Pascale’s Kitchen - The all-new Afula shuk

Some visitors have even compared the new Afula shuk to Mahaneh Yehuda in Jerusalem and Shuk HaCarmel in Tel Aviv.

Afula Shuk (photo credit: ISRAEL NATURE AND PARKS AUTHORITY)
Afula Shuk
(photo credit: ISRAEL NATURE AND PARKS AUTHORITY)
I heard a rumor that the outdoor fruit and vegetable shuk in Afula has recently been infused with new life, and so I set out to see what all the hullabaloo was about.
This old market was first established 46 years ago in the center of town near the Afula Central Bus Station. It was the beating heart of the city for many years, and thousands of people would pass through its bustling stalls and the nearby shops every day. You could buy just about anything there: fresh fruit and vegetables, spices, clothing and housewares. Just across the street you could find seamstresses, glaziers and hair salons.
But then shopping malls and large grocery stores began popping up, and the shuk became run-down and neglected. Only the old-timers still offered the few passersby their wares. Soon enough, drug-dealers and prostitutes filled the empty spaces.
Then one day, a group of idealistic youngsters and artists got together, and in cooperation with the Afula Municipality in January 2018, the shuk was renovated and covered with street art. Mor Lifshitz teamed up with Gili Barak, Sivan Gino and Masha Dov, who opened a store called HaBasta, to form Ve’ahavta, a new artistic venture in the shuk featuring works by young local artists.
Slowly, the narrow alleyways of the old shuk began to take on a young, avant-garde style, and new life exploded all around. It began to fill with color, music, tantalizing aromas and musical performances. In short, Afula succeeded in embracing a new Israeli pop culture that combined community with business and tourism.
What about the old-timers? Are they happy with these changes? Mor Lifshitz says they’re thrilled, since the shuk was near to closing down completely, and the city has been sensitive to their unique situation, so they don’t feel like their needs are not being met. Some visitors have even compared the new Afula shuk to Mahaneh Yehuda in Jerusalem and Shuk HaCarmel in Tel Aviv.
One of the newly established food stalls is pastry chef Dotan Asis’s and chef Assaf Hiblum’s Hashuk 34. All the nearby walls have been covered with vibrant artistic graffiti. Guests can sit on high barstools, either inside or outside, while they enjoy plates or laffa filled with an assortment of pullets, kebab and gently smoked asado.
If you’re vegan, you’re also in luck, since the new Afula shuk has the best vegan donuts, kanafeh and sandwiches around.
For those of you looking for vegan and gluten-free, you’ll want to eat at Tierra, which was recently opened by chef Matan Shamir
There you’ll find cashew cheese and a whole host of tasty spreads. On Fridays, you can purchase teff bread and lots of other vegan delicacies for Shabbat.
Next there’s Hashminiya, where you can eat halla sandwiches, including shakshuka, falafel, meatballs, fish balls, schnitzel and fried eggplant. Or try Falafel Abu Nasser, which has been around since 1984. Nasser, a Christian Arab from Nazareth, is famous for his spicy falafel.
If you’re in the mood for a sabich sandwich stuffed with eggplant, hard-boiled eggs, parsley and amba, I recommend trying out the aptly named Sabich, which follows a secret family recipe. They make their pita breads by steaming them in a pot, which makes them stretchy, so they don’t burst when you stuff them with lots of tasty fillings.
At Crazy Donut you’ll find lots of colorful donuts, alongside cinnamon rolls, pancakes and Belgian waffles, as well as chocolates and candies.
Of course, there are plenty of spice stalls, too, and even a shop that sells ingredients to prepare Ethiopian dishes.
My favorite stall was Musa Kanafeh Ivri, run by brothers Eliyahu and Moshe Cohen. They serve their kanafeh with Turkish ice cream, alongside the malabi, baklava with pistachio nuts, kata’if filled with cheese and hazelnuts, sahlav and lots of Greek pastries filled with feta cheese and soaked in silan.
Below you’ll find two recipes I received from the owners of Hashuk 34. Enjoy!

ARAIS FISH

Can be served with any dip or spread you like, such as green tahini, tahini mixed with harissa or aioli with pickled lemon.
500 g. flathead gray mullet fillets
1 heaping Tbsp. homemade harissa
1 level Tbsp. pickled lemon spread
1 handful of chopped parsley
Zest from 1 lemon
Black pepper and salt, to taste
1-2 Tbsp. Israeli olive oil
4 pita breads, cut in half
Olive oil
Chop the fish into ½-cm. cubes and put in a bowl. Add the harissa, pickled lemon spread, chopped parsley and lemon zest to the bowl. Mix and season with salt and pepper, olive oil.
Fill the pita pockets with 3 tablespoons of fish mixture and brush pita with olive oil. Place on the grill, griddle or plancha.
Level of difficulty: Medium.
Time: 30 minutes.
Status: Pareve.

CAESAR SALAD WITH PULLET

Prepare the pullet ahead of time or buy prepared. Potatoes can also be cooked ahead.
Makes 4 servings.
1 head of lettuce, torn into pieces (best to use lighter colored heart of lettuce pieces that are crunchy)
1 handful of homemade croutons
1-2 soft-boiled eggs (boil for 6 minutes, then put eggs in ice water)
150 g. pullet, sliced, with smoked paprika
1 handful of cooked potatoes that are then fried in cornmeal
Caesar dressing:
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
½ tin of anchovies
1 heaping Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
300 g. Dutch mayonnaise
50 ml. olive oil
120 ml. canola oil
Add all of the dressing ingredients, except for the mayonnaise, olive and canola oils, to the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and then add the mayonnaise and mix well. Drizzle with both oils while mixing quickly, but don’t over-mix. Arrange lettuce pieces on a platter. Next, add the croutons, soft-boiled eggs, pullet slices and potatoes. Pour dressing on top and serve.
Level of difficulty: Easy.
Time: 30 minutes
Status: Meat.
Translated by Hannah Hochner.