Monday, June 16, 2014

What is the Food Like in Israel?

            One of the most frequently asked questions we get when talking about going to Israel is “What is the food like?”  I’m glad you asked.
            The short answer is, “Awesome!”  The more complete answer is: the food is fresh, simple, Mediterranean cuisine. When staying at the larger hotels, with our tour group, the cost of the tour includes breakfast and dinner each day at the hotel. These hotels provide large breakfast and dinner buffets that have something for everyone.
            Each buffet is filled with fresh fruit and vegetables. Israel grows most of its own produce, resulting in a richer taste, like it was just plucked from a backyard garden. Every meal includes a Mediterranean salad bar, complete with the best humus, several types of olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, beets, cabbage, eggplant, salad dressings, and my favorite, tahini sauce, which is made from sesame seeds.
There is a fresh salad bar at every meal.

            The hotels we stayed at were kosher, so breakfast was the dairy meal, and did not have any meat, except fish. Dinner was the meat meal, so it did not have any dairy items. 

 Our Last Supper in Israel was served family style.

            For lunch, since we were driving the country touring, we stopped and ate, or tried to eat, a light meal. Eating light, proved harder than we thought, as everything tasted so good, and most of us wanted to try everything. The lunch options typically included falafel, which is the Israeli national sandwich, comparable to the American hamburger. Falafel is a vegetarian meal, made of ground garbanzo beans, with added seasonings, rolled into balls and deep-fried. The falafel balls, usually three or four, are placed in freshly made pita bread, cut in half. We would take this to the salad bar, and add the veggies we liked, and I topped mine off with plenty of tahini sauce, which is similar to our Ranch dressing in the states. Yum – my! 
Falafel balls in a pita = Israeli sandwich.

            Schawarma was another lunch option. It was marinated meat, usually chicken, and cut into small pieces. This was placed in a soft flatbread, with roasted veggies and tahini or some other Mediterranean sauce, and wrapped almost like a burrito. This was the meat lover’s choice.
Chicken shawarma = meat lover's lunch.

            My 14-year-old boys lunch choice was usually the schnitzel, which was a flattened chicken breast, breaded and deep-fried. It was tastier than chicken tenders from home, but I think the boys thought they were eating a large chicken nugget. Sometimes the schnitzel would be placed inside a pita, making it a schnitzel sandwich, to which my boys would pull theirs out and eat the schnitzel and the pita separately, like chicken and bread. Either way, everyone was happy.
Schnitzel = breaded chicken patty.

            Breakfast included: several flavors of yogurt, cottage cheese, and other cheeses, fruit, veggies, olives, bagels, challah, cereal, granola, boiled and scrambled eggs, quiches, and fish such as herring, smoked salmon and mackerel. Sometimes there were made to order omelets, and made to order waffles with honey, from a honeycomb.
Breakfast buffet at the hotel.

            Dinner included several different meat options, usually beef, chicken, and fish, and also a vegetarian option, like eggplant. There were potatoes and rice, a salad bar, and soups. There were several breads along with my new favorite: small, oval focaccia bread, with an olive, tomato or garlic spread in the center. Topped with hummus, and I didn’t need anything else to eat. Mmmmm.
I was too busy eating the foccacia bread to take an actual picture, but it was similar to this one.

Imagine this bread with chopped olives and herbs, brushed with olive oil in the center.

            The dessert buffet table is nothing less than heavenly. Different flavors and arrangements of mousse, fruit cobblers, pastries, chocolate, and the most amazing, melt-in-your-mouth, chocolate cake with warm fudge sauce on top kept us filling our plates.
One of my boys called this the 'greatest dessert bar in the world.'

            You need not worry about being well fed while in Israel. Even with walking up to eight miles on some days, the amount of tantalizing food, kept me from losing any weight. The food was delicious and plentiful, and we enjoyed every bite.

I think it was only a tourist thing, but we did have the St. Peter's fish with or without the head still attached.
To read more about our 2014 tour of Israel, click here.

1 comment:

  1. The more complete answer is: the food is fresh, simple, Mediterranean cuisine. When staying at the larger hotels, with our tour group, Safari in Tanzania