9 Foods You Must Eat in Israel

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Eat (and Instagram) your way through this food-rich country
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The foods of Israel come in so many colors, flavors, and spice levels. Meat lovers and vegans alike feel like they have plenty of options. Here are the 10 foods you must eat when you are there. 

9 Foods You Must Eat in Israel

istockphoto.com

The foods of Israel come in so many colors, flavors, and spice levels. Meat lovers and vegans alike feel like they have plenty of options. Here are the 10 foods you must eat when you are there. 

Dried Fruit

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Don’t just stop by a shuk (market) and look at the amazing displays of dried fruit; try a few. We recommend dried pineapple and strawberries. Though preserved lemon is not necessarily a dried fruit, it is something you simply cannot miss — and you’ll probably find it hard to miss, as Israelis add it to everything from salads to rice. Don’t leave Shuk Mahane Yehuda in Jerusalem, one of Eden Grinshpan’s top 10 places to eat around the world, without taking some dried fruit with you. 

Falafel

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You’re probably not surprised to see falafel on this list. In Israel, falafels often include amba, a tangy, pickled mango chutney. If you are craving an authentic Israeli falafel, head to Falafel Adir in Jerusalem’s German colony.

Fresh Seafood

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You’re probably thinking… is that kosher? While bottom-dwellers and shellfish are not, we’re still in the Mediterranean, so expect plenty of delicious fish. Don’t miss the jackfish with lemon, capers and onions, or the baby St. Peter’s Fish grilled and served with caramelized beets, the Uri Buri Fish Restaurant, who is also known for making creative sorbet flavors like wasabi or anise, or the huge portions and mezze platters at the Old Man and the Sea in Jaffa.

Jachnun

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Jachnun is a long, only slightly sweet puff pastry that’s been baked in a slow oven overnight. It’s usually served with a tomato dip, hard-boiled eggs, and skhug hot sauce. Commonly eaten on Shabbat morning, these delicious snacks can be found at the Shuk HaCarmel market in Tel Aviv. 

Jerusalem Bagels

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Jerusalem bagels are oblong, not round; baked without boiling; and almost always topped with sesame seeds. Forget cream cheese; you want to dip these in olive oil and za’atar, a blend of herbs, sesame and salt. While they are a common street food in Jerusalem, they’re nearly impossible to find in the United States. New Yorkers need not worry: Bar Bolonat in the West Village serves them. 

Knafeh

This dessert does come with a little controversy, at it is technically a Palestinian dish, but it could very well be a food that could bridge the divide. This sweet cheese pastry is soaked in sugar syrup, flavored with rose or orange water, and, if you’re lucky, laden with chopped pistachios. Try it at Knafeh Noga in Jaffa, rightly recommended by Tablet Magazine for its unique flavors.

Kofta B'siniyah

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Kofta b'siniyah, meatballs of lamb and beef, is one of those foods that taste best in somebody’s home, which some helpful apps can certainly help you find. It is a Jerusalem favorite that’s aptly represented in Yotam Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem, a cookbook you should definitely own if you can’t travel anytime soon

Sabich

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You’ve probably heard of shawarma and falafel, but do you know about sabich? This specialty of the Iraqi Jewish community combines fried eggplant with hard-boiled eggs, hummus, a fresh salad, and hot sauce. It’s a vegetarian’s dream that even non-vegetarians would love. Spotted By Locals calls the sabich at Sabich Tchernikhovski in Tel Aviv “the absolute king of Sabich.”

Shakshuka

Shakshuka is a hot dish of eggs poached in a spicy, cumin-spiced tomato sauce. While Tunisian in origin, it took off in Israel in the 1950s, when hundreds of North African Jews immigrated there. For some of the best, go to Benedict in Tel Aviv, or Dr. Shakshuka in Jaffa.