Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Everything Sabich

Sabich is one of the more popular streetfoods you can find in Israel, and it can be argued it's more "Israeli" than falafel or schwarma because its more unique to Israel than the latter. Sabich consists of fried eggplant, hardboiled egg, tomato, cucumber, hummus, tehina, and various spicy sauces. One of the spicy sauces (amba) is made from mango, cumin, turmeric, and a variety of other ingredients. While it may be used in other dishes, I have only seen it offered alongside Sabich. One thing I appreciate about sabich is that while the dish is vegetarian it is extremely filling, one of the strong points of falafel as well. You can order a sabich and have no remorse that you didn't opt for a schwarma instead.

Iraqi Jews are those credited with bringing sabich to the mainstream, as they would traditionally eat fried eggplant on Saturday morning. The etymological roots of sabich may come from this practice, as "sabah" means morning in Arabic. Others will argue that the name is actually an acronym of the foods that make up Sabich, and I'm sure there are multiple other explanations as well.

Throughout the country you can find many excellent sabich establishments, but in the Tel Aviv area there are four that I frequent. The most famous sabich in the city, and probably the country is Oved, actually located just east of Tel Aviv on Sirkin st. in Givatayim. Famous for its colorful creation of words specific to the process of ordering sabich, there are long lines pretty much any hour the place is open. For example, if you want to have a spicy red sauce all you have to do is say Hapoel, the name of one of the Tel Aviv's soccer team whose color is red. If you want the spicy mango sauce (amba) say Macabbi, the other Tel Aviv team whose color is yellow. Oved is a required experience for any Sabich lover or anyone interested in Israeli food in general, but its not the only option.

In the center of Tel Aviv there are three excellent places to get Sabich. Long lines are also prevalent at Sabich Frishman, at the corner of Frishman and Dizengoff St. Located in about a small of a location as possible, they always serve an excellent portion of Sabich. Right next door is Falafel Frishman, and while they offer good falafel, the much longer lines for sabich tell you which one people think is better. Just a few minutes away is Falafel Gabai on Bograshov street. The staff is extremely friendly and their variety of salads is very appealing and fairly unique. Gabai offers excellent falafel, soups, shakshouka, and other dishes, but I always go for their sabich. Finally, Hakosem, on the corner of Shlomo Hamelech and King George street offers another excellent sabich. Their staff is also very friendly, and when lines are long they are sure to pass you a ball of falafel to keep you satisfied while waiting. The food is great, and their very brightly colored chairs will cheer up anyone's day.

So next time your in line for falafel or schwarma, think about ordering a Sabich instead.



  1. Sabich is actually a name of a vendor in Ramat-Gan, the first ever to sell this dish...and you should visit that place as well!

  2. While I agree with this article concerning both Oved and Frishman, I feel its important to note that I always recommend people to never ever get Sabich from a place whose main concern isnt Sabich. If they sell hot dogs and shwarma, chances are, they're just doing their part and the most important ingredient, love, is most likely missing.

    I also feel it imprtant to mention the Sabichia in Jerusalem which has always, in my opinion been well above other sabich establishments. the owner, Yigal, is a master at his craft and is completely sold out by 4pm. get there early because this man does so well he can afford to close up shop before youre even finished with work. In my mind, while I had my first sabich at Oveds, my first love was in Jerusalem across from the Ben Yehuda MacDonalds

  3. Sabich Frishman is indeed an excellent and filling snack. I didnt have the chance to visit Oved on a recent trip

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