Hanukkah is the Jewish holiday that is observed for 8 days and 8 nights in commemoration of the Maccabean Jews regaining control of Jerusalem and rededicating the Second Temple. According to the Hebrew calendar, Hanukkah is celebrated on the 25th of Kislev, which, aligned with our calendar, could be anywhere between late November and late December. This year, Hanukkah is being celebrated December 2nd through December 10th! The festival is commemorated by the lighting a candle every day of the celebration on a menorah. The ninth candle, usually found in the middle of the menorah, is called the shamash, and is the extra candle that is used to light all the other candles. The lighting of the menorah represents the candles in the Second Temple which were kept lit by a small bit of oil for 8 days after the Maccabean victory. This miracle is commemorated through culinary tradition and cuisine that is eaten during the 8 days of Hanukkah.
Fried foods, especially those fried in olive oil, are traditionally eaten during these times. The most popular dishes are potato pancakes known as livivot or latkes, and sufganiyot, which are jelly filled donuts! yum! It is also seen as tradition to consume dairy products during this time, especially cheese to commemorate the ancient legend of Judith. Other traditional meals include: matzo ball soup, challah, gefilte fish, apple kugel, and rugelach. If you’re eager to try some of this wonderful cuisine, San Francisco has many bakeries and restaurants that are featuring these items this week! Some places include:
- Canela Bistro & Wine Bar – Order a fixed price meal during Hanukkah for 49$ and receive matzoh ball soup; mixed vegetable latkes with quince-apple sauce and paprika sour cream, herb- and almond-crusted white fish with horseradish cream, and either honey molasses apple cake or pecan-fruit Jell-O for dessert!
- Bi-Rite Market – Find all your Hanukkah meal needs here with a Hanukkah kit that includes matzo ball soup, brisket, sweets, sides, and latkes!
- Delfina– Try their award winning duck-fat fried latkes plus many other Hanukkah inspired dishes offered for a limited time only!
- Miller’s East Coast Delicatessen– There’s always latkes, matzo ball soup, and apple kugel!
- Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen– They are offering a full catering menu which includes brisket, sufganiyot, challah, and latkes!
- Frena Bakery and Café– This bakery is adding a twist on traditional sufganiyot and has many different flavors available for purchase!
- Oren’s Hummus– At any of their establishments, they are offering a 3 course meal with latkes with apple sauce and sour cream, brisket with onions and mashed sweet potatoes, and, of course, sufganiyot.
Be sure to get your hands on some of this delicious food if you can! Then after be sure to stop by Union Square at 5pm Wednesday and Thursday, 3pm on Friday, Saturday at 8pm, and Sunday at 5pm this week to watch the candle lighting ceremony!