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אֲנִי רָעֵב! Eating is a great way to explore another culture. And food is one of my favorite subjects.
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.
קָפֶה – kah-feh (coffee)
מִיץ תַּפּוּזִימ – meets tah-po-zeem (orange juice)
סָלָט יְרָקוֹת – sah-laht yeh-rahk-ot (vegetable salad)
גְּבִינַת שַׁמֶּנֶת – g’vee-naht shah-meh-neht (cream cheese (either goat or cow or both))
לֶחֶם – leh-khem (bread)
טוֹסְט – tost (toast)
זֵיתִים – zay-teem (olives)
חֶמְאָה – khem-ah (butter)
בֵּיצִיָּה – bey-tsee-ah (fried eggs)
חֲבִיתָה מְקֻשְׁקֶשֶׁת – khah-vee-tah me-koosh-keh-shet (scrambled eggs)
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 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.
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’יפְּס – cheeps (french fries), deep fried חֲצִיל – kha-tseel (eggplant), סָלָטִימ – sah-lat-eem (salads) and חֲמוּצִים – khah-moo-tseem (pickles) for the price of a single portion of פָלָאפֶל – falafel.
Hummusia is an establishment that offers only חוּמוּס – khoo-moos (hummus) with a limited selection of extras such as טְחִינָה – tah-hee-nah (tahina), בֵּיצָה קָשָׁה – bey-tsah kah-shah (hardboiled egg), חֲמוּצִים – khah-moo-tseem (pickles), lemon and garlic sauce and פִּתָּה – peet-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 שוקולד – moos sho-ko-lahd (chocolate mousse).
Steakiyot are restaurants which served a meze of salads, followed by skewered grilled meats, particularly שִׁישְׁלִיק – sheesh-leek (shishlik) and קַבַּאבּ – kah-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.