In Israel, you’re never more than a block away from a street stall offering some tasty business stuffed into a pita. Falafel and gyros are ubiquitous, but there are also less expected options, like sabich, a medley of hard-cooked eggs, fried eggplant, salad, and a trio of sauces: tahini, zhoug (spicy herb salsa), and amba (pickled mango purée). Created in Israel by Iraqi immigrants, sabich is an obsession among young Israelis, who argue over where to find the best version.
In Chicago, you’ll find it at Sabicha, a pop-up that regularly appears at farmers’ markets and night markets. I first encountered Sabicha during its time at Box Shops by Related in the West Loop. After owner Ahna Shmuel had served two happy Israelis, she turned to the meticulous construction of my sabich. She arranged fat, creamy slices of eggplant along one side of the fluffy pita before layering in the eggs, tomatoes, onions, parsley, and pickles, with all the traditional sauces. It was a big, gushy wild ride of flavor.
I went outside and took a huge bite just as two teenagers walked by. “Is it good?” one asked. “Mmm,” I said, rolling my eyes. They got the message — and got in line.
Sabicha’s next appearance is scheduled for December 10 from 5 to 10 p.m. at Sauced Night Market, 838 W. Kinzie St., West Loop.