Israel is a country made up of diverse communities that arrived here over the past century from western and eastern Europe, Morocco, Yemen, India, Ethiopia, and just about everywhere Jews settled during our 2000 year wandering. Those traditions met local Arab influenced dishes in Israel and the result is diverse, wonderful food – you like it, you can find it! From Sushi to Pasta; Hummus to Pizza, we have it all – As well as familiar Europane / American style dishes, there’s a strong Mediterranean and North African flavor to a lot of Israeli food and you’ll find that reflected everywhere from street food vendors to high price restaurants.
One difference to American eateries you’ll probably notice, is that influenced by Kosher dietary laws, many places serve either meat or milk dishes, so getting pepperoni on your pizza may be a struggle, but that won’t affect the variety and quality of food on offer for Israelonthehouse participants to try: On every high street you’ll find pizza shops, as well as Shawarma (rotisserie roasted meat) and falafel (deep fried chick pea balls), both of which are sold in Pita bread, filled to overflowing with salads of your choice…delicious, filling and inexpensive! Another popular Israeli street food is “shipudim” better known as Kababs and of course burgers and fries are always there for the less adventurous.
Israel is a nation of coffee shops. In the past these were Italian style patisseries, where customers would sit outside with a newspaper, or perhaps a backgammon set (known locally as shesh-besh) while the world walked past. Today these still exist, but most have gone a bit more modern. Although there’s no Starbucks in Israel, there are large local chains everywhere serving latte’s and mocha cappuccino’s with croissants. Breakfast in Israel involves salads, cheeses, yogurts, eggs, bagels, croissants and awesome Israeli bread which for some unknown reason is of an exceptionally high standard!
There’s no doubt that Shabbat and Jewish holidays bring out the best in Israeli home cooking. Every community has its traditional dishes from Polish cholent to Yemenite Chamim – its all good! My advice is don’t be shy – try it all!
Even the pickiest of eaters find something delicious to enjoy in Israel! So go out and enjoy all the different flavors that Israel has to offer! B’tayavon (Bon Appetite)