Ashdod, Unsung Culinary Hotspot

Food is so deeply engraved in the DNA of Ashdod that the city’s port workers threatened to go on strike to retain their culinary privileges. In this episode of Tel Aviv Table, a visit to the rising star of Israel's south.

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At Idi Dagim.
At Idi Dagim.

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1. Ashdod’s #1 Tunisian Sandwich

We start the program with a visit to Maurice Sitbon’s Tunisian sandwich restaurant. Prepare for fricasee - a deep-fried roll stuffed with tuna, pickled lemon, hot sauce and olives.

Song: Ashdod Andalusian Orchestra with Amir Benayoun: Nishmati (My soul)

2. The online guide to Ashdod’s food

Two years ago, Sivan Keidar and her husband closed the doors to their restaurant in Ashdod with a heavy heart - and became boosters for the other restaurants in the city. Keidar launched the site, which has listings for nearly 100 local restaurants and is a great reference for visitors.

Song: Shabtai Kokia: Shir Ahava LeAshdod (A love song to Ashdod)

3. A fisherman’s fish restaurant

Idi Israelovitch has been collecting fishing nets, steering wheels and recipes for three decades from the sailors who visit Ashdod’s port. His restaurant, Idi Dagim, is one of Ashdod’s most well-known places to eat grilled fish, boiled crabs and fried shrimp. Here, Daniella interviews Idi in his restaurant.

Song: Billy Joel: Downeaster Alexa

4. Chef Guy Peretz talks about cooking for Ashdod

Chef Guy Peretz is the man behind Endive, a newly opened chef restaurant in Ashdod’s West hotel. He talks about his menu, about cooking in Israel’s south, and about how the city has changed since he opened his first restaurant there 15 years ago.

Song: Dafna Dekel - Ze Rak Sport (It’s only sport)

5. Finding Ashdod’s food by accident

Ruthie Pliskin didn’t imagine Ashdod as a culinary destination. She’s a doctoral candidate at Tel Aviv University and an adventurous eater. One day, she discovered Ashdod’s food by accident, and it made a real impression.

Song: Led Zeppelin: Down By the Seaside

6. For one Indian restaurant owner, Ashdod recalls Bombay

Joel Sogaokar moved to Israel from Bombay 30 years ago and settled in Ashdod because the seaside reminded him of home. He built the Namaste Indian restaurant inside one of Ashdod’s landmark buildings that looks like a Moroccan temple. Daniella spoke with him over samosas.

Song: Natasha Attlas: I put a Spell on You.

7. In Ashdod, striking for the right to a steak lunch

Ashdod’s port workers famously went on strike for the right to eat a steak lunch every day on the company dime. Economics reporter and TLV1 radio host Asher Schecter explains what happened.

Bob Dylan: When the Ship Comes In

Producer: Liya Spiegel
Editors: Amy Racs and Hadas Ribak
Music Editor: Tomer Gershenman
Technician: Lior Peleg
Host: Daniella Cheslow