No matter your culinary tastes, Israel has something delicious for any palate – from no-frills street food and market fare to gourmet multicourse meals! Everything from traditional Jewish Eastern-European stews to dishes brought over by Arab Israeli immigrants will satisfy. Here are some incredible local treats you should sample during your Israel travels!
Shakshuka is one of Israel’s most beloved dishes, especially during breakfast or brunch. This hearty and satisfying breakfast staple consists of eggs cooked in a tomato-pepper sauce spiced with cumin and chilli flakes before being finished off with parsley for garnishing. A satisfying combination of flavors that’ll leave you full and satisfied, plus it’s super simple to prepare!
Vegetarians love this dish because it contains no meat and is filled with nutritious vegetables – an ideal combination for optimal health. Plus, its preparation requires just one pan and few ingredients! Furthermore, its exquisite flavor can be customized by adding garnishes such as feta cheese, Greek potato salad (skordolia), pickles, salty cheeses or even halvah and sausages! Additionally, fresh toasted bread pairs perfectly for mopping up all that delicious sauce & runny eggs!
Shakshuka can be found on the menus of almost every cafe or restaurant in Israel, particularly more upscale ones, usually served alongside salad, hummus and coffee or cappuccino. Perfect for sharing among a group of friends; perfect lunch/dinner option as it fills you up.
Shakshuka is similar to Mexican huevos rancheros, Italian uvoa in purgatorio or Turkish menemen, showing how popular eggs and tomatoes is across different cuisines. Shakshuka gets its name from being an unruly mixture – an onomatopoeia for how this dish is usually prepared: nudging ingredients around in a pan (typically cast iron skillet).
There are numerous variations of this dish, but its basic recipe remains similar: tomatoes, onions, peppers, herbs and spices such as cumin or saffron are combined with herbs like thyme, paprika cayenne garlic saffron turmeric olive oil eggs and water to form a tasty sauce. You may like your yolks completely runny while others like them more thoroughly cooked – poaching is one option available here but feel free to experiment as there’s no harm done by poaching either way!
Falafel is an iconic Israeli dish. Comprised of chickpeas, herbs and spices that is usually formed into patties or balls and cooked either fried or baked before being enjoyed with any variety of toppings like salad greens, mint leaves and cilantro for green flavors or red with paprika cumin and harissa (Tunisian spices for red).
Shawarma is one of the most beloved street foods in Israel, made up of thin slices of lamb or chicken cooked on a rotating metal spit and typically served either in a pita wrap or plate with tahini sauce. Bamba are another must-try snack; deep-fried wheat snacks with various shapes and flavours–from onion rings to pizza squares! Invented in 1970 by Ephraim Saadon of Osem food company and popular among soldiers during Six-Day War.
Be open-minded: don’t limit your culinary exploration to traditional Middle Eastern and European fare alone. Try sampling some lesser-known specialties as well, like Sachlav: this dip made with roasted tomatoes and peppers similar to hummus can be found both at markets and restaurants throughout the country; Jewish festivals tend to make an exception!
Shakshouka is one of the most iconic breakfast dishes in Israel and should not be missed when visiting. A hearty tomato and pepper stew served with bread or laffa as dipping points – for an added special touch add a poached egg on top!
Israel’s food reflects its diverse population, drawing inspiration from Ashkenazi Jews hailing from Europe and Sephardic immigrants from North Africa. Due to this cultural melting pot, Israeli cuisine boasts an eclectic and innovative palette; anyone visiting should definitely include it on their itinerary! Keep this list handy when planning a trip!
Israel, with so much coastline, makes seafood consumption very common, and this includes all forms of bony fish such as cod, salmon, tuna and squid; crustaceans such as lobsters, crabs shrimp and prawns; mollusks including clams oysters cockles mussels whelks as well as two echinoderms such as sea cucumbers and jellyfish – to name just some of its offerings! All can be easily found at both upscale restaurants as well as markets and supermarkets nationwide.
Are you craving Israeli seafood? Look no further than Uri Buri Restaurant in Acre (Akko). Here, Chef Uri uses only premium quality ingredients to craft mouthwatering dishes such as scallops in cream sauce or raw St. Peter’s fish with beetroot as your main course accompanied by an impressive selection of wines that you can also purchase directly from them to take home with you.
Israeli wine industry is expanding, with an abundance of boutique vineyards opening across the country. If you’re curious to gain more knowledge about grapes and wines native to Israel, take a wine tour – it will provide an engaging way of experiencing Israel and sampling some of its best flavors!
No Israeli meal would be complete without an abundant selection of fresh salads – commonly known as salatim in Israeli. Mezze style meal usually include Moroccan carrot salad, hummus, pickled beets and purple cabbage slaw among many others – chatzilim (fried eggplant), schug (hot cilantro garlic dip) and matbucha (roasted tomato pepper dip). Of these dishes hummus is easily the most famous and widely available – it can be found almost every restaurant across Israel as well as in supermarkets – as small family-size tubs for purchase from any one or family-size tubs from any supermarket!
Knafeh, which hails from Poland and Ukraine Jewish communities, is another must-try food. This sweet dessert can be eaten as either breakfast or dessert and pairs well with black coffee for an unforgettable dining experience.
Israel boasts one of the world’s most exciting and diverse cuisines thanks to its varied population. Influences come from Ashkenazi Jews from Europe, Sephardic populations from North Africa and Ethiopian and Yemenite immigrants; plus its rich agriculture produces fruits, vegetables and grains used in recipes popular throughout Israel’s cuisine – along with an appreciation of fusion dishes on menus throughout its restaurants.
Bourekas make for an excellent snack or meal, comprised of puff pastry filled with various delectable fillings. A staple in Israeli cuisine, they’re popularly found across restaurants and markets throughout the country; often alongside hard-boiled eggs, tehina sauce or pickles. My personal favorite boureka flavor combination is feta and spinach filling paired with salad.
As part of my recent trip to Israel, I enjoyed sampling various types of bourekas while exploring both the Old City in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv’s Carmel Market. Sami Bourekas in Jaffa offered my favorite selection; its founders are members of a Sephardic family known for specializing in this dish.
The boureka is a delicious Mediterranean and Eastern European delicacy similar to an empanada, consisting of phyllo dough stuffed with various ingredients – most frequently salty cheese or potato. This delectable dish may also go by other names like borek or burekita depending on where it’s consumed.
In Israel, bourekas are commonly sold for takeout or from frozen food cases and served at wedding receptions, funerals and government meetings. Claudia Roden didn’t particularly care for them in her book The Book of New Israeli Food; I find them absolutely irresistible though! These pastry packets taste like little bites of heaven when filled with beef, onions and pine nuts!
Wander the open-air markets of Tel Aviv or Ramla and you’re bound to come across bourekas – whether in flavors like chicken salad or cheese and tomato — everywhere. Their process remains consistent: short pastry is filled with savory filling before folding it triangle shape before being brushed with plant-based butter and baked until golden brown. Bourekas don’t pack as much fatty punch as puff pastry does and their filling complements perfectly the flakiness of pastry’s crispy exterior, so give one a try — I promise you won’t regret it!