Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Sweet and Spicy

Levinsky spice market is very inviting. The smells here are maddening, you can have a bite of turkish boureka, and sometimes even stumble upon a famous chef in search of some special spice for some special dish. Many come here not just for the products but also for the unique, colorful atmosphere of this place.

The small but rich in stuff spice market is located on a portion of the long Levinsky street ( probably named so after one of Monika Levinsky's ancestors LOL) - in south Tel-Aviv, not far from the New Central Bus Station. The everyday traffic here is terrible , on Fridays - it's all hectic, but.. one survives.

pink of shorts goes well with blue of bag stripes

Levinsky market specializes in a wide selection of spices and dried herbs (local, exotic) , dried fruits, nuts, grains, flour, and Mediterranean delicacies such as: olives and olive spreads, pickles, herring, smoked fish, cheeses, stuffed grape leaves.

spices and dried herbs

dried fruits, nuts, almonds, pistachios, peanuts

customer waiting to be served

olives & pickles

vendor posing for the camera

Among the spice/dried fruit/grain shops there are some small bakeries which specialize in turkish/greek style pastries : bourekas, kadaiff, baklava, pita; shops with cookies and turkish delight (lokum, halva) on their shelves , shops that sell olive oil, wines, coffee /coffee beans, tea blends, flavorings for baking.

bourekas (filled with cheese or potato)


And amidst all this ...surprise, surprise - two arab women (apparently unaccompanied by men?!) having a bite in an eatery - and...a lovely synagogue near one of the shops (prayers are always welcomed).

arab women in the eatery



  1. Ach... Börek, Lokum & Helva. I so love turkish food!
    I did not know it was popular enough in Israil. :)
    I so do love all the images with the food. So fresh & good looking.

    Those blue & white striped bags remind me of turkish markets, too, nice to see how some countries in the near east have something in common, whatever their background or religion.
    Also love the easy-going poses these peoples do sport.

  2. This makes me hungry just reading. Out food in the states is soooo bland.

    In addition it's full of additives and our meats are nothing like they were because they are raised by corporations who only care about the bottom line It's bad and I tell no lies.

  3. Fist of all - a place for me:) A wonderful choice of olives. Secondly many names of food are known also in the south of Europe, so I guess it is a common part of cooking culture

  4. There is nothing like natural produce for sale in this manner. Maybe that's why the traffic is so busy on certain days. It's nice that the vendors were so keen to help with your pictures.

  5. Awww. DUTA, I could almost smell those lovely items there. I am a very sense person and the sight of all the spices and food made me go crazy. There are many markets like this in India as well but not as big.

    Thanks for this delightful treat, dear DUTA.

    Joy always,

  6. PinkPanthress,

    This market was founded by immigrants from Turkey and Greece -hence the popularity here of turkish and greek food and spices.
    The blue stripped bags are quite dominant as containers of products.

    One Fly,

    I do believe you about the additives in food. Corporations all over the world care about their profit, less about people's health - and that must change.


    Food, like many other things has also become globalized. So, no wonder you're familiar with the names and perhaps tastes of many of the mediterranean food products.


    I was surprised myself by the vendor's readiness to pose for my camera. Usually, people are reluctant to have their picture taken. I must say he's quite photogenic:)

    Susan Deborah,

    I'm sensitive too to smells, colors and tastes of food items.
    I suppose India has it all when it comes to food, just as in textiles, pharmaceuticals, furniture.

  7. I like spices and special dishes. They are a delight for my appetite.
    Woderful post!

  8. I love spices and would sure love that spice market!
    Do you go there often?
    You got some great pictures in this post!
    So enjoyed this post, thanks Duta!

    Happy weekend!

    Margie :)

  9. Wishing I was a witch and I could wiggle my nose and blink my eyes and I would arrive at this wonderful place. With all those items, the air must smell heavenly. Do they give out free samples? I would not care how hectic the place happens to be as the atmosphere must be enchanting. Now I am HUNGRY. Peace

  10. robert,

    I suppose you've got similar markets in your country Romania too. I believe there are places in the south with some turkish influence, as far as food and spices are concerned.


    I used to work not far from the market (a 20 minutes walk), so I loved to come to it whenever possible. Nowadays, I'm there only once in a while.

    Lady Di Tn,

    Well, not exactly free samples, but you get to taste almost everything before buying it (with the exception, perhaps, of certain bottled/canned items).

  11. It all looks delightful, Duta! Too bad the fragrance is missing. We have nothing to compare to your spice market near here. Perhaps in large cities with ethnic populations a similar place could be found, however. It would be wonderful to be able to taste what you were purchasing!

  12. What an absolute gem of a place... all those lovely spices must give the place a delicious aroma. Could quite easily spend loads of money in a place like that but have to make do with buying spices, from a minimal range, in small glass jars at our local supermarket!

  13. Nice photos of things I can smell without being there.

    I am still on virtual vacation – a sabbatical of sorts but love to pop in on people. To me it is something like opening the door on the outhouse...

    You are always in for a big surprise!

  14. What a beautiful market - I love the combination of colors, and as Honest Abe said, "I can smell without being there." I'm not that much into cooking anymore (unfortunately), but the ready-made baked goods look irresistible. I hope you enjoyed some of them! Thanks for the trip to the market! (I'm unable to post, it seems, from my laptop computer when I'm out of town (most of the time). I'm home, now, so can finally tell you how much I enjoy your blog.

  15. Dimple,

    It really is delightful. I particularly like the variety of nuts and dried fruit displayed here. (These products should however, be purchased and eaten in moderation as they are high in calories and thus fattening -sigh-


    A "gem" indeed, an aromatic gem. The prices are cheaper than at the supermarket , but the varity is much greater.

    Honest Abe,

    Welcome to my blog, and thanks for the visit and the comment. Have a wonderful vacation!


    Glad you're able to post now. I'm thankful, as always for your beautiful and wise words.

  16. I walked through a market like this in Jerusalem and loved it. I came back the following Friday afternoon so that I could experience it in full vigor.

  17. Oooh, that looks like so much fun! Bins of nuts always make me want to run my fingers through them :)


  18. I like to see your city! The spices look really good....and everything else.

  19. I yearn to smell all those intermingled spices. Aromas are such a part of the travel experience.

  20. TallTchr,

    I guess you're referring to Machane Yehuda Market; this market gives one a real glimpse into true middle eastern life, and it's a Must for any visitor in Jerusalem.

    Abby Rogers,

    Welcome to my little blog!
    I'm also a nut-lover, and here there's a great variety of them. to satisfy everyone's taste.

    Kim & Stuff,

    Actually I don't live in this city, but in a smaller, nearby one.
    I used to work , though, in this "big city" named Tel-Aviv.

    English Rider,

    I completely agree with you. Smells, aromas, fragrances, scents, odors - are a major part of any "travel experience".

  21. Duta,

    If I may, I'd like to send you a few thoughts by private email. Would you send me your address? Mine is Thank you.

    Richard Lavin

  22. Hmm.... I can smell the fragrances and aromas. My kind of place. I love the pictures.


  23. Talltchr,

    Yes, of course you may.

    Hold my hand: a social worker's blog,

    Thank you. I'm glad you like the pictures and can smell the aromas of the place.

  24. I do love markets. Lovely photos. Thanks for visiting. Cheers from Cottage Country!

  25. Welcome! Glad you like the photos.
    Hope you'll visit again.