Hanukkah Face-Off: We Have a Winner!

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Hanukkah is nearing an end and it's time that I grudgingly admit defeat to my Sephardic challenger. Though they fought to win, matzo ball soup, blintzes, and brisket just didn't have the same plucky spirit of tender Sephardic lamb kebabs and spicy shakshouka. Congratulations to Robert and the glorious culinary stylings of the Sephardim!

Keep reading to see how our Ashkenazi vs. Sephardic face-off unfolded.


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Hanukkah Face-Off: Ashkenazi Dish #7

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via Briskettown

Hanukkah is a time for enjoying Jewish culinary traditions with family and friends, and to that end we present a daily competition between Ashkenazi and Sephardic food, going up around sunset on the first seven days of Hanukkah - and presenting a wrap-up as the sun goes down on the eighth day. Whose food is the most appealing? Help us decide with your comments and social media shares.

If you're a vegetarian, you should probably stop reading this now.

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Hanukkah Face-Off: Sephardic Dish #7

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Sephardic-Uzbek shish kebabs, top to bottom: chicken hearts, ground-beef lulya, lamb, and marinated chicken


Hanukkah is a time for enjoying Jewish culinary traditions with family and friends, and to that end we present a daily competition between Ashkenazi and Sephardic food, going up around sunset on the first seven days of Hanukkah - and presenting a wrap-up as the sun goes down on the eighth day. Whose food is the most appealing? Help us decide with your comments and social media shares.


Who doesn't love shish kebabs, especially when grilled over lump charcoal and as smoky as a fire fighter's helmet?


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Hanukkah Face-Off: Ashkenazi Dish #6

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flickr/susanica

Hanukkah is a time for enjoying Jewish culinary traditions with family and friends, and to that end we present a daily competition between Ashkenazi and Sephardic food, going up around sunset on the first seven days of Hanukkah - and presenting a wrap-up as the sun goes down on the eighth day. Whose food is the most appealing? Help us decide with your comments and social media shares.

Blintzes are like the lovechild of a crepe and a burrito. Sold yet?

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Hanukkah Face-Off: Sephardic Dish #6

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The name of this Sephardic dish could be a nickname for Shaquille O'Neill.

Hanukkah is a time for enjoying Jewish culinary traditions with family and friends, and to that end we present a daily competition between Ashkenazi and Sephardic food, going up around sunset on the first seven days of Hanukkah - and presenting a wrap-up as the sun goes down on the eighth day. Whose food is the most appealing? Help us decide with your comments and social media shares.

This ancient dish might have been the world's first brunch. A North African Sephardic specialty popular in Algeria, Tunisia, and now in the Holy Land itself, shakshouka is a gritty and spicy tomato sauce in which eggs are poached, but still left a bit runny.

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Hanukkah Face-Off: Ashkenazi Dish #5

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via Russ and Daughters
Schmear campaign.

Hanukkah is a time for enjoying Jewish culinary traditions with family and friends, and to that end we present a daily competition between Ashkenazi and Sephardic food, going up around sunset on the first seven days of Hanukkah - and presenting a wrap-up as the sun goes down on the eighth day. Whose food is the most appealing? Help us decide with your comments and social media shares.

If you're trailing East Houston on a Sunday, listen closely and you might hear it. The low hum of early morning voices will quickly build to assertive shouts. Tourists will notice the evident ritual that is beginning to take effect, and a few daring newcomers may join the growing masses. The scene is Manhattan's answer to casting prayers at the Wailing Wall; it is the weekend rush at Russ and Daughters.

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Hanukkah Face-Off: Sephardic Dish #5

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Begin the Tajine!

Hanukkah is a time for enjoying Jewish culinary traditions with family and friends, and to that end we present a daily competition between Ashkenazi and Sephardic food, going up around sunset on the first seven days of Hanukkah - and presenting a wrap-up as the sun goes down on the eighth day. Whose food is the most appealing? Help us decide with your comments and social media shares.

Before the advent of Israel, the population of Morocco was over 20 percent Sephardic Jews, and they had a profound effect on the Berber nation's sumptuous foodways. Indeed, Moroccan fare is some of the world's tastiest.

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Hanukkah Face-Off: Ashkenazi Dish #4

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Ken Goodman for HBK
Mini Challah Rolls from Hot Bread Kitchen

Hanukkah is a time for enjoying Jewish culinary traditions with family and friends, and to that end we present a daily competition between Ashkenazi and Sephardic food, going up around sunset on the first seven days of Hanukkah - and presenting a wrap-up as the sun goes down on the eighth day. Whose food is the most appealing? Help us decide with your comments and social media shares.

Alas, my Sephardic-lobbying challenger makes a good case today. More often then not, matzo is nothing more than a consolation prize for carb lovers. For others, it is largely ignored, or it's merely picked at in broken pieces in between plague-acknowledging chest pounds.

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Hanukkah Face-Off: Sephardic Dish #4

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Is that just a newfangled matzo?

Hanukkah is a time for enjoying Jewish culinary traditions with family and friends, and to that end we present a daily competition between Ashkenazi and Sephardic food, going up around sunset on the first seven days of Hanukkah - and presenting a wrap-up as the sun goes down on the eighth day. Whose food is the most appealing? Help us decide with your comments and social media shares.

Let's face it: Who really likes matzos? Packaged in cellophane-wrapped cardboard boxes, this ritual bread of Pesach might as well be cardboard itself. The unleavened bread is dry as dust, unsalted, and not even that crisp once it has sat in its box for a while.

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Hanukkah Face-Off: Ashkenazi Dish #3

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Evan Sung/ Kutsher's

Hanukkah is a time for enjoying Jewish culinary traditions with family and friends, and to that end we present a daily competition between Ashkenazi and Sephardic food, going up around sunset on the first seven days of Hanukkah - and presenting a wrap-up as the sun goes down on the eighth day. Whose food is the most appealing? Help us decide with your comments and social media shares.

Consider the latke. The flattened disc of potato perfection, with its crispy, delicate outer branches yielding to a moist, warm center. Like the burning oil that sustained light for 8 days and nights, these bite-sized hors d'oueuvres are a consistent culinary miracle. Or, at the very least, they're the first dish to disappear from the table.

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