December 11, 2017

More than 70 Arab and Jewish chefs and culinary experts will present a variety of flavors and stories from Arab cuisine in dozens of restaurants and bars in downtown Haifa, December 13-15, 2017.

A-sham, the Arab Food Festival, is taking place for the third consecutive year under the creative direction of 2014 Master Chef Israel winner Nof Atamna-Ismaeel.

Traditional dishes from the Levant (A-sham in Arabic) will be featured, including specially created festival menus and dishes as well as cooking workshops, lectures, pop-up stores, music and parties.

“The Arab Food Festival connects peoples and cultures through food,” said Atamna-Ismaeel. “There is no room in the kitchen for politics; only for cooperation, collaboration and teamwork.”

Christmas Chicken from Chef Elias Matar. Photo by Assaf Ambram

Arab cuisine has its origins from Aleppo in the north to the Negev in the south, in Lebanon and Trans-Jordan. The festival dishes will include traditional foods with sentimental value in Levantine food culture.

There will be foods typically served at lifecycle events; seasonal dishes; dishes using local ingredients from a particular region or village; and dishes believed to have healing properties.

Many of the festival offerings will be priced at just ₪35 ($10), with some restaurants offering special humus chef dishes, a wider festival menu and even gourmet meals with advance reservation.

Among the participants are Osama Delal (who will make octopus makluba), Salah Kurdi (kadaif meat dumplings), Hussam Abbas (shishbarak dough pockets stuffed with aromatic meat cooked in yogurt soup), Mayssir Abu Shehadeh (taasmiya pastry-wrapped herbed fish), Alaa Musa (kubbeh samak med spicy fish and bulgur), Nashaat Abbas (maschan, fish with pita softened in olive oil, fried onions and sumac), Mo’in Halabi (sarsiso wine-soaked sausages), Amos Sion (arais, pita topped with mincemeat, pomegranate concentrate, tehina and tomatoes) and Sabina Waldman (rebiaya meat, rice and fava bean casserole).

Misakhan, Chef Ahmed Salameh, Credit Assaf Ambram

Seven hummus restaurants in downtown Haifa will offer unusual spins on the staple chickpea paste, such as hummus with lamb ragout and wild berries; hummus with Jerusalem artichokes; and chicken liver hummus with lemon and brown sugar, coriander and spicy pepper.

More on Life

Fighting for Israel's truth

We cover what makes life in Israel so special — it's people. A non-profit organization, ISRAEL21c's team of journalists are committed to telling stories that humanize Israelis and show their positive impact on our world. You can bring these stories to life by making a donation of $6/month. 

Jason Harris

Jason Harris

Executive Director

More on Culture