Said’s (say ‘sigh-eeds’) has the best hummous in the city of Akko, the state of Israel, or the entire world, depending on who you ask. And if you ask me, I’ll say “yeah, it’s as good as any I’ve ever had, as good as hummous can be”.
Excellence can be born of focus and devotion. Saids’ only serves hummous, and has no menu. No meats, no sweets, no dairy… this is an excellent position to take in the Middle East if you can pull it off because it banishes questions of kashrut and halal. These guys – and it was all guys - make the same handful of dishes all day. Doubtless they have a supply chain for the best local ingredients, sure. The olive oil here is a like soft green melted butter, creating hummous that has the savory tastes of garlic and salt with the mouthfeel of melted chocolate.
But beyond that there’s a rhythm and a recognition in making the same recipe a million times, a sense and intuition to compensate for the million little variables in cooking that recipes can’t always predict: variation in lots of bulk ingredients, atmospheric pressure, maybe a high wind across the chimney accelerating cooling. I mean, there’s times that my hummous just isn’t up to par, and I don’t know why. But you know that anyone behind the counter at Said’s can see sub-par hummous coming a kilometer off and compensate with maybe a shy measure of oil or a little extra tahini.
Akko Akko all day, Part 1
Below that is a picture of Sara, who brought us out, aforementioned fresh vegetables, condiments, and stacks of fresh Israeli style pita, light and squishy as whipped cream yet tough as leather. You’re outta luck for an accurate recipe here, though, because I really think you’d need an Arab market for atmosphere and olive oil from the place across the street to duplicate it.
Extensive cooking and travel in Europe, the Mid East, and the Far East changed my palate and concepts of pairings and presentation. Good cooking friends and a background in Biology and Chemistry give me a pretty good idea of how to hit a target preparation. I love cooking on the fly, whether to make a complex set piece or a minor culinary miracle out of what's on hand.