19 Israeli Delicacies That Aren’t Hummus

So everyone knows that in Israel, hummus flows almost as freely as water… but there’s way more to Israeli food than that! Borrowing flavors from the cultures that live within the state, Israeli food has people all over the world reThinking what’s for dinner.

OK, so no one is arguing that hummus isn’t a precious gift…

stu_spivack (CC BY-SA 2.0) / Flickr: stuart_spivack

…but there’s a lot more to Israeli cuisine that you had no idea you’ve been craving! Until now…

1. Shakshuka

 

Poached eggs in pepper and tomato sauce with fresh parsley usually served for breakfast or brunch.

2. Halloumi Cheese

 

Originally of Greek and Turkish origin, this goat and sheep’s milk cheese has a high melting point and can be served grilled or fried. In Israel, it’s usually the featured item on a salad or kebab skewer.

3. Cactus Fruit

 

Sweet and juicy, cactus fruit can be eaten as is or turned into candy, jelly, and even vodka!

4. Falafel

 

Recently gaining global popularity, this deep-fried chickpea delicacy is as common in Israel as burgers are in America.

5. Israeli Schnitzel

bloomsburys (CC BY 2.0) / Flickr: 48086813@N03

 

What sets Israeli schnitzel apart from German schnitzel is the use of chicken or turkey breast as opposed to pork. Deep fried to golden perfection, schnitzel is surprisingly complemented by our old friend, hummus.

6. Sufganiyot

 

Less dense than an average donut, this pastry is filled with jelly (or sometimes custard), deep fried, and finished off with an abundance of powdered sugar. This melt-in-your-mouth dessert is a kid favorite around the Jewish festival of Hanukkah.

7. Khachapuri

 

Georgian by tradition, khachapuri has been making the rounds in the Israeli brunch scene. The boat-shaped bread is stuffed with butter, cheese, and sunny-side-up egg. The best part? Easy cleanup!

8. Israeli Couscous

 

Known in Israel as “ptitim,” this pearl-shaped pasta can be dressed up a thousand different ways. From vegetables to dried fruit and nuts, Israeli couscous can be served on its own or as an accompaniment to fish or meat.

9. Bourekas

 

Constructed of phyllo dough or puff pastry, Israeli bourekas are usually filled with savory cheese, mashed potatoes, spinach, mushrooms, and sometimes even pizza filling (think of it as a gourmet Pizza Roll).

10. Challah Bread

 

Sweeter than your regular bread, challah comes in every form imaginable: braided, rolled, sliced, and as the best French toast you’ve ever had.

11. Shawarma

 

Pocketed in a delicious pita and topped with tahini, shawarma is an Arabic style of cooking meat where lamb, chicken, turkey, or beef are skewered on a spit and slowly cooked on a rotating grill.

12. Rugelach

 

Like a croissant’s baby brother, this finger dessert can be found next to almost any cup of coffee in Israel. And with all the filling options, it’s no surprise! Anyone up for some chocolate, raspberry, cinnamon, marzipan, walnut, raisin, or poppyseed rugelach?

13. Labneh

Amelia Crook (CC BY 2.0) / Flickr: simpleprovisions

Amelia Crook (CC BY 2.0) / Flickr: simpleprovisions

 

Labneh is simply a more consistent form of Greek yogurt and can be found as a condiment on many Israeli street foods, including savory crêpes.

14. Latkes

 

Mostly popular around Hanukkah, this shallow-fried potato pancake can be served as an appetizer (if topped with sour cream or cottage cheese) and a dessert (if topped with apple sauce, jam, or sugar).

15. Kibbeh

 

Stuffed with ground meat and a variety of herbs, this savory croquette is an excellent base for tahini, hummus, and grilled eggplant spread.

16. Shishlik

 

Shishlik is not your average street meat. Marinated overnight and fast-charred on a grill called a “mangal,” shishlik is a street meat worthy of any sit-down restaurant.

17. Baba Ghanoush

 

In order to make this spread, a whole eggplant is baked or broiled over an open flame. Once peeled, the eggplant is puréed with a tahini or mayo base and served with pita bread at the start of a meal.

18. Hamin

rusvaplauke (CC BY 2.0) / Flickr: rusvaplauke

PhotoStock-Israel / Getty Images

 

There’s nothing dated about this traditional Jewish stew. Simmered overnight for 12 hours, the chicken, beef, potato, bean, vegetable, and barley stew serves as the ultimate comfort (or hangover) food.

19. And… Krembo

 

With a round biscuit base and a hard chocolate coating, the gooey marshmallow on the inside of a Krembo is a fun surprise for first-time indulgers. Sorry for the spoilers, but that picture is just too cute.

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