local ingredients, and the results are pungently delicious. Make sure to try them all!
One note on the vendors at Shuk HaTivkah: because the neighborhood is generally more religiously observant than many others in Tel Aviv, there are plenty of religious women selling these fruits, vegetables, homemade pickles, breads, cheeses, fish and more. While haggling with a woman in a head-covering is functionally equivalent to haggling at any shuk in the country, you’ll notice that if you linger even a bit at any one stall, these women will be the first to offer you a taste and encourage you to sample some of their wares. In this way, a trip to Shuk HaTivkah is not only a connection to fresh and local produce—it’s a time-travel experience to the old European markets of old, where Jewish women were the primary movers and shakers.
Whether you’re seeking freshly-slaughtered meat, harif Yemenite-style homemade pickles, Russian cheeses or just the regional, fresh, delicious and extremely affordable fruits and vegetables for which Israel is famous, Shuk HaTivkah is well worth the trip. You’ll find it by heading due east from either the New Central bus station of HaHagana train station. Head east, dear reader, for local, fresh tasty treats!