The Ultimate Carmel Shuk Shopping Guide

The Shuk HaCarmel is an open air market at the heart of Tel Aviv. There are many reviews and “guides” online so I won’t bore you with information that you can get in other places. Just Google it- here.
I’ve been staying in an Airbnb on Allenby which is just a few blocks away and doing almost all of my food shopping there.
With some trial and error I have figured a few things out:
1. Bring a backpack, shoulder bag or granny cart to fill up. The vendors put everything in plastic bags but you will quickly find that they are hard to carry and cut through your fingers. Plus, you are right near the ocean so all those bags can’t be a good thing. (seriously, you can find some of those bags in the ocean when you are swimming, and that's the worst…)
2. The market is on a hill with only clothes at the top and the food stands start in the middle towards the bottom. It is a hill that feels like a mountain when you are walking up it carrying bags that gradually grow heavier as you fill them with food. I don’t know why no one mentions this in the other guidebooks but you should start on Allenby Street and WALK DOWNHILL. If you are doing anything other than buying a handful of almonds, you will want to take this advice.
3. The food is cheapest in the middle of the market or on the side streets. The stores at either end charge a premium. It is not unusual to see a fruit at one price at one of the stands near the entrance and then walk a little farther and see the same quality for half the price.
4. Bring someone with you. The shuk is more like an expedition than a grocery store. You need a friend to push other people out of the way, be your sherpa, and scout for deals.
5. If you are on a budget, shop at the end of the day and especially on Friday afternoon. Most of the stalls are closed on Saturday so the vendors want to unload everything- especially fruits, veggies and baked goods before they spoil. Sometimes they are practically giving stuff away.
6. Do not bring your bike into the shuk.  There are just too many people, lock it up and then bring your bags back to your bike.
7. Hydrate before you go.  It is hot, and the shuk is doubly hot because you are packed in and pushing your way through hordes of people.  There are lots of places to get a drink, a shake or a snow cone- so that is not a problem but it definitly adds up.
8. Don't smoke in the shuk.  This is really more of a public service.  When crushed in a hot, sweaty, public space- smokers literally poison the air... plus you could actually burn someone.
9. Wear a bright colored hat.  You don't want to be labeled a tourist? Too late for that.  There are many times where I have had to search for my kids so I always make them wear florescent hats.  
10. Eat like a local.  Fruits and vegetables are cheapest in the market when they are plentiful and in season.  If you go for the lowest prices, you usually end up with the best produce.
Here are a few suggestions from readers:
1. Check the prices and make sure that they are for a full kilo.  Sometimes the sign give the half kilo price and makes it seem cheaper than it actually is.
2. Don't keep your wallet in the front pouch of your backpack, there are pickpockets and you are basically handing them your wallet.
3. Bring a soft case cooler with some ice.  If you want to buy fish, meat, or cheese- this will make sure that it doesn't go bad in the heat before you get it home.  Ideally, these should all be purchased last.
Got anything else to add? If so- leave your suggestions in the comments or send me a tweet @sarahnadav
Follow our family travel adventures all summer long staying at Airbnb on the beach in Tel Aviv- surfing the waves and exploring the city for family fun and high tech adventures. @sarahnadav on twitter and @dayinthelife on Instagram