With a stand on almost every street corner, falafel is undoubtedly Israel’s signature dish and national pastime. Don’t make the mistake of thinking Israeli falafel is just like what you’d find in Lebanon or Egypt. Unlike anyone else, Israeli’s make their deep fried balls of goodness exclusively with chickpeas (leaving out the fava beans favoured in other parts of the Middle East). Usually eaten in pita with hummus (chickpea dip), tahina (sesame seed sauce), salad and harissa (hot sauce), Israelis munch this snack for lunch, dinner and anytime in between. You should too.
A Jewish Sephardic dish made with puff pastry and stuffed with a variety of fillings, including cheese, spinach, potato and mushroom. Quite simply put: heaven on a plate, or in a paper bag if you’re buying some straight from a bakery.
You won’t get better diary products anywhere than in Israel where the array of milk, cheese, cream, yogurt and ice cream is at once astounding and mouth-watering.
Those olive trees you see everywhere in Israel ain’t just there to make the place look suitably biblical. Israeli’s love the olive and eat it in cream cheese, as incredibly tasty oil, or just simply as a snack.
Wine has been made in Israel since biblical times and continues to be done so in a range of large and boutique wineries all over the country, but with most success in the Golan Heights.
The local tipples are Maccabee and Goldstar, which are both light lagers, although imported beers are widely available.
It’s safe to drink the tap water in Israel although bottled water is available.