What to Eat & Drink in Israel

20 Oct 2015
Food is a huge part of the Israeli culture and although many of its dishes have found their way into the British 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. Colourful, warming and bursting with Middle Eastern flavour, 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 (main picture, above): 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 flavourful 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 spoilt 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 speciality 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.

Pomegranate juice

This thirst-quenching favourite 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 flavour 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 colour effect in your cup.

Click here to see our full Israel guide, including a selection of hand-picked deals.

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