Israeli cuisine is a fusion of Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, and Ashkenazi heritage. The Mediterranean influence is seen in the use of ingredients like tomatoes, zucchini, eggplants, and chickpeas. While the Arabic and Middle Eastern influences can be seen in the use of traditional Jewish staples such as hummus and falafel. Take the road less travelled and explore the Israeli lifestyle, history, culinary influences, and culture. It is a gastronomic way to explore the country by relishing dishes from different ethnic backgrounds, such as Jewish, Arab and Mizrahi. Our list comprises the seven authentic things to eat in Israel, characterised by regional flavours, ingredients and spices.
Things To Eat In Israel – Top 7
Hummus is an Israeli dip eaten all around the world. It comprises mashed chickpeas, olive oil, tahini, lemon juice, and paprika. It is also a popular vegan alternative to dairy-based dips like creamy ranch-style yoghurt dip, sour cream, and tzatziki. Rich in protein and fibre, this tasty dip has a nutty and savoury taste that appeals to many palettes and is amongst some of the foods to try in Israel.
Culinary Tip: Find the freshest hummus in the city’s largest open-air market, the Carmel Market. You might also want to try Abu Hassan’s Tel Aviv restaurant in Jaffa.
Falafel is a traditional Middle Eastern snack which uses ground chickpeas, herbs, and spices. It is typically served as part of a wrap or salad and is a popular vegan and vegetarian meal. The chickpeas are ground and mixed with aromatic herbs and spices like cumin, coriander, garlic, and parsley to make a thick paste. This paste is then goes for shallow frying to create falafel. It is among the top things to eat in Israel.
Culinary Tip: Savour the best falafel in the Acre street market. Or you can sample it at Afteem in Bethlehem for a restaurant-like experience.
Since the Ottoman Empire, many Israeli cuisines feature tahini, a sesame paste high in protein, calcium, and polyunsaturated fats. Tahini is a common condiment in many Middle Eastern dishes, including sauces, salads, stews, soups, and desserts. It is also famous as a dip or spread.
Tahini is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. This sesame paste is low in calories and has a nutty flavour, making it a popular ingredient in many recipes.
Culinary Tip: You can relish the authentic taste of Tahini anywhere in Israel.
Sabich is among the best things to eat in Israel. It typically consists of a pita stuffed with fried eggplant, hard-boiled eggs, hummus, tahini, amba (pickled mango sauce), Israeli salad, and fresh vegetables. It is a popular street-food dish in Israel that you can relish in restaurants too.
Sabich is a filling dish, a favourite amongst locals, for a quick breakfast or lunch. It is also a popular picnic food which is easy to prepare.
Culinary Tip: This must-try Israeli pita sandwich pairs well with Anavim (synthesised grape drink) or grape juice, another local favourite.
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Malabi originated in the Middle East and is popular in many countries in the region. It is a creamy pudding made with rosewater and topped with nuts and dried fruits. This comfort food to try in Israel is a favourite among locals and tourists. Toppings such as nuts, coconut shavings, and cinnamon make the dessert delicious.
Culinary Tip: Hamalabiya in Tel Aviv is a popular restaurant to try the dessert in an outdoor setting with board games to keep you entertained.
Shawarma comprises delicious marinated meats such as chicken, beef, or lamb. The meat is cooked on a vertical rotisserie and sliced thinly. It pairs best in a pita or a wrap with vegetables and hummus.
Tahini, pickles, tomatoes, and other toppings make it one of the best things to eat in Israel. Shawarma is an iconic part of the local street food culture.
Culinary Tip: Shwarma Hazan in Haifa is just the place to eat delicious shawarma, especially during iftar. The restaurant fills up quickly with locals ready to break their fast.
Israeli halva comprises sesame seeds, sugar, and spices that combine to create an unforgettable flavour. The combination of ingredients gives it a unique texture and sweetness, unlike any other dessert. Sesame seeds add to their nutty flavour, while fragrant spices like cardamom lend a hint of sweetness with a subtle yet flavorful kick. It is among the tastiest things to eat in Israel.
Culinary Tip: Visit ‘The Halva Kingdom’ in Machane Yehuda Market, Jerusalem, for over 100 different types of halva.