Abu Hassan, the glorious Jaffa's hummus

Jaffa, an ancient town with a glorious history, turned into a unique culinary gem. Packed with gourmet restaurants and boutique eateries, yet many flock to Jaffa for one reason: Abu Hassan’s hummus.

Jaffa is a city of contrasts. On one hand, it has a charged historical background. On the other, it’s a peaceful, friendly, hospitable place, and it is as beautiful as Tel-Aviv could never be.

In Jaffa you can find, side by side, luxurious mansions and neglected old buildings. Gourmet restaurants and cheap eateries. Wretchedness and glory, in an impossible mixture. And a lot of hummus.

Jaffa near Abu Hassan

No one knows how many hummus places are there in Jaffa. A dozen of them or so are well known and the many others are less famous but maintain their own fan clubs. And there is, of course, Abu Hassan, which warrants a category of its own.

In most hummus eateries the hummus is good or even very good. Clients are greeted with a big smile and are served black coffee or tea with nana (mint) and baklava at the end of the meal. Abu Hassan serves hummus, with or without ful, massabha or a “Triplet”, which is a combination of the three. It takes seconds for the plate to reach the table and minutes till the meal is finished. Not everybody appreciate this style, but many do.

Abu Hassan’s secret
Hassan is a second-generation hummus maker. The recipe is his mother’s. When we asked him he said there was no “secret” to his hummus. Yet, the people who flock to his restaurant from all over will disagree: no hummus taste like his, so there must be a secret.

Part of the secret, of course, is the reputation. Many people gather in line, some will end up with a plastic plate, a smile on their face, happily wiping hummus while sitting on the fence overlooking the beach. This is how happy people look like.

Abu Hassan’s Hummus

Comments

22 Responses to “Abu Hassan, the glorious Jaffa's hummus”

  1. Carly on July 23rd, 2007 4:11 pm

    What’s the red and yellow stuff on the hummus?

  2. jon on November 27th, 2007 4:28 pm

    the red is paprika
    the yellow just seems to be the glare off the olive oil

    both add some nice flavour to the humus

    if you ever go there, get it with ‘ful’ (fava beans)… they make it delicious

  3. Ore on January 31st, 2008 9:30 pm

    Shooky – please email me – I need to achieve a hummus as close to abu hassan as possible – i need your help

    over the last few years I’ve eaten at abu hassan a lot when i am in Israel. his hummus is really our of this world. some people say he adds eggs to the pot of hummus? any idea how they get the texture? to they pass the hummus though a tammy or sieve “messanen dak me’od”???

    thanks,

    Ore

  4. Of Hummus, Sweets and Peace » The Hummus Blog on February 16th, 2008 2:44 pm

    [...] wonder if they would still laughing if I could take them to Abu Hassan in Jaffa, or to Said in Acre, places where – like in their convention – people gather around tables [...]

  5. Hummus in Tel-Aviv » The Hummus Blog on March 23rd, 2008 1:22 am

    [...] residents of Tel-Aviv could always go for their hummus to Jaffa, which is minutes away by car. They still do, and some of them would go for their beloved hummus as [...]

  6. Hummus? « Occidental Israeli on October 28th, 2008 8:37 pm

    [...] any case, my favorite version of hummus is masabacha, at Abu Hassan (Ali Karavan) in Yaffo (sorry, I can’t find an appropriate link in [...]

  7. Israeli culinary wonders 3 | The Marcos Kirsch Experience® on November 10th, 2008 8:08 am

    [...] hummus (חומוס), Itay and Ziv Erlich took me to Abu Hassan. This is a really small yet well known place in Jaffa that opens in the morning and closes when [...]

  8. The Best Hummus Video Yet! » The Hummus Blog on April 15th, 2009 2:28 pm

    [...] Zetlin’s recent video was a pleasent surprise. Not only because it’s main theme is Abu Hassan, the hummus guru from Jaffa, but because it really captured the Jaffa’s (and Tel [...]

  9. STU on May 21st, 2009 12:47 am

    I LIVE IN THE USA. HOW CAN I BUY SOME AUTHENTIC ISRAELI HUMMUS.
    STU

  10. Aviv on March 3rd, 2010 9:53 pm

    Very true, also, it’s not just the flavor but the texture as well which compliments the first one very well.

  11. Oscarverleihung 2010: Ajami, ein zwiespältiger Film über Jaffa « Transatlantikblog T.A.B. on March 7th, 2010 8:02 pm

    [...] schon einige Zeit zurück (1990), aber immerhin für damals kann ich bestätigen, was der “Hummus-Blog” anschulich und amüsant beschreibt: Jaffa is a city of contrasts. On one hand, it has a [...]

