Exploring Israel: Who makes the best hummus?

by Chris on May 12, 2010

Who makes the best hummus in Israel? Sa’id, in the historic town of Acre, is a good contender.

Hummus at Sa'id, Acre, Israel

Israel’s great culinary debate, akin to pizza faceoffs in Chicago or cheesesteak wars in Philly, boils down to one question: Where can you find the country’s best hummus?

Souk in Acre, Israel

On my trip sponsored by the Israel Ministry of Tourism, we sampled an entry today at Sa’id, a classic hummus establishment in Acre (Akko), a city on the country’s northern Mediterranean coast that dates back to the Crusaders. To get there, our guide took us through the rambling streets of the souk, where vendors sold everything from spices to children’s clothing to hookah pipes.

Hummus at Sa'id, Acre, Israel

Inside, Sa’id appeared nondescript – save for the heaping piles of food on the tables. Our driver ordered bowls of hummus for each of us.

Hummus at Sa'id, Acre, Israel

I wasn’t quite prepared for how MUCH hummus we’d receive. Mounds of hummus, liberally dosed with chickpeas and swimming in olive oil, arrived at the table, along with a tall platter of warm pita bread. It tasted so much fresher and creamier than any hummus that I’ve ever had in the U.S. We mopped it up with gusto.

Hummus at Sa'id, Acre, Israel

As with most meals in Israeli, the hummus came with plates of accompaniments: delicious green olives, tomatoes, peppers and onions that the Israelis eat raw, with a bit of salt. Small plates of fresh garlic, hot pepper and parsley are put on the table, so you can flavor your hummus to taste.

I’ve now made it a culinary mission to discover if other Israeli cities on the trip can match the hummus at Sa’id. Just as I make gelato a regular part of a day in Rome, hummus will now be part of mine (or maybe I’ll mix it up and go for falafel next time).

Have any hummus places to recommend, either in Israeli or elsewhere? Tell me below!

| Chris Gray Faust is a veteran journalist, travel expert, social media butterfly - and editrix of this site. Like what you read? Check out her writing, editing and social media services.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

nafisto May 13, 2010 at 10:51 am

Okay it’s not hummus, but no trip to Haifa is complete without a stop at Sandwich Bar (at the top of Mt. Carmel and a short walk from the Baha’i gardens). Make sure to get the giabetta bread. Best deli sandwich you’ll ever have…

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Sharon May 15, 2010 at 2:11 pm

And I thought I’d died and gone to heaven with the hummus tastings in Austin, Tx. What an amazing experience for you…thank you for sharing.

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julie May 19, 2010 at 3:17 pm

the best hummus in israel is at the lebonese restaurant in abu gosh. abu gosh is 1o km north of jerusalem. the best!

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Caroline G. Keyser May 31, 2010 at 12:58 pm

Chris, just visited your site for the first time, and love it!

I recently returned from Israel, and ate at a fabulous hummus place off the beaten path in Tel Aviv, where an Israeli friend and Tel Aviv native directed me to go. It was delicious, but you’re right–I wasn’t prepared for how much hummus they give you. I think I spent most of the rest of that day just digesting it!

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janet April 22, 2011 at 8:54 am

I’ve been looking for a recipe for ‘the best hummus’ – would love to know how they make this (other than TONS of good olive oil!) Will you/they share?

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Chris April 25, 2011 at 9:10 am

@Janet – I’m not sure what made the hummus I had is Israel so much better than what you find in the States. They did use more olive oil than you see here, and there’s sometimes whole chickpeas on top, as well as paprika. The pita was also delectable – it’s served warm and just a bit toasty, but not too much that it loses its flexibility.

My advice would be to find a Middle Eastern bakery/grocery store in your city, and buy your ingredients there.

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Chuck Feinstein May 29, 2011 at 4:11 am

On a recent visit to Israel, my native born cousin took me to the very famous Abu Hassan (Ali Karavan) on Dolphin Street in the Old City of Jaffa. Fantastic hummus served in this little place where everyone sits jammed together-and are just there to enjoy the great hummus served without anything fancy. Worth the wait to get in.

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