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Are You Hungry? Posted by on May 30, 2012 in Cultural Awareness, Food, Recipes

אֲנִי רָעֵב! Eating is a great way to explore another culture. And food is one of my favorite subjects.

Breakfast – אֲרוּחַת בֹּקֶר

Israelis like their breakfast. While the term “breakfast” is identical worldwide, an Israeli breakfast is slightly different from what you had in mind. Typically it includes the following: fresh juice, coffee or tea, eggs of your choice, Israeli salad, a range of cheeses (both hard and soft), freshly baked bread, olives, jam and butter.

Breakfast portions are huge! If you are not aware of that you will find yourself eating more than needed and that might lead you to gain some extra pounds during your stay in Israel. Take your time, this is only breakfast, and during the rest of the day you will find out that Israeli street food is even better, so you should save some room and appetite for it.

For various reasons it is almost impossible to find any meat in any breakfast in Israel. a “Kosher” kitchen will need to separate between dairy products and meat products, so unless “English breakfast” is explicitly specified, don’t expect to find breakfast in Israel with any kind of meat.

Breakfast Vocabulary
קָפֶהkah-feh (coffee)

מִיץ תַּפּוּזִימmeets tah-po-zeem (orange juice)

סָלָט יְרָקוֹתsah-laht yeh-rahk-ot (vegetable salad)

גְּבִינַת שַׁמֶּנֶתg’vee-naht shah-meh-neht (cream cheese (either goat or cow or both))

לֶחֶם leh-khem (bread)

טוֹסְטtost (toast)

זֵיתִיםzay-teem (olives)

חֶמְאָהkhem-ah (butter)

בֵּיצִיָּהbey-tsee-ah (fried eggs)

חֲבִיתָה מְקֻשְׁקֶשֶׁתkhah-vee-tah me-koosh-keh-shet (scrambled eggs)

Lunch – אֲרוּחַת צָהֳרַיִם (ah-roo-khat tsah-ha-rah-yeem)

In Israel, lunch is the principal meal of the day – the big meal and is usually served from noon to 1:00 when the children are returning home from school. Like in Europe, however, bread is often a part of every meal of the day; this, perhaps, might interest “low-carb” dieters, since Israelis, especially the young, are among the most fit in the Western world!

Dinner – אֲרוּחַת עֶרֶב (ah-roo-khat eh-rehv)

Dinner is a light meal possibly consisting of dairy products, salads or eggs. It is usually taken around 8:00 -9:00 pm – and these are leisurely affairs.

Going Out to Eat?

There are thousands of restaurants, cafés and bars in Israel, with a wide variety of food and culinary styles. Places to eat out that are distinctly Israeli include the following:

דּוּכָנִי פָלָאפֶל – Falafel stands or kiosks are common in every neighborhood. Falafel vendors compete to stand apart from their competitors and this leads to the offering of additional special extras like צִ’יפְּסcheeps (french fries), deep fried חֲצִילkha-tseel (eggplant), סָלָטִימsah-lat-eem (salads) and חֲמוּצִיםkhah-moo-tseem (pickles) for the price of a single portion of פָלָאפֶל – falafel.

Hummusia is an establishment that offers only חוּמוּסkhoo-moos (hummus) with a limited selection of extras such as טְחִינָהtah-hee-nah (tahina), בֵּיצָה קָשָׁהbey-tsah kah-shah (hardboiled egg), חֲמוּצִיםkhah-moo-tseem (pickles), lemon and garlic sauce and פִּתָּהpeet-tah (pita bread).

מִסְעָדָה מִזְרָחִית Misada Mizrahit (literally, “Eastern restaurant”) are inexpensively priced restaurants that serve a basic selection of meze salads followed by grilled meat with a side of French fries and a simple dessert such as מוס שוקולדmoos sho-ko-lahd (chocolate mousse).

Steakiyot are restaurants which served a meze of salads, followed by skewered grilled meats, particularly שִׁישְׁלִיקsheesh-leek (shishlik) and קַבַּאבּkah-bahb (kebabs).

But you don’t have to enjoy just the traditional foods; you will also find your favorite international fare – Argentinian or Chinese, Mexican or French, Thai or Italian, Indian or American. However, the country has truly developed a food culture unique in its range of flavors, colors, aromas and very delicious choices. Israel can now even boast homegrown specialties, including world-class wines, oils, fruits and dairy products.


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About the Author: Sean Young

Learning languages since 1978 and studying over 50 (achieving fluency in 10). Sean L. Young loves giving tips, advice and the secrets you need to learn a language successfully no matter what language you're learning. Currently studying Hindi and blogging his progress right here at Transparent Language - https://blogs.transparent.com/language-news.