My favorite place to shop for food is located on the southeast border of Nahariya in the Arab village of Maz’ra’a. Imagine two complete Costco warehouses, one on top of the other, and you are picturing Shuk Faisel Hagadol, a huge market that specializes in fresh produce at the cheapest prices available. On any day, this “market land” is packed from opening to closing, for people from all over the country come here to shop. The sounds of Hebrew, Arabic, Russian, English, French and German can be heard as you move through this spacious and welcoming food emporium. The ground floor houses fruits and veggies, a butcher shop, and specialty items such as olives, spices, and dairy products. On the second floor is a restaurant and household goods such as trash bags, cleaners, dishes, pots and pans, glasses and house gifts.
Here is the reason Shuk Faisel Hagadol attracts such a large customer base: amazing prices! For one dollar, you can buy a kilo (2.2 pounds) of any one of these fruits and vegetables: tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, potatoes, bananas, apples, or pears. Grapes and strawberries are a little more expensive, costing around $2 for a kilo. In contrast, two pounds of tomatoes can cost $6 in New York City and $3.40 in Los Angeles. Also, the staff is always ready to help in any way, whether it’s finding an item or bagging your purchases. I have found that the best times to shop here are either early in the morning at opening time (7 a.m.) or near closing (10 p.m.).
In addition, Nahariya has two Supersal chain supermarkets, another Arab market called Hof Hadekel (“Palm Beach”} and many smaller 7/11-type food shops, neighborhood bakeries, and a few specialty stores that sell ice-cream, nuts, falafel, or fresh coffee. Prices in supermarkets are a little more expensive than Shuk Faisel’s, and they close early on Fridays for Shabbat. Faisel’s is open seven days a week!
Nahariya is also the home base for Zuglavek, a retail manufacturer of such deli meats as honey-baked turkey slices and pastrami sold all over the country. It has a retail store which sells all their products plus an array of prepared hot foods.
For a small population of around sixty thousand, Nahariya offers a wide variety of food shopping options. Over time, you learn the best place to purchase each item on your list and the most practical route to take when movement from store to store is required.
Buying Other “Stuff”
There must be a couple of hundred specialty shops in Nahariya and each one specializes in either appliances, books, clothing, music, handbags, kitchen items, computers, digital phones, lamps, furniture, jewelry, stationery, or shoe repair. So, again, you need to plan where to go to get what you need when there is a list of several items. Prices of these goods are basically comparable to those in the U.S.; however, throughout the year, there are frequent sales in these small specialty shops providing an opportunity to save significantly on costs.
Nahariya has two shopping malls. One offers a variety of clothing stores, several restaurants, and a 5-screen movie theatre. The other includes Superpharm — a national chain drugstore — a ToysRUs store and specialty shops plus assorted food retailers. Also, in Israel there is one department store chain called Hamashbir Latzarchan, and its Nahariya branch on the main street only sells clothing, cosmetics, and household items, but not stationery, classic shoes, or hardware supplies — unlike Target, which offers everything in one place.
A five-minute car ride south of Nahariya, you will find an ACE Hardware store, and in 20 minutes, even an IKEA! There is a wonderful outdoor market only a 10-minute drive away in the city of Akko that offers everything from fish, jewelry, souvenirs, toys, fruits and nuts at very cheap prices.
Shopping in Israel keeps you moving. If a variety of items are needed, chances are you will travel from store to store. Be prepared with a map before you go. And, in general, your food purchases will be cheaper than in the United States. I estimate saving somewhere in the vicinity of twenty percent on food and other material goods in comparison to what they cost living in Los Angeles.
But — here’s a confession: I do miss Target!
Questions or comments may be addressed to Sue Liberman at firstname.lastname@example.org