22 Traditional and Modern Foods to Try in Israel

22 Traditional and Modern Foods to Try in Israel
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From falafel to shakshuka, Israel offers an impressive array of both traditional and modern dishes. From light salads and fresh hummus to hearty stews and pita bread, there is something for every palate in Israel.

Do you love exploring new food cultures? Are you looking for a destination that offers an exciting culinary experience? Look no further than Israel – a country with an incredibly diverse food culture that combines traditional and modern dishes.

In this blog post, we will explore 22 of the most delicious foods to try in Israel. Learn why they have become so popular around the world. So, let’s dig in and discover the amazing flavors of Israeli cuisine!


1. Shakshouka

Cooked with tomato sauce spiced with cumin, garlic, pepper, and paprika and then topped with two eggs. It’s definitely worth trying it at any mealtime both on its own or as a side dish to some of the classic Middle Eastern dishes.

Even if you’re more traditional in your choice of meals. There’s plenty to try in Israel’s diverse culinary culture. After all it’s home to local delicacies like freshly caught fish from the Dead Sea and richer dishes like Beef Bourguignon or spicy Goulash.

Whether you’re looking for hearty comfort foods or exciting new flavors. Food lovers of all tastes are sure to find something they’ll love in Israel’s cuisine!



2. Falafel

Been a mainstay of Israeli street food since the country’s inception in 1948. Fried balls of mashed chickpeas are typically served on pita bread with hummus, tahini, and diced cucumbers and tomatoes.

Traditional Israeli cooking builds upon the rich flavors of fresh ingredients. Including olives, olive-based oils, couscous and grains such as bulgur (freekeh wheat). Tahini sesame paste, various fruits and vegetables (including potatoes) found in plentiful supply throughout the region.



Lamb and poultry are also popular meat choices in traditional dishes. Thanks to its varied cultural heritage, there is plenty of modern fare to experience in Israel. Not to mention exotic spices that are locally sourced in the markets!

From Latin-inspired shawarma tacos to creamy hummus bowls to mouthwatering sushi platters. Adventurous food lovers are sure to find something new and exciting around every corner.


3. Hummus

Made with mashed chickpeas, tahini, and lemon juice for tartness. It pairs perfectly with warm pita bread or veggies, this can be found in almost any restaurant. But the secret to achieving the best hummus lies within the small restaurants owned by generations of family cooks.

Whether served hot or cold, with garlic or more spicy toppings. This delectable dish will be a fitting turnout for any occasion. While hummus may be popular internationally today. It’s a culinary hallmark of Israel that must be experienced at least once in its local setting!



4. Pita Bread

You can find it served in many forms, from a simple street food snack to a complex gourmet appetizer. Not only does this delicious flatbread come in numerous varieties. But it also makes a great accompaniment to many of Israel’s modern dishes.

Such as shakshuka (eggs baked with tomatoes and peppers) and sabich (pita filled with fried eggplant, boiled eggs, and tahini). If you’re looking for something even more adventurous. Try some of the lesser-known recipes like zahav (rice porridge with dates), bagaletta (fried dough stuffed with feta cheese), or hummus mushwiya (chickpeas cooked in olive oil). All in all, pita bread dishes are essential items to try while exploring the variety of flavors present in Israel’s cuisine.

Pita bread


5. Jachnun

It is often enjoyed with an egg, tomato, and Yemenite Schug pepper paste on the side. It can be eaten with any other savory accompaniment of your choosing. With its unique texture and flavors, Jachnun offers a one-of-a kind taste to many visitors of Israel.



However, in modern Israel there are new recipes. Which blend Jachnun with more interesting ingredients like squash and rosemary. Regardless of which you choose, there’s no doubt that sampling Jachnun. Combined with other traditional dishes will offer you a memorable gustatory experience in Israel that you won’t forget!


6. Schnitzel

An Israeli staple that dates back to the 1940s. It is made from pounded, breaded veal or chicken and fried in oil until it’s lightly crisp and golden brown. Along with schnitzel on the traditional side of things you can find hummus, falafel, shakshuka — poached eggs cooked in a mildly spiced sauce with tomatoes.

Kugel and a variety of soups like chicken soup which are particularly popular during winter months. For more modern dishes you can find fresh takes on classic favorites like sushi tacos and Levantine-style kebabs.



Additionally you can enjoy freshly caught fish prepared over open flames. By beachside chefs along the Mediterranean coast. Paired perfectly with local wines made from grapes grown in Israel’s vineyards. With such a fantastic food scene to explore Israel truly is a gastronomic delight!


7. Machboos

This fragrant mix of spiced and sautéed rice layered under various forms of protein – such as lamb, beef, or chicken. Traditionally made in a clay pot over and open flame and seasoned with exotic spices such as turmeric, garlic, and cumin.



