The Israeli New Yorkers Trying to Turn Matbucha Into the New Hummus

After turning Manhattanites on to real couscous, Ron and Leetal Arazi are sure that the next hot thing (literally) is matbucha, a cooked tomato-and-pepper delicacy

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The Arazis hosting.
The Arazis hosting.
Tzach Yoked
Tzach Yoked

“Tell me the truth,” I can’t prevent myself from asking Ron Arazi toward the end of our conversation. “If I stop a thousand people in New York and ask them what matbucha is, how many will know what I’m talking about?”

Israeli-born Arazi makes no effort to present an optimistic picture – to paint in red what was for years a childhood memory from his mother’s kitchen, and which this month became a central item in the business he and his wife, Leetal, run. Their hope is to bring about what they call the third generation of the Middle Eastern food revolution that’s swept the United States in recent years: that is, the one that follows hummus and falafel, and shakshuka, which have long since burst the boundaries of what was once the preserve of a few Israeli restaurants and kosher supermarkets.

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