On Monday we got an email from one of our staff members about an Old City Food Festival. I had to go.
Starting at the Jaffa Gate Plaza there were about a dozen different food booths selling everything from Kubeh (something like a corn dog but with a meat-ball inside instead) and stuffed grape leaves to candied nuts and olive oils. The city was packed with people trying all of the different foods available.
The four quarters of the city had different foods that were intended to represent the different cultures in the old city.
I tried a sugared, candied walnut thing in the Armenian Quarter. There were other things there, but I wasn't really ready to have a real meal that early in the night. I walked around with some friends for a few hours and we tried a bunch of different things.
At the Austrian Hospice, in the Christian Quarter, I split an apfelstrudel while we sat on the roof of the hospice. While we were ordering we listened to a string trio. It was a nice little taste of Europe in Jerusalem.
Near the Damascus Gate, there was no food, but live music. Some people singing in Arabic and some people dancing. There was a food market, but it was really similar to everything you can buy in the shuk. Nothing too impressive there.
Just off the Cardo was a recreation of a 2nd Temple Period Market (536ish BCE - 135ish CE). The kids' arts and crafts looked like they would have been a great way to entertain ourselves for a little while. But we were hungry and wanted to get some real food.
The Hurva Synagogue Square had the most booths selling real food. Moroccan Doughnuts, Kubeh, Soups, Chicken and Rice with different flavorings, Crepes, Popcorn and I don't even remember what else we could find. So much food and so many people. It was a great atmosphere to be in, especially as the live music was wrapping up for the night.
When I went the second day, I had a stuffed peppers, grape leaves and kubeh at the Jaffa Gate. We didn't explore nearly as much this night, but we spent a lot of time listening to a live performance. The band was pretty good and one of our instructors showed up to listen as well. It was a lot of fun and just one of the random things that pop up around here.