Berlin Hummus Special: Part I

Berlin 2007 is huge cosmopolitan metropolis with a population of 4 million, and a feeling of endless choice. Dozens of different tongues are spoken through the city streets, in which people of all nations can be seen and delicacies from all continents can be eaten. Only the hummus sucks.

Ironically, it seems like 9 of every 10 Berliners are fans of Israel. Most Germans living today were taught to loathe nationalism, and detest racism and chauvinist thought of any kind. They are usually very pro-Israel, though, and are eager to express that.

Most Berliners with whom I spoke, had visited Israel at least once, or have Israeli friends, or at least know a word or two in Hebrew – usually “Shalom” – and do their best to use it in a conversation.

Add to that the fact that Berlin has a large population of immigrants from the middle-east – Israelis, Lebanese, Egyptians, Syrians, Palestinians, Jordanian, Iranians and mainly Turkish – and you’d understand how come they know what shawarma, falafel and pita are. And yes, they also ate hummus – but the chances are it did not have Tahini in it.

חומוס בסימון דאך

What happened to the Tahini?

At first, I was surprised and somewhat amused by the fact that most local restaurants that serve hummus are using sesame oil instead of tahini. The third time it happened, I was less amused and started feeling desperate.

It is pretty clear hummus is becoming more and more trendy in Berlin. It is also clear that they are clueless about it – about how it should taste like and about how it should be made.

Eventually, the closest thing to good hummus I ate in Berlin was inside the fabulous pita of Dada Falafel in Oranienburgerstrasse, to which I’ll return in the next post. And again – this one too was pale in comparison to what I eat in Israel several times a week.

Hummus and globalization

In my search for real hummus, I went south to the Kruezberg quarter, which has a large population of middle-easterns. There, I looked for Rissani, a restaurant which was said to have authentic Arab dishes.

They did have nice shawarma and decent falafel, but the pale liquid in the large bowl which I thought to be Tahini has turned to be – for my great disappointment – spiced yogurt sauce, like the ones I already ate in some Turkish restaurants in Berlin. Not surprisingly, their hummus also did not include tahini.

מסעדת ריסאני בברלין, קרויצברג ריסאני, מבט מבפנים

Dr. Omar, a pleasant Sudanese chap and one of the owners of the place, said to me – with complete confident – that these are all Sudanese dishes in origin. He admitted, though, that some minor changes was made to meet with the local taste.

חומוס ופלאפל בריסאני

Maybe so, and I did enjoy the meal, but my stomach was yearning for a real hummus, which I could not find.

In the next post: what tahini is sold in the 6th flour of the KaDeWe; what’s the connection between mesabbha and Nasrallah; and how I found comfort in the arms of Dada Falafel.

Comments

7 Responses to “Berlin Hummus Special: Part I”

  1. alros on November 2nd, 2007 9:33 pm

    If you are going to Tel Aviv check out my little blog entry with some reccomendations (including for some hummus places), two day trips and a nicghtclub: Tel Aviv blogchik

  2. Stam1 on November 12th, 2007 11:48 pm

    A real hummus can be found “Azam” restaurant in Sonnenalle. Very good Msabaha.

  3. Falafel with Dada, Hummus with Nasrallah : The Hummus Blog on November 17th, 2007 6:08 pm

    [...] It’s said to on Sonnenallee st., near Hermanplatz U-Bahn station, less than a 10 minute walk from the Rissani restaurant which I mentioned in the first post about hummus in Berlin. [...]

  4. Hummus Fan on December 11th, 2007 2:43 pm

    Please, help!

    Where do I get Hummus in Berlin – I mean the “boxed” hummus, which I can take home?

    I like organizing parties, but I never can find where I can buy Hummus which I can take home and share with my friends! I live in Mitte, so here we have kind of a hummus crisis…

    Please please please help!!!! Where such hummus is sold?

  5. koyama on April 27th, 2009 9:44 pm

    or go to frankfurt/main

    aroma falafel, oederweg

  6. Steffi from Berlin on August 24th, 2009 2:35 pm

    hello, i love humus…usually i get it in the US (and take it home)..since i go there for work so many times. unfortunately i haven’t found a good place to get humus in berlin yet :-(.
    i went to a short trip to vienna, austria in june and went to one of there coolest places there the “Naschmarkt” they had food and stuff from all around the globe. i had one of the best humus’s there…with some fresh cooked eggplants!!! it was lovely…we went to a small restaurant right on the market which is called “Neni”.
    this week i am finally going to tel aviv and one thing i am sooo looking forward to is to get a taste of the humus there!!
    also i will try your humus recipe for sure!!
    thank you!
    steffi

  7. Kerstin on April 27th, 2010 8:49 am

    In Berlin, Prenzlauer Berg in Husemannstr. 10 you find a cool place with the best hummus of the city with the name Zula HUMMUS Café.

    The hummus can take home or enjoy on the lovely sun terrace

    My recommendation

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