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.
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.