Eating in Israel

Eating in Israel

Many nations influenced the cuisine in Israel

Even if many Jewish Israelis cook kosher (see info box on the right), there is actually no national Israeli cuisine. People immigrated to Israel from many different countries and of course they brought their eating habits with them. In addition, there is the Arabic cuisine, which characterizes this area just as much and is just as important part of Israel’s cuisine. You can also go out to eat in French in Israel, but also in Polish or Argentine. And then everything is spiced up by the influence of the Orient.

What are mezze?

Starters called mezze are of great importance in Israel. Usually they are served in abundance. These starters are mainly part of Arabic cuisine. This can include stuffed grape leaves and hummus, the popular chickpea pulp. But it also includes turnips, tabbouleh (bulgur salad) or onion rings pickled in vinegar. Incidentally, the Israelis serve the starters one after the other and don’t just load their plates full of them. There is always bread with it.


Kosher cooking is crucial for Jewish cuisine. Certain eating rules must be observed here. For example, pork must not be eaten. Meat and dairy foods must also always be separated. It is also prescribed how animals are to be slaughtered. But how these rules are applied differs in Jewish families. Some stick to it very strictly, others less so.

Bread usually has a religious meaning

Many types of bread in Israel are made from wheat, barley, millet or rye. Bread often has a religious meaning at the same time. So the Rosh Ha Shanah bread stands for happiness.

There are quite a few different types of bread in Israel. The bread served on the Sabbath is braided and the pittah bread is made from wheat flour, salt, yeast and a little oil. It is enough for many dishes.

What is “filtered fish”?

An important dish is the gefilte fish, which means “stuffed fish”. This dish probably originally came from Poland. This fish is mainly eaten on the Sabbath, but also on public holidays, and then mostly as a starter.

This fish is often considered the most important Jewish food of all. Chopped liver or borscht are also among the dishes that were probably made by the immigrants from the east.

However, the oriental and southern European influence on the food in Israel is stronger than the Eastern European influence.

Typical dishes

Here you can find out about some of the major dishes in Israel. You know many of them from countries with Arabic cuisine. For more information about Israel and Asia, please visit thereligionfaqs.

Falafel: These are balls made from humus. Humus is a chickpea pulp mixed with sesame puree, olive oil, lemon juice and spices. This porridge is formed into balls and ends up in the fat, where it is fried. You can also pack the balls in a bread bag and serve with a salad. This originally Arabic dish is eaten by everyone in Israel, regardless of their origin.

Blintzes are sweet pancakes often filled with quark and originally come from Eastern Europe.

Hamantaschen are triangular shaped cookies that are filled with jam or syrup.

Kebab is minced beef or mutton, which is also formed into balls and then fried or grilled. This is also typical Arabic food.

Knisches are dumplings filled with onions, potatoes and seasoned meat.

Also fish is good eating in all of Israel, but the people of Jewish faith can no seafood such as mussels eat, because they are not kosher (look also the info box above). What is allowed in marine animals is what has “fins and scales”.

Vegetables and fruitsare at the top of the menu. There are many kinds of vegetables and fruits in Israel. Whether oranges, kiwis, mangoes or dates, everything is usually fresh on the table.

Eating in Israel