When it comes to food, Israelis are spoiled. They are accustomed to strong flavors and fresh ingredients. How spoiled are they? Well, McDonald’s was forced to change their burger recipe (and create a kosher Big Mac) to be accepted by the Israeli palate. Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts didn’t quite make it….
In Israel, as in many other Middle Eastern countries, “street food” is a kind of fast food that is sometimes literally eaten while standing in the street, while in some cases there are places to sit down. The following are some foods that are usually eaten in this way: But what I want to talk about here is the different types of street food that you should try. Most of them can be found pretty much anywhere in Israel. But if you want to get the best foods, ask the locals for their favorites.
סביח Sabich: This is an Iraqi-Jewish breakfast of fried eggplant, overnight cooked egg, tahini and pickled mango sauce (called amba) – usually eaten on Shabbat. The street version includes all the above stuffed into pita bread. If you’re really hungry, you can also ask to add in some chopped vegetable salad, cooked potatoes or sliced onions and hot sauce.
ה”סנדויץ’ התוניסאי” Tunisian sandwich: A large fried bun (yes, fried) with hard-boiled egg, tuna, potatoes, olives, pickled lemon and harrisa. Be warned, though, that it can be quite spicy for those who can’t handle spicy foods. The Tunisian sandwich is a bit harder to find at your typical street food stand.
Jerusalem bagels, bagels are not always the the round, boiled and baked breads. These ones are long and oblong-shaped, made from bread dough, covered in za’atar or sesame seeds, and are soft, chewy and sweet.
בורקס Burekas: Large pastries made of phyllo filled with either cheese, potatoes, spinach or roasted eggplant. You may ask for it sliced into smaller slices. it can also be served with an overnight cooked egg, pickles and even tahini.
שווארמה Shawarma: Similar to the Greek gyro, the Israeli version of Shawarma uses turkey layered with lamb fat (some places serve lamb meat, but since the Israeli lamb has a stronger flavor and aroma, some people will eat the turkey version instead). It is served in a pita to which you can add hummus, tahini sauce, chopped vegetable salad, cabbage salad, pickles, french fries – pretty much what you find pleasing to the palate.
פלאפל Falafel: This is the ultimate fast food or street food you can find in Israel. There are many places you can find serving falafel so your best bet would be asking the locals where to find the closest best place. Make sure you eat it is when it’s fried during the last few minutes or just in front of you and served hot and fresh.
מלבי Malabi: If you want something sweet, this creamy pudding is prepared with milk (or cream) and cornstarch. It is sold as a street food from carts or stalls, in disposable cups with thick sweet syrup and various toppings such as chopped pistachios or coconut. It’s so popular that supermarkets sell it in plastic packages, and restaurants serving richer and more sophisticated versions using various toppings and garnishes such as berries and fruit.
Video courtesy of: goisraelofficial – The official YouTube channel of the Israel Ministry of Tourism.