Nothing says more about a culture than its food, and nothing says more about a country than its street food. This is especially true in Israel, a country that celebrates its diversity in a great variety of delicacies covering almost every country around the globe. As a visitor, tourist or local there is no excuse for you not to experience at least some of your meals standing up on a street corner in Tel Aviv, sitting on a park bench in Jerusalem or even while tanning on the beach in Herzliya. This is part of the culture; this is part of Israel.
Israel’s street food is first and foremost – safe. For the most part, the ingredients are fresh, local and prepared on the spot. Israel’s location, smack in the heart of the Middle East allows access to produce that spans from orchards by the sea to olive trees on hilltops to cattle grazing in open pastures by the sweet-water lakes. Also, Israel’s size allows quick access to almost anything it holds. With this, the meal is usually prepared by someone who has done this before and for the most part, has seen their families cook this way for years. The food reflects their personality, their history and, of course, their character – part of the experience is to get to know the person cooking for you.
So, what kind of food can you expect to find in Israel? The list is long. Here are a few examples;
- Kubbeh, stuffed ground lamb and pine nuts in little bulgur dumplings originating in the Arab community
- Hummus, a middle eastern delicacy which is used for breakfast, on kids’ sandwiches, and as a side dish
- Schnitzels in a baguette, a great sandwich with fried chicken fillets.
- Muhallebi, a sweet creamy dessert made from rice, sugar, milk and rose water…and so much more.
Of course, there are also stands full of other foreign bites – sushi, pizza, burgers, fried noodles, etc.
The best and most fun way to experience Israel’s Street Food is to head out to the Street Markets:
Mahane Yehuda – In Jerusalem’s City Center. Open all week, except Saturdays. Hosts produce, supplies and restaurants side by side. Lots of action, loud music, and authentic market feel.
Carmel Market – In Tel Aviv, with crowded alleys and loud vendors. Close to the center of Tel Aviv and a step away from the beach.
Levinsky Market – In the very hip Florentine neighborhood, located in South Tel-Aviv, with both fresh produce and trendy restaurants and cafes.
Emek Refaim Market – In Jerusalem’s German Colony, open on Fridays with organic produce and baked goods. A unique flavor and atmosphere.
In each, taste a bit, savor the spices and texture but always leave room for more.
Now you are one step closer to become a true Israeli.