One of the best things about visiting a foreign country is trying the local cuisine. Israel is no exception. Home to a wide variety of cultures, Israel’s food options are legendary. From Middle Eastern to Russian tastes, from Ethiopian to French palettes, this little country has it all. Here are some of the best foods in Israel that you have to try before you go home.

Falafel

Made from chickpeas and flour, this delicacy is fried and then tossed into a pita bread pocket. Add some fries (in Israel, they are called “chips”), some salad of chopped tomatoes and cucumbers, and a healthy dollop of hummus, and you are eating falafel like one of the natives.

Shawarma

Also eaten in bread, shawarma is meat that is sliced and roasted on a spit. Shawarma can be made with dark meat chicken or turkey, but the most traditional type is made from lamb. You’ll watch the chef slice off your portion of shawarma, grill it to perfection, and then roll it up in a laffa, which is a large, flat bread. He will add salad, fries (chips), and hummus. If you are brave, ask for a little harif – spicy sauce.

Israeli Breakfast

A truly telling thing about any country’s hospitality is how they serve you breakfast. In Israel, they love you with food. At most of the cafés, whether a chain or a local spot, you can order breakfast all day. Complete with eggs made to order, a basket of bread, and a choice of a hot drink and a cold, fresh juice, you will be served half a dozen dips like tuna, avocado, tahini, cheeses, and more.

 

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Shakshuka

This Middle Eastern food is made with a base of thick, chunky tomato sauce, topped with sunny-side-up eggs and served in the pan in which it was cooked. Shakshuka is piquant and is served with bread for dipping in any café.

Borekas

One of the most popular snacks in Israel can be found in any bakery. Borekas is a savory or sweet stuffed pastry, sold by the kilo. A borekas can be filled with either mashed potatoes, cheese, mushrooms, apple, or spinach. They are uniquely designed to let the customer know what’s inside by the shape of the pastry and are shaped the same way throughout the entire country. For example, cheese borekas will always be triangular.

Whether you are headed to a bakery, a shawarma or falafel stand, or an outdoor café, you will get around much more easily with a rental car.

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