Hummus Hotspots: Abu Hassan {aka Ali Karavan}

BY: ALEXIS MILLER

When I first notified my family and friends that I would be spending my summer in Tel Aviv, their immediate response was that I must go to Abu Hassan for hummus. There were no ifs, ands, or buts associated with this instruction, and no questions were raised. Knowing very little about this restaurant, I committed to going upon arriving in Israel.

 Masabacha, Hummus with Ful and Tehina

Masabacha, Hummus with Ful and Tehina

Now, two months later, I can proudly say that I have had many delicious encounters with Abu Hassan. In 1966, this hummus haven opened by the father of an Arab family, Abu Hassan.  Since its discovery, this bustling restaurant has served businessmen, to celebrities, to Jaffa locals. If you go around lunchtime, the street will most likely be smothered with people waiting. I would not use a “line” to describe the flow of traffic, because in Israel, lines do not exist. Then, the staff will seat you, most likely with some welcoming or glaring strangers. Shy is not an option at Abu Hassan. There is no menu so no need to worry about decision making in this joint. Each hummus contains flavorful and palatable chickpeas, so you cannot go wrong with any order. Your meal will come steaming and crisp in a mere two to three minutes. There is no impatiently waiting at Abu Hassan and they cater towards the ravenous consumer.

My favorite hummus is the “Meshulash” which has three kinds of hummus. Masabacha, which is chickpeas cooked for 24 hours with lots of tahina topped with cooked chickpeas and served warm. Then there is ful, cooked fava beans served on top of creamy hummus, which is my personal favorite! The portions are massive, so my three friends and I ended up splitting two meshulashes.

Not all hummus places in Tel Aviv serve this, so it is a must try! Each dish of hummus is served with a lemon and spicy pepper sauce, onions, and pita. My personal suggestion is to dip the pita in the mixture and then in the hummus. Or, you can do as the locals do and eat the hummus on a slice of potent onion. A real sinus-cleanser!

So, the next time you are craving hummus and are willing to stand in line for sustenance, go to Abu Hassan. Be aware that they close at around 15:00 or when they run out of hummus. You will not be dissatisfied and your stomach will utter “todah rabah.”

Abu Hassan is most definitely Delicious Israel approved!  To visit Abu Hassan together on the Eat Tel Aviv or Hummus Tours, be in touch to reserve your place!