What to Eat & Drink in Israel
Food is a huge part of the Israeli culture and although many of its dishes have found their way into our diet, there’s really nothing like the authentic taste of the Middle East. Here’s our pick of Israel’s must-eat dishes.
Start your day with a healthy serving of shakshuka (pictured below), a North African dish that has a strong foothold in Israel’s breakfast culture. There are many variations of shakshuka, but essentially it’s eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce with chunks of challah bread on the side to dip. Colorful, warming and bursting with Middle Eastern flavor, it’s a real comfort food.
If you haven’t consumed a chickpea during your time in Israel, you’re doing something wrong. This humble legume forms the basis of some of the country’s most popular dishes, such as…
Hummus (pictured at top): Often topped with toasted pine nuts, whole chickpeas and fava beans, all with puddles of olive oil on top. It’s also perfectly acceptable to wipe the bowl clean with your last bit of pita. Bonus.
Msabbaha: The difference between hummus and msabbaha is the texture – hummus is smooth whereas the chickpeas remain whole or smashed in msabbaha. It’s then served with tahini, olive oil, chopped herbs, spices and pita.
Falafel: Found on every street corner for a very inexpensive meal. They’re flavorful and crispy, served alongside fresh salad, hummus, a hot sauce, briny pickle slices and pita.
Similar to the Turkish doner kebab, an Isareli shawarma is made up of slices of turkey, chicken or lamb, which are shaved off a huge slab of meat, served inside a pita with the usual array of salad and condiments.
Forget limp lettuce and watery tomatoes – an Israeli salad is packed with fresh herbs, lemon juice and glugs of olive oil. And you’ll be spoiled for choice by the vibrant bowls on offer – tabbouleh (tomato, parsley, mint, bulgur and onion), cauliflower with tahini, marinated aubergine and pickled carrots are all part of a typical spread. Plump olives and preserved lemons make for the perfect final touch.
A sweet specialty found in Jerusalem, mutabak is paper-thin filo pastry filled with soft white cheese, nuts and fruit. It’s folded like an envelope around its contents, baked until it’s hot and crisp, then brushed with melted butter and powdered sugar before serving.
This thirst-quenching favorite is found on most market stalls and is squeezed to order. Not only is the deep vermilion-hued drink perfect during the hot Israeli months, but it’s packed full of goodness. If you find the pure pomegranate flavor a little too tart, ask for some fresh orange to be added – not only does it taste great, but you’ll get an amazing two-tiered color effect in your cup.
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