One of the highlights of our recent trip to New York was eating at the Shuka Truck and meeting Gabriel, Josh, and Solomon.
They are lifelong friends who grew up in the same town in Israel. They also grew up eating shakshuka — an Israeli dish of eggs poached in a tomato sauce spiced with harissa, bell peppers, and cumin. (It’s not only delicious but healthy, easy-to-prepare and doesn’t require a lot of fancy ingredients. I like to make it during the school year when my kids are hungry and I’m short on time.)
What inspired three childhood friends to bring shakshuka to New York? After culinary school, Gabriel began making shakshuka for the guests in one of Daniel Boulud’s restaurants. Everyone loved it. He was even given the nickname “shuka” because so many people were crazy for the dish. Gabriel knew he was on to something.
Last year, the three childhood friends decided to follow their dream and create a restaurant on wheels. They’ve always been foodies and have always been passionate about shakshuka. Josh told me they’ve been eating it since they were little kids and never get sick of it. Their goal is to assimilate this Middle Eastern dish into the cultural food landscape of New York. They want to “make shakshuka an American staple.”
At the Shuka Truck, they offer traditional shakshuka but also mix it up with modern variations. You can choose between four different kinds—green, red, white and humshuka. Our favorites were the “humshuka” with hummus, chuma pepper and smoked paprika and the “green” with asparagus, caramelized onions, and goat cheese. The traditional was delicious too, but it was fun to try the modern variations.
The Shuka Truck has been open about six months, but business is already booming. The day we visited, people were lining up before the truck was open.
Josh told me that the Jewish community has been incredibly supportive. I asked him where they all see themselves in five years. He said enthusiastically, “Shuka is only the beginning. Stay tuned!”
Check out The Shuka Truck Facebook Page for more information.
To make shakshuka at home, I like the recipe from Tori Avey’s blog. Yotam Ottolenghi makes his shakshuka with harissa and labneh (from the Jerusalem Cookbook) which is also delicious.
All photos above courtesy of the Shuka Truck except the last three which are mine!
While in New York, we also had delicious meals at Russ & Daughter’s new cafe on the Lower East Side and Shalom Japan in Brooklyn. I especially loved our visit to The Jewish Museum and spent way too much time in their fabulous gift shop. More on the shop coming soon!