It might not be much to look at, but jachnun has been known to make grown men and women salivate. You might not be won over with the offering you get at your hotel breakfast bar, but trust me, once you’ve tried a decent jachnun, you’ll be smitten.
Jachnun is a much-loved weekend breakfast meal, often reserved for Saturdays only after being left in the oven overnight but also available on Fridays at many restaurants and cafes. It’s a traditional Yemenite dish, prepared from rolled dough and cooked for at least ten hours. It is best served with a crushed/grated tomato dip and a hard boiled egg (which often stays in the same pot as the jachnun overnight and turns brown as a result). If you’re feeling adventurous you could also try the schug, the fiery pepper sauce that might just leave you gasping!
Your best bet to enjoy a classy jachnun is to try some of the restaurants listed below, or alternatively “adopt” a local family with Yemenite roots (possibly more tricky) who will have a big pot from which to choose – be prepared to fight for the soft jachnuns, they always go fast! Not a healthy meal in the slightest, so watch out if you’re on a diet. But really very tasty, and hell, you’re on holiday! This is probably blasphemous, but you can also buy premade frozen jachnun at the supermarket. Ssshh.
One last tip – drop the knife and fork and get stuck in with your hands.
So, where should you go if you don’t have a Yemenite family to visit?
In Tel Aviv, it looks like Kerem Temanim at 8 Frishman Street (Tel: 03-5234586), or Jachnun Shel Ima (Mother’s Jachnun) at 93 Hacheshmonaim Street (Tel: 03-6888144). There are countless other little places around, though it would probably be best to ask a local for his/her recommendation.
In Jerusalem it looks like the Jachnun-Bar is the place to go…
While in Eilat you should probably head for Channi’s Jachnun, in the industrial zone (Tel: 08-6316741, or just ask any taxi driver).
Of course, you could always make your own jachnun…