To truly know hummus, we need to dive into the culture that made it appear and rise to its current popularity and symbolic status: the middle east and its culinary background. With no clear origin for the hummus, the historical evidence dates back to ancient Egypt in the 13th century. The middle east, a place abundant in chickpeas, was the perfect ground for hummus to appear. Not surprisingly, the word hummus means chickpeas in Arabic. The essential ingredients for hummus preparation that have been experimented with for centuries are chickpeas, sesame, lemon and garlic. Today, we have many styles of hummus and interpretation of the dish, but to receive the complete experience and enjoyment from the food, one must pay a visit to Israel.
At the center of the Tel-Aviv, lies one of the richest and unique hummus experiences Israel has to offer. Abu-Dubi, a place founded by the hummus enthusiast and reggae musician Gal Eilam, currently holds an astounding 14 years of activity in the hummus scene of Tel-Aviv. Gal studied the art of hummus-making at the north of Israel and brought the magic back to the center. Today, he’s the owner of a contemporary place mixing the values of his musical background of rhythm and connection, together with a deep admiration of the traditional middle eastern cuisine.
“You might have had hummus outside the country, but you haven’t had the culture, the experience.”
Reggae and Hummus
How do music and food come together at your place?
“The integration between reggae and hummus is very natural because both share similar roots and connection to the earth. Both have the aim of bringing closer, the same family from a different genre. The two are grounded in the same messages – hummus is a food that’s cheap, healthy, vegan and local to the middle east. It’s known as ‘workers’ food’ and as ‘food of revolution’ that can sustain you until the evening. The political significance of this is valuable. Reggae is music that arose from the harshest places and poorest corners, in this way, it is similar to hummus as something that was able to rise in the world and now receives global recognition.”
What’s behind the name of the place?
“Dub is an instrumental music genre that evolved from reggae. And in Israel, when you want to open a hummus place, you have to name it ‘Abu something…’. This is how I decided on Abu-Dubi, which in Arabic means ‘the father of Dub’.”
What exactly do you offer?
“Our place has a young front, fits the atmosphere of Tel Aviv, constant reggae music in the background, but our menu is traditional and highly loyal to the origin of the food. We keep the food authentic in its ingredients, styles of preparation, and manners of serving.
How will you describe the experience Abu-Dubi?
“Every restaurant is a political text – ours is about the love of man. Affordable and accessible food, everyone receives the same type of dish, and if necessary, a refill on the house. Food that is tasty and nutritious – loving people and let them eat. We aspire to the warm encounter, someone leaving us with a smile. If had seconds, that’s the best compliment we can get.”
Who’s your clientele?
“Our audience is mostly local, regular customers from the neighborhood and the casual person from the street. Usually people hear the music and come in. also we have a large social media following comprised out of 50% tourists and expats, which provide the place with a lot of movement from the outside. We welcome tourists to and experience the culture with us, to take a bite out of a pita and ‘wipe’ the plate with it. We may not have English menus, but our staff will come and personally explain every dish.”
What’s your message for foreigners interested in coming to try hummus in Israel?
“Come and experience the culture, enjoy a fresh hummus with a pita and the onion, put inside a spoon of spice, and most importantly, see how food can relate to the human fabric that gave birth to it.”
Let’s Talk Hummus
What’s your culinary approach to hummus?
“Hummus is a science – it has ancient traditional preparation methods going back thousands of years. Every component in the process matters: how much water you put in the chickpeas, how you cook them, the cooling time, the grinding type… the base is simple, but the loyalty to the details, with rigor, that’s the magic. Our style of hummus comes from the north of the country and is very light in its character. It breathes, it’s fun, and it’s something you can consume three times a day and not feel heavy or get tired of.”
Facebook: Hummus Abu Dubi
Address: 81 King George street, Tel-Aviv
Phone Number: 03-5259090