While you can always find classic Machboos recipes throughout Israel’s numerous local eateries. While exploring the Levantine region, there are also some exciting modern takes on this traditional favorite. From falafel-based variations to catering for vegan diets with red pepper cous cous creations. There really is something for everyone within this tasty genre!


8. Kubbeh Soup

A classic dish, probably originating in Iraq, made with beef and bulgur wheat that is then stuffed with minced meat, pine nuts, and onions. The combination makes a flavourful and hearty soup. That will warm your heart as well as your stomach.

Kubbeh Soup


While the latter is a popular dish of poached eggs served in a tomato based sauce spiced up with peppers and other aromatic spices. Whatever you decide to eat, it won’t take long to find out why Israeli cuisine is becoming so popular all over the world!


9. Labaneh

A creamy cheese similar to yogurt or cream cheese made from cow’s milk, goat’s milk or sheep’s milk. It can either be salty or sweet in taste, and when served as a dip it usually comes topped with olive oil, minced herbs and spices.



For something more modern, try Shakshouka. Diced onions, tomatoes and peppers cooked in olive oil along with egg poached. Directly in the sauce for an unbelievably tasty breakfast. Both of these meals show the plethora of flavors. That can be found in Israeli cuisine — from fresh Mediterranean ingredients to spices from across the Middle East.


10. Tabbouleh

A popular salad that is full of herbs, vegetables, and bulgur wheat. It’s light but flavorful, making it a great way to start any meal. For something more interesting, try sabich – an Israeli sandwich filled with oven-baked eggplant, hummus, tahini sauce and various salads.



Another favorite is Shakshuka – eggs served in a spicy tomato sauce topped with feta cheese and fresh herbs. Of course, no meal would be complete without some soufganiyot – delicious jelly doughnuts fried in oil until golden brown and dusted with powdered sugar! There’s truly something for every pallete when dining in Israel!


11. Jerusalem Mixed Grill

Exploring the local eateries in Jerusalem gives tourists a great opportunity. To sample some of Israel’s best offerings from classic shawarma to titillating moussaka. For a truly one-of-a-kind experience. No visit to Jerusalem would be complete without trying the iconic Jerusalem Mixed Grill.

Jerusalem Mixed Grill


This dish comes fully loaded with all sorts of meats like lamb, beef, and chicken. Served with hummus, tabbouleh salad, and other delectable treats. Modern dishes like labaneh sandwiches and couscous jerusalem also offer an interesting take on traditional Israeli fare that never fails to impress food-lovers across the globe!


12. Kebab

Among all of the unique foods that can be found here, traditional kebab stands out in particular. Traditional kebabs consist of strongly flavored beef or lamb grilled on a skewer. They often come with pieces of vegetables such as tomato, onion and pepper to give the kebab more flavor.



Modern Israeli cuisine has also developed many exciting variations on traditional kebab dishes. These include kofte (ground meat shaped into small balls) and schnitzel (kebabs shaped into flat cutlets). These delicious foods are perfect for a quick lunch or dinner in Israel and can be enjoyed by both locals and visitors alike.


13. Shawarma

It consists of slices of spiced meat, such as beef, chicken, or lamb, piled high on a pita and topped with hummus, tahini sauce and various other accompaniments. Shawarma has been around in some shape or form since ancient times. But in its modern incarnation it has become a part of the country’s vibrant culture.



This classic dish can be found all over Israel today. Alongside Shawarma, visitors to Israel can also sample a range of delicious modern Israeli. Fare ranging from sabich – a popular eggplant-based dish served in pita bread – to grilled kebabs and classic hummus plates. With so many options available for any taste and preference, exploring the culinary landscape of Israel is a must for any food lover!


14. Malabi

A popular dessert from the Middle East, is one of the most beloved dishes in Israel. Typically made with milk pudding and rose water syrup. For more contemporary flavor, Sabich sandwiches are becoming increasingly popular. Throughout the country – stuffed with crispy fried eggplant, boiled eggs, salads and tahini sauce.



Then there’s Shakshuka: a hearty tomato-based dish served for breakfast that can be topped with poached eggs and feta cheese for an extra kick! Whatever your palette desires, it’s sure to be satisfied in Israel with its wide variety of flavors.


15. Sabich Sandwich

This traditional Israeli street food consists of a pita pocket. Filled with hard-boiled egg, fried eggplant, hummus, pickled cucumbers and various spices. A bite of this savory sandwich will tantalize your taste buds and transport you to the heart of Israeli cuisine.



For those looking for a more modern edge to their food excursions in Israel. Be sure to head to Mashya Restaurant in Tel Aviv. Here, chefs create inventive dishes that brilliantly merge the flavors of small plates and classic Mediterranean cooking with modern European ingredients.

Whether you’re seeking traditional Israeli delicacies or innovative European dishes, Israel has something for everyone – no matter your palate!