  12. Tomer on March 19th, 2010 1:40 am

    Make some yourself, you can buy the dry pies in a spice shop and thini in a health store or ethnic section of your mega-mart.
    The stuff exported to europe and usa by tzabar and other companies tastes like shit,just like the stuff sold in supermarkets here. They substilute most of the thini with oil and use additives to inhance texture after its degraded.
    Also a high dose of preservative (pot. sorbate) is used to extend shelf life.

    On another note,
    Im a krayot guy and love eating at Saiid.
    I cant understand how the humus in abu hassan is served without fresh vegies!
    The real plessure is whiping humus with a piece of onion or a ripe tomato.
    I just made some humus today and have left over cooked (unhummused) beans which will be used for tomorows friday lunch :)
    Here is my secret: Some humust veriaties cannot be skin pealed by the towel trick before cooking. the skins are very hard to remove during cooking, they dont float.
    I cant imagine straining the cooking water and spending 30 minutes seperating skins.
    SOOOO… I run my hot soft humus through a fine seive.
    This is the secret to fine,not grainy hummus (like the one in saiiid).
    Enjoy.

  13. canaan on March 23rd, 2010 1:47 pm

    No such thing as “authentic israeli” Hummus.
    Hummus was adopted by the immigrant jews, basically like everything else. Falafel, Baklawa, Music, shawarma etc etc etc.

  14. Israeli Seder and D.I.Y. Salmon Gefilte Fish « BaltimOregon on March 30th, 2010 9:54 am

    [...] a drizzle of oil and the whole chickpeas. The Israelis were talking of some fabled cook’s top-secret hummus recipe, perhaps that of Abu Hassan’s in Jaffa? Food preferences unite Israelis and Arabs. If only [...]

  15. shamouti on April 3rd, 2010 5:11 am

    Go to an arab store since hummus isn’t authentically israeli

  16. Rob on May 11th, 2010 7:00 pm

    Best hummus ever

  17. David on August 12th, 2010 1:59 am

    In case canaan and shamouti didn’t notice, most of the places recommended here ARE Arab places.

    As for “authentic” hummus, it depends on the recipe and the ingredients, not the ethnicity of the cook.

  18. Cracks In The Finish » More Than Antiquities In The Holy Land on December 24th, 2010 1:16 pm

    [...] such good care of us and did such a great job… I just feel like he is an old friend. From Abu Hassan’s Hummus shop to the Reading 3 to Jerusalem, it just couldn’t have been better. Well, back to the [...]

  19. Homage to Hummus: Jaffa’s Abu Hassan « Bold Red in the White City on January 21st, 2011 8:33 pm

    [...] Yoezer Wine Bar and Abulafia Bakery . Today, my mission was to sample the heralded hummus of Abu Hassan. Flea [...]

  20. Akiva on May 15th, 2012 10:40 pm

    Authentic Israeli Humous does exist and it is the style of Humous that is made in Israel. Humous originates from the Levant of which Isreal is a part. As a side note, Jews have lived in the Levant for more than 3,000 years, in the areas now known as Israel, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan unlike the Arab invaders who only came to the area from Arabia about 1,400 years ago. So it is actually the Arabs that have adopted this delicious dish ;-)

  21. Israeli Food, I Love You | Pick Up The Fork on July 16th, 2012 12:39 am

    [...] What do you order in a hummus restaurant that offers more than 30 different types of the good stuff? It’s an extremely hard choice. I generally keep it classic with a tahini hummus or maybe get a bit crazy with some sort of fava, pine nut, or vegetable-flavored version of the creamy goodness. Just get me a piece of pita for dipping, and I’m a happy girl. I had fab hummus at Magic Carpet on Emek Rafaim, Lina in Jerusalem’s Old City and Abu Hassan in Jaffa. [...]

  22. Karen on December 27th, 2013 2:52 pm

    “Authentic Israeli Humous does exist and it is the style of Humous that is made in Israel.”

    I agree with Akiva on this. When something from another culture is adopted, it’s often tweaked, the tweaks become established, and before you know it, you have a variation that becomes an area’s own. Chili is a good example of this. I grew up in Detroit–a MAJOR chili town–and the local chili (served on “Coney Island” hot dogs or “loose burgers” or in a bowl with oyster crackers) bears almost no resemblance to what’s eaten in the southwest and I understand that Cincinnati has its own version which is served on spaghetti! It’s all chili and it’s all authentic in an area-specific way. Regardless of the chefs’ ethnicity, I suspect that the hummus they prepare and serve in Israel has metamorphosed into something that’s a little different than what’s eaten in other parts of the Middle East.

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