At Delicious Israel we love hummus not only as the craveable comfort food that it is, but also for the casual culture that surrounds it. The hummus culture is one that represents well what it means to be Israeli. No frills. No show. No special service. The best hummus joints in Israel get straight to the point. The experience is solely a celebration of the chickpea at its finest. No need to dilute the spiritual connection between the hummus eater and his or her bowl of brilliance by adding decorative garnish or restaurant theatrics into the mix.
Haifa's hummus hotspot, Abu Shaker, is a true tribute to the abandonment of Israel's modern take on the chi-chi, experiential dining experience. Located a few doors down from an automobile repair shop, this back-to-basics dive attracts anyone with a hummus hankering. Once on site, a young member of the Shaker family points guests to take a seat wherever they'd like at one of the few outdoor community tables or inside, where the chaotic compact kitchen takes center stage. Without wasting time, the same young man, sporting a "Hummus Junky" t-shirt that we loved, asks for orders. Save your requests for a menu. This is a family joint. Formalities like menus or checks build barriers and the only thing Abu Shaker is trying to build is a care-free community of happy hummus eaters.
Once the pièce de résistance has been chosen from a short recited list of hummus variations, you'll have a fast 5 minutes to kill before your seemingly small order manifests itself as a sumptuous spread meant to feed a moshav (a village)! In addition to our order of hummus topped with small chunks of chicken kebab, we received warm pita, a plate of the typical hummus accomplices (onion, olives, tomatoes, spicy peppers, and pickles), bulgur in tomato paste, and Mejadra (rice with lentils). Everything was fabulously fresh. And the hummus was dangerously delicious.
Reminiscent of hummus made in the Galilee, Abu Shaker's chickpea creation is a bit sweeter, with more tahini, and is served slightly warm. It's thick, creamy consistency (comparable to that of whipped potatoes), smoothened further by the oil oozing from the seasoned chunks of chicken, reminded us of one of our favorite sayings: "Life is short, lick the bowl." And that is what we did. No shame. No regrets. Trust us. Lick the bowl!
Next time you're in Haifa, we highly suggest that you taste for yourself to understand why Abu Shaker is definitely Delicious Israel approved:
Abu Shaker: Sderot HaMeginim 29 (Haifa, Israel)
Interested in awarding your own hotspot title to one of Tel Aviv's many hummus dives? Join us on a Delicious Israel Hummus Crawl! More information can be found here.