Summer Crush | The Jewish Week | Food & Wine

Summer Crush


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Falloudeh: a Persian-Israeli crushed ice drink

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Meir Hobian stands at the front of his beautiful spice store at Levinsky Market in the South-East of Tel Aviv and watches the passersby.

It is summer in Israel, we are at the peak of a heat wave, and municipal pigeons are half-grilled in the sky. So are Hobian’s potential clients.

"Hey, you!" he calls to the pavement, "Yeah, you. Want some falloudeh?"

Want some what?

Well, falloudeh. Falloudeh Shirazy, to be precise. Hobian gestures to the strange metal barrel in front of him and says: Better than Coke, more refreshing, and much cheaper!"

In a city that boasts weather that is made up of ten months of heat wave and two months of drought, falloudeh is a hit.

Meir Hobian holds a falloudeh

"May I have some?" I ask, "Lots of secret sauce, please."

Mr. Hobian ladles a heavily rose-scented sorbet from his barrel. In it, amidst the crushed ice, there are thin white vermicelli noodles. He flavors it with a dash of limejuice and colors it with a bright red sauce.  Having falloudeh is like having sweet but watery rosewater sorbet loaded with noodles. It is both chewey and drinkable.

"One day you will give me the recipe for the sauce," I say and he smiles at me wearily and says, "Ay, I don't think so. It is a Persian secret. My grandma's secret sauce."

I know he cheats but when I pay less than the price of a Coke for this Persiean delight, I feel it is I who is cheating him. But who cares? The heat wave is off, the falloudeh is cold, and we both are happy.



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