We finally had the chance to take a few days off, which we used to chill. On the beach! In Tel Aviv!!! This gave us the chance to sample a quite (in)decent amount of local food (and drinks) which we wanted to share.
Israeli food – just like the Israelis themselves – is nothing less than a melting pot of cultures and influences from all corners of the planet. First of all, Israeli food is Jewish with strong roots in Russian and eastern Europe cuisines and is based on serious dishes for serious eaters (as in fried chicken livers, marinated herrings, kaleidoscopic pickles – all served with friendly layers of onion, bread, potatoes). But Israeli food is also largely Mediterranean and North African (Moroccan, Libyan, Egyptian), with spicy dishes, lamb, couscous and dried fruits. Finally, it is Levantine with the omnipresence of tahini, hummus, falafel, and many Lebanese, Iraqi, or Yemenite flavours.
Thanks to a highly developed agriculture, the amount of fresh produce you can get your hands on is impressive as will be proven by the compulsory visit to Carmel market in Tel Aviv! Regardless of where you are and what you eat, it’s very likely that you will stumble every day on fresh salads, olives, fresh fruit juices, pita, and chunky and savoury bowls of dips such as burnt aubergines or tahini. And obviously hummus!
The local day will usually start with some delicious bread, homemade jams, fruit juices, and most likely an Israeli salad. These come in all shapes and sizes, but are always variations of the basic recipe: cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, with olive oil & fresh lemon juice. Aficionados will top theirs with some sumac, za’atar, freshly chopped parsley, or mint (or better, all four).
Alternatively, serious eaters like us would eat a shakshuka, which is simply a few eggs cooked in a delicious and spicy tomato and peppers sauce (check this absolutely delicious recipe until we publish our own).
This trip reminded us how much we love middle-eastern food! Simple, honest, with a fanfare of flavours and spices, creative, healthy with tons of fresh veggies, and finally incredibly enjoyable. We absolutely encourage you to visit Tel Aviv (and Israel for that matter) and enjoy the incredible vibe and character of the city. No matter where we went, people were friendly, open, and curious. And the food…. omg… the food!!!
After so much goodies in your belly, don’t think you will be able to run away – the deserts are awaiting you just round the corner. Delicious sweets such as Kenafeh should be on your to do list. Kenafeh is made of sweet cheese covered with a syrup soaked “thready” pastry and is typical in the former Ottoman empire, from Lebanon and Syria to northern Egypt. It’s absolutely delicious!
If all those photos didn’t make you salivate, don’t despair. We’ve got a few more exciting posts lined up about Israeli food crafts, so stay tuned! And enjoy a good turkish coffee and some drops of Arak (we recommend Elite Ha’arak) until then :)
If you really cannot wait, absolutely check out The Book of New Israeli Food: A Culinary Journey by Janna Gur or Jerusalem: A Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi. Both are serious references to learn more about the wonderful food Israel has to offer, and will give you a glimpse on what we have up our sleeves.
[We tend to write a lot of text, so we’re trying to cut down the text and put more images. Do you prefer longer posts with more text but once in a while or more frequent posts that are short and sweet? Your feedback in the comments below about how we can improve your experience on will be so much appreciated! Thanks for your support!]