16. Saffron Rice Pilaf With Meat & Chickpeas

A must-try dish is Saffron Rice Pilaf with Meat & Chickpeas, where long grain basmati rice. Then cooked together with chicken, garlic, saffron and spiced tomatoes for an immersive culinary experience. The components each bring unique flavours to the dish. Such as the nutty taste of toasted almonds and the slightly bitter yet bright golden hue of saffron.

It’s perfect for a special occasion and will be appreciated by both traditionalists and food adventurers alike! Beyond its more traditional dishes, Israel offers an innovative food scene.



You’ll find classic Israeli foods like Sabich (fried eggplant sandwiches) alongside modern delicacies like malawach tacos. Made popular by chef Eyal Shani himself – which set Israel apart on the global culinary stage.


17. Knafeh

This unique sweet treat is made with layers of filo pastry, soft cheese and sticky syrup. It is often adorned with bright orange sprinkles of crunchy ground nuts for added texture. Other modern delicacies include sabich, an Israeli pita sandwich made with fried eggplant, hard boiled egg, hummus and tahini sauce.



Schnitzel with delicious crumbed chicken or veal served alongside fries; and shawarma wraps filled with marinated chicken or beef shaved off the spit onto pita bread. With so many incredible dishes to choose from, it’s worth exploring as much of Israel’s culinary culture as possible during your visit!


18. Kishke

It is usually made with a combination of beef intestine and flour, though sometimes chicken or turkey might be used instead. The intestines are stuffed with matzah meal, schmaltz, onions and herbs such as garlic, parsley and caraway seeds to give it a unique flavor.



Often times kishke is boiled in soup or stewed similar to sausages or hot dogs. To modernize this traditional Israeli dish, restaurants have incorporated ingredients like quinoa, mushrooms, seitan and potatoes into their recipes to make delicious vegan options.

Additionally they may bake the kishke rather than boiling it to get a different type of texture. Whether you love traditional dishes or prefer more modern interpretations you’ll find something to enjoy when sampling the culinary treats of Israel!


19. Schug

Schug, or spiced hot sauce made from fresh chili peppers and garlic, is a key ingredient in traditional Israeli cuisine. It can be drizzled over hummus, salads and grilled meats for an added kick of flavor or used as an accompaniment to complement many dishes.



Traditional foods such as falafel, shakshuka and matbucha are also must-tries when exploring Israel’s culinary delights. Modern twists on classic flavors like artichoke hummus and halvah ice cream bring even more flavor to the table.

Whether you are checking out local street food stalls, vegan restaurants or high-end eateries, there is no shortage of delicious dishes to try in Israel!


20. Bourekas

These delicious pastries are enjoyed everywhere throughout the country, ranging from street-food vendors to upscale restaurants. Hand-held and composed of thin dough shells filled with savory ingredients such as cheese, mashed potatoes, mushrooms, and onions, bourekas make a great snack on their own or lunch meal when paired with salads or crepes.



While an all time classic, you’ll also find new takes on this dish in modern Israel—such as bourekas filled with daring flavour combinations like salmon and tahini or even dark chocolate!

Whether you’re trying a long-established version or checking out the innovative taste creations in Israel’s culinary scene today, sampling some bourekas is definitely a can’t miss experience for the adventurous eater.


21. Cholent

Traditional dishes like cholent, a slow-cooked stew of beans, potatoes, and meat, have been around for centuries in the region. Modern dishes such as falafel and shawarma have transcended their Middle Eastern origins, becoming favorites all over the globe.



In fact, a wealth of flavors has evolved across Israel — many combining modern tastes with traditional ingredients. From street stalls showcasing salads dripping with tahini to breakfast platters heaping with hummus.

From hearty plates of shakshuka to juicy glatt kosher steaks; and from creamy malabi custard desserts to sufganiyot jelly doughnuts — all this and more await you in Israeli gastronomy! Bon appetit!


22. Basbusa Cake with Orange Syrup & Coconut Flakes

This cake dates back hundreds of years in the country’s culinary culture, with its delightful layers of syrup-drenched semolina cake covered with dried coconut flakes making it a go-to dessert for special occasions.

Basbusa Cake with Orange Syrup & Coconut Flakes


While Basbusa Cake is a traditional specialty, it can also be found in modern restaurants across Israel as well. Travelers looking to get a true taste of the tastes of Israel should try this delectable treat – they won’t regret it!


In conclusion

Israel’s cuisine is truly unique, combining flavors from all over the world while still retaining its traditional roots. From classic dishes like shawarma and hummus to modern innovations such as malabi tacos and basbusa cake.

There is something for everyone in Israeli food. Whether you’re looking to sample traditional fare or explore the culinary landscape of Israel’s modern restaurants, one thing is for sure you won’t be disappointed!

So come explore the delicious offerings of Israeli cuisine today and tantalize your taste buds!

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