Saturday, September 8, 2012

Make mine a Shawarma in Tel Aviv

On my last day in Israel, I took a breather from sightseeing to just relax around Tel Aviv and see how the locals lived – and also to get some shopping done!

My friends had gone to Haifa for the day, but I just felt like hanging around Tel Aviv on my own for a change. So I took a cab to the Azrieli Center shopping mall at the other end of town, in the middle of a neighborhood of skycrapers, for a few hours of "exercise" around a typical Tel Aviv mall with a mixture of foreign brands and local brands.

I can get the international brands anywhere, so I wasn’t so interested in these. But I did pay close attention to what was on sale in the local shops as these were worth checking out and buying in Israel.


At one local store, I found a nice little red dress on sale for a shockingly cheap price. It was short and flirty, and not the kind I usually ever wear – but when I tried it on, it made me feel really good.

Then I found a pair of fire engine red platform sandals. Wow. Again, I never wear such things; but I was in Tel Aviv and this is my year for change and trying new things, so I took out my credit card and bought these on a whim and a lot of faith.


For lunch, I had actually booked Tel Aviv’s supposedly best restaurant, and it was right by the sea. But at 130 PM, I was still in the mall, so I decided instead to eat a local shopping mall lunch.

The next problem was where to go. But it wasn’t hard to find a good place to eat -- all I had to do was follow the crowds and the lines. Just my luck, it seemed that everyone was lining up at a shawarma place named Diana that had a sign in front saying it had been in business since 1958. It was exactly what I wanted to eat on my last full day in Israel.

Scroll down to read about a really good shawarma...


Unfortunately, most of the staff at this shawarma place couldn't speak English. But by a mixture of sign language and following everyone else, I eventually got what I wanted: a shawarma sandwich with everything on it, and rice on the side.

They started making the sandwich
by heaping all kinds of vegetables
on a spread of hummus on some pita bread

Then they heaped on the chopped up meat.

I had to wait awhile for my turn, though, as all the shawarma sandwiches were made fresh for everyone upon ordering and paying. So I stood there in front of the counter for a good 10 minutes or so until they called my name -- I had to give my name when I ordered and paid -- watching in utter fascination as a guy made everyone's shawarma sandwich.

...and topped it off with a generous drizzle of garlic sauce.

Finally my turn came. I had everything on it and when the guy gave it to me, he said: "Welcome to Israel."

It was positively scrumptious and worth the wait -- and the price. I paid 48 Israeli shekels for this, which didn't really sound cheap to me for a fastfood joint shawarma. But, boy, was it good.

Just another day in our never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife.


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