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Foodies invade ultra-Orthodox cuisine scene

In Bnei Brak, the popularity of food stalls offering Eastern European cuisine has ultra-Orthodox leaders scrambling to control the resulting "idleness" of youths and others sitting in cafes and enjoying themselves.
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Eastern European Jewish cuisine has been looked down upon for years, described as dull, heavy, extremely fatty and heartburn inducing, among other things. Except for challah, the Jewish traditional braided bread popular among the Israeli public at large, the cuisine had long remained confined to the kitchens of Jews of Eastern European origin. In recent years, however, dozens of street food stalls began offering an Eastern European menu every Thursday in the ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods of Bnei Brak, leading to a renaissance in the local culinary scene. The stalls have become quite an attraction, drawing crowds in the thousands and including not only the ultra-Orthodox, but secular Israelis from central Israel as well. It is mainly the ultra-Orthodox of Eastern European origin who have held on to the authentic Jewish cuisine of Eastern Europe, mainly for traditional reasons.

The Bnei Brak food stalls have also become a sensation among those in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area culinary scene, with local press and bloggers having raised considerable interest. The bloggers trumpet the best the cuisine has to offer: galareta (calves foot jelly), cholent (a traditional Jewish stew), horseradish, tzimmes (a sweet stew typically made from carrots), kishke (stuffed intestines), chopped liver, farfel (small pellet- or flake-shaped pasta), all kinds of kugel (e.g., noodle casserole, grated potato casserole) and gefilte fish (stuffed fish). There are also stores that specialize in various kinds of herring, salt-cured and pickled in oil or otherwise done.

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