Hanukkah Face-Off: Sephardic Dish #4


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.

That doesn’t mean it doesn’t have deep meaning, nor that generations of children have not thrilled to spreading stuff on it that makes matzo’s own total lack of flavor immaterial.

Carried down the Silk Road by Persian Jews, the non-toki pictured above is a bread eaten everyday in modern Uzbekistan, available in area Uzbek restaurants like Brooklyn’s Cupola Samarkanda. The parabolic cracker is crunchy and extremely tasty, and the sprinkling of Asian cumin seeds is a tremendous boon. And the shape makes it possible to deposit all sorts of toppings and stews in the center of the cracker bowl.

The bread is brought to you by Bukharan Jews, who hail from the city of Bukhara, which has been the site of a Jewish community since the 7th Century, BC.

So, next time Passover rolls around, think of stocking up on non-toki instead of Streit’s.

See the entire run of our Hanukkah face-offs so far. Which side will win?