It’s hard to imagine that some people look for an excuse to travel to Ramle. Believe it or not, I’m one of those as well. Years ago my in-laws took me to the open market (shuk) by the bus station to get some fresh vegetables and meat. It’s an old style market, a cross culture of old Israel. It’s a nice feeling. After a while they suggested we stop and get a bite to eat. Off to the side in one of the alley ways, stands a small
inconspicuous little restaurant. I knew I was in the right place. I sensed I was among people who knew where to find great food prepared by great people.
Haim Bokobza and family brought the Tunisian sandwich (Casse-croute Tunisien) from Tunis to Ramle. In an interview he mentions that he’s kept the recipe just like he was taught by his mother. In each bite you taste the culture and love as if you were transported back to North Africa. Each person that comes in feels suddenly special as if Haim and family are preparing special for him or her. You sense that everything they make is fresh, made from the finest spices in order that each bite sizzles in flavor. To my surprise, the sandwich is made up of basic ingredients. Cucumbers, tomatoes, potatoes, tuna and some type of roll. Most people prefer with the Tunisian harissa spice on top for the real authentic taste. But even without, its just as good.
Five years ago I was transferred to a new division in the army as part of my reserve duties. I was quite concerned until they told me that my new base was a five minute walk from the old Ramle market. At that moment my comrades in arms could only wonder why I had a smile. But some secrets are worth divulging.
Thanks to Jonathan Gold of the L.A Times for the inspiration to write about my favorite restaurants.