Shakshuka is one of Israel’s most popular dishes, typically served for breakfast or brunch. Hot, hearty and filling, it is based on a tomato and pepper sauce spiced with cumin and chilli flakes, with poached eggs on top and a sprinkling of parsley. Advanced level: try a hummus-shakshuka, which is exactly what it sounds like: a bowl of hummus with shakshuka in the middle.
A deep-fried chickpea ball, falafel is served either in a pita or as a side dish for a bowl of hummus or an Israeli salad. It is the most popular fast food in Israel, and it isn’t hard to understand why: whether you’re in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, Beer Sheva or Akko, the options for delicious falafel are endless.
Most major cities in the world seem to sell shawarma or some form of it, but none will be as tasty as Israeli shawarma! Served in either a pita or a laffa (a giant wrap), the meat is typically turkey or chicken, slow-cooked on a rotating skewer, accompanied with hummus, tehina (sesame seed dip), Israeli salad, pickles, cabbage and more, depending on your preference.
Malawach is a Yemenite Jewish pancake. It is fried pastry that can be eaten sweet, with honey, or savory, with hard-boiled egg, tomato dip, and zhug (spicy dip). It can also be served like a wrap (memulawach), filled with delicious ingredients such as tehina, hummus, hard boiled egg, eggplant, fried onion, pickles and more. For great malawach,head to Jachnun Bar in Jerusalem’s Machane Yehuda market.
A traditional Ashkenazi Jewish stew of beef, potatoes, beans, vegetables and barley simmered overnight for 12 hours. The outcome is a hearty, filling and delicious dish, perfect for a winter’s evening – or a Saturday hangover. Note: hamin is the Sephardic Jewish variation of cholent, which replaces beans and barley with rice, and beef with chicken.
Traditionally cooked for Shabbat dinner and religious holidays by Israeli Jews of North African descent, chraime is a dish common on menus all over Israel. It consists of baked fish in a sauce of tomatoes, hot peppers and spices including paprika and cumin, topped off with a sprinkling of coriander.
Kubeh is an authentic Middle Eastern dish brought to Israel by Iraqi and Kurdish Jewish immigrants. A hearty soup with balls made of bulgur, minced onions and ground red meat, it is a perfect meal to keep you warm during the Israeli winter and can be red or yellow in colour. Jerusalem’s Machane Yehuda market, in which you’ll find several Iraqi food joints such as Rahmo, is a great place to sample this dish.