Yemen is all over the news the last couple of months as the Houthi terrorists play a role in Israel’s war against Hamas. As a sustainable news reporter, I’ve been interested in Yemen because as much of the Middle East progresses, Yemen with its internal conflicts remains one of the world’s driest and hungriest cultures. Most of the Jews from Yemen have immigrated to Israel over the years when they felt it was unsafe for them there. The latest persecution by Houthis over the last several years have had what’s left of the Jewish community fleeing for their lives.
What I have learned over the years is that Yemen has a treasure trove of food traditions, natural building traditions and unspoiled nature and natural medicines for the world to explore. Here’s an overview of what I have learned:
Yemeni honey: The Sidr tree appears in the Jewish Bible, the New Testament and the Quran where it is mentioned as being one of the plants of paradise. Have you tasted the honey from paradise? Sidr tree honey from Yemen is believed to be one of the best medicines on earth. More about Yemeni honey here.
Yemen has a special island called Socotra, home to a unique tree that bleeds when cut. The dragon blood tree is medicine. It was an impossible mission to get to Socotra Island in the good days. These days, forget about it. Conflict does have a way of protecting nature from over-tourism.
This knock-out hot sauce from Yemen improves every dish. Here are 2 recipes. One from a famous Israeli chef. We like to ferment our peppers first.
Make your own fresh, whole wheat pita the Yemini way – with two fingers, one hand, and instructions from a Yemenite grand-daughter who taught us this step by step method. Learn the way!
When a Jewish Orthodox grandmother from Israel pulls a Vice move to find ghat in Israel––> This is what she learned. More than 10 years ago, drinking the Yemenite habit was for hipsters in Tel Aviv. It’s still one of the countries where addictive ghat is not exactly banned.
Yemen has a promising oil and natural gas industry for exports but Houthis who hold oil tankers hostage and possibly sabotage pipelines make it difficult for Yemen to be taken seriously. Yemen is one of the poorest countries in the world and UNICEF says people are at risk for starvation. Climate change is making it one of the driest.
We’d love to visit Yemen one day and finally adore up close Shibam, Yemen’s mud Manhattan of the Middle East.
What do you love about Yemen?