Gastronomy of Israel . Native Israeli cuisine is somewhat complex, because the country’s cuisine , as well as its entire history, is the result of influences and confluences. The most popular dishes in Israel are the product of history, migrations, mixtures and reinventions that regardless of their origins, have taken their place in the Israeli cultural and culinary identity . Although there are many options in this regard, we suggest in this post 10 of the most prominent and popular:
1.Pita: Basic and inevitable in the Israeli tables. It’s something like pasta for Italians or beer for lunch for Germans. It is known as “the Israeli national bread” and it is an accompaniment associated with various foods such as Schnitzel, a type of fillet popular in Israel but of Austrian origin.
- Shawarma: An ingenious vertical rotisserie in which seasoned pieces of lamb, beef or turkey are assembled, is the essence of this dish, very popular in Israel , which has its origins in nearby Turkey. The meat, which is always spinning, is cut into thin sheets only when it is to be served. These fill a generous portion of pita that is arranged as if it were a fast food, as can be seen in restaurants and shopping malls. In general, clients have dressing and salad bars to accompany their taste.
- Faláfel: It is not known for sure if the cradle of this dish is in Egypt or even India, as some claim. The truth is that chickpea has never been so popular since someone thought of mashing it and turning it into a dough with which delicious fried croquettes are made, which are known as Faláfel . This dish is also usually prepared with beans and is accompanied with yogurt or tahini, a creamy consistency paste (made mainly with sesame seeds) and a great accompaniment to meals throughout the country.
- Hummus: Again the chickpea comes into action, this time not in croquettes but in the form of a puree to which lemon juice , tahini and olive oil are added . This is how hummus is prepared, popular not only in Israel but throughout the Middle East. When served, it can be accompanied with garlic, paprika and some other ingredients according to each region.
- Both: Iraqi Jews were in charge of bringing this highly valued food to Israel, which today is considered emblematic in the country’s gastronomy. It can be consumed alone but it is also part of other dishes and recipes. It consists of a mango- based pickle , with a slightly spicy taste, which is usually accompanied by meals such as faláfel or filled sandwiches as our next item on the list.
- Sabich or Sabih: Also of Iraqi origin, it is a sandwich with many variables, among which the well-known Pita cannot be missing as a base. The fried eggplant and hard-boiled egg are also essential in its filling, which may well be accompanied by hummus, amba or tahini. The parsley in the mixture is essential, although for being a stuffed dish the variations regarding the spices are innumerable.
- Labneh: Dairy is a must at the Israelis’ table. One of its most illustrious and desired representatives is Labneh , a variety of cheese that is very creamy almost like yogurt . Generally made from sheep or cow milk, it has an exquisite thyme taste that is especially present at breakfast time.
- Mujaddara: It is a simple but good tasting stew, based on lentils and rice. It is served with olive oil and fried onions that, in addition to accentuating the flavor of the dish, serve to decorate it. La Mujaddara is a very versatile food because it can be eaten alone or accompanied with vegetables and can be served both hot and cold.
- Jraime: Among the dishes prepared with fish, it is one of the most desired. This was one of the contributions of the Jews from Libya and today it remains the favorite of the Jews who, following the serafad tradition, consume it to receive Shabbat. The fish, arranged in pieces, is cooked in a mixture of tomato, garlic, olive oil and spices.
- Halva: And to finish the list, something sweet, for dessert. Although there are many varieties of Halva, the common foundation for all of them is semolina sweetened with sugar or honey. With these basic ingredients a paste is prepared, with a consistency that varies from semi-hard to gelatinous, to which other flavors such as condensed milk can be added. It is consumed alone and is used in the preparation of various desserts.
Ten dishes is hardly a recommendation list. Perhaps in the minds of our readers residing in Israel there remains the feeling that something was missing. It is no problem. Postulate the dishes that you consider essential in the list and take the opportunity to comment on your gastronomic experience in Israel.