Israeli foods are one of the cuisines that will give you bursts of flavors you will never forget. Israeli cuisine is so rich in flavor that it makes you forget about your diet. Moreover, with their exquisite presentation and flushes of color on your plate, it brings the saying “one eats with their eyes first” to life.
Israeli foods are a wonderful example of the country’s multiculturalism. When Jews from over 80 nations returned to their ancestral homeland towards the end of the 19th century, they brought with them the culture and cuisines of these faraway lands. Geography indeed has a significant impact on the country’s cuisine. It is a delicious fusion of cuisines from north Africa, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean region. Israeli foods are also influenced by Eastern Europe and Russia. Jewish dietary customs, festivals, and local foods are a few more factors that have influenced the cuisine. While every dish is gush-worthy, you must try these. These are narrowed down with the help of native Israelis, who believe that food is a major part of the country’s culture.
Here are the top 8 Israeli foods that you must try to treat your eyes, mouth, and soul:
It was introduced in Israel by Jewish immigrants who returned from Tunisia. The word Shakshuka literally translates to ‘shaken’ in Hebrew, and ‘shakka’ comes from the Arabic meaning ‘to stick’. One of the most popular Israeli foods, it is made of poached eggs cooked in a puree of tomatoes, hot chili peppers, and onions. It is seasoned with cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, and coriander leaves. While typically eaten as breakfast, it can be had at any time of the day. Every street food stall and restaurant follows their own unique recipe for the dish, believing it to be the best. The only way you’ll be certain about your favorite is by eating as many as you can! One of the best preparations can be found at the Shiri Bistro in Rosh Pina.
Israeli shawarma is a must for meat lovers. It is popularly made from lamb, but many places also provide chicken, turkey, and veal as variants. The meat is mounted and speared on a vertical spit and slowly grilled over hours. The pieces are shaved off as the shawarma is ordered. It is often compared to Turkish doner, but it is entirely different. The dish comes with a massive garnish and is flavorsome. On the side, you can expect a hefty plate of salad, hummus, tahini sauce, or amba sauce (pickled mangoes) and chilies. It’s fast food and perfect for a quick lunch on a full day of sightseeing. The locals favor Shevah in Jerusalem.
3. Israeli Wine
Some find it hard to believe that Israeli wine can be a dream come true for those who love wine. Israel is known as the ‘Wine Country’ for a reason. Technically, grapes have been grown here since biblical times, and today Israeli winemakers have studied winemaking and organismal biology at renowned colleges. Hence, making Israeli wine a combination of taste, culture, and modern development with intact historical winemaking practices. Several vineyards have won awards. It’s worthwhile to visit a few vineyards in Israel. Consider hiring a private tour guide for a hassle-free trip. but if you can’t, at least taste some Israeli wines, which are widely available at eateries and wine stores around the nation.
Israelis enjoy their dips very much. Apart from hummus, labneh, also known as labni or lebni, tops the list. It’s a dry cheese created by squeezing and straining yogurt. It can be made into balls or a buttery spread. It is a Middle Eastern delicacy. In Israel, it is served seasoned with cumin, lemon juice, olive oil, and herbs like oregano, thyme, and sesame seeds. Often, pita bread is topped with creamy labneh.
Falafel can easily be Israel’s national dish. These are eaten across the Middle East and most Arab countries. Many countries claim the dish as their own, but it has been fully integrated into Israeli cuisine and culture. The dish is a daily staple for many. Israelis agree anonymously that the best way to eat it is by stuffing it into a pita or on a plate. In any case, you must taste the chickpea fritters when you visit Israel. Falafel is available everywhere. Grab lots of napkins because it will likely be served with a variety of salads and sauces if you want it in a pita. It is a really tasty, albeit messy, street snack.
Sfenj originated in Morocco and northwest Africa. It is Israel’s equivalent of doughnuts. They are among the most well-liked street meals in the nation, with vendors manning enormous oil barrels filled with scorching, crisp sfenj. It is cooked from an unsweetened dough that is allowed to rise before being formed into rings or discs, deep-fried, and then sugared. Make the most of them by eating them immediately after they are cooked; otherwise, they lose their renowned texture.
One of Israel’s best-kept culinary secrets has to be the burika. Its origins are in North Africa, but it has been converted into a must-try street food snack. Mash potatoes and eggs are placed into a thin, savory crêpe, which is then deep-fried till crisp. It is then placed into a loaf of pita bread along with salad and spicy sauce and can be consumed on the go. It’s amazing to see how well-balanced the fluffy pita, crisp pancake, soft potato, rich egg, and fresh veggies work together.
Eastern European Jews introduced Babka to Israel, where they quickly became a popular delicacy. It translates to “little grandma.” It is a sweet fermented cake flavored with chocolate and spices and drizzled with honey-flavored syrup. You can’t help but be mesmerized by the way babka-makers roll, twist, and join strands of dough to produce the finished loaf if you get the opportunity to observe them in action. You can now get a slice of this delightfully textured bread in stores all around the nation.