There is no way to avoid walking on a packed sidewalk dodging moms pushing strollers, fellow tourists, and Israelis charging past all the hustle and bustle, if you want to make it inside the shuk. Once inside, you will find the epitome of constant chaos: pushing, shoving, elbowing, shouting, bargaining, and snacking on whatever is laying out in the open. The concept of waiting on line simply does not exist. Sampling food before you buy it isn’t a question. Cutting right in front of someone—who had been waiting patiently—is plain old shuk etiquette.
The crazy constant, expressly pushy Israeli energy does not stop people from crowding the halls of the market on a Friday night; perhaps the busiest day of the week. Every stand is a boisterous bundle of joy. Most of the stands are filled with foods: ripe fresh fruit, delectable dried fruit, bread that smells as though it is right out of the oven, halava, baklava-like pastries galore. It’s not like most markets though. The foods sit out on display almost begging to be bought. The food is that of an intense outgoing personality; much like the people in Israel. There are piles upon piles of bright red strawberries, all the pomegranates you could ever dream of, an almost absurd amount of nuts and dates, and rows of colorful, sticky, powdery sweets. One does not even have to try these foods to have a taste. The plain sight of all of it is filling enough. The plethora food is on the verge of being overwhelming.
Each stand is like its own billboard advertisement in a way; each pleading the attention of passerby’s. Venders are careful to put the best of the best outside so that their products are most eye catching. The gigantic displays of food are a smart tactic: a luring appeal. I saw vendors even go as far to rearrange a display of dates, removing the not-so large ones.
Being a visitor makes a person much more susceptible to the lure their outgoing display, since everything looks new curious.
Shuk Survival Kit
Bring your expert Israeli friend who can request the best places to shop and protect you from being ripped off.
Closed toed shoes
You are probably going to get stepped on
For the countless food purchases you are going to make, as to prevent your arms from suffocating from ten plastic bags getting tangled and wrapped around.
You are probably going to be prepared with enough cash on you because most of the venders only take cash.
A plan of action
Know where you want to go to avoid walking aimlessly and wasting your time.