A far cry from the days when Israeli’s lived by falafal and hummus, growing only the synonymous Jaffa Orange, Israel has, over the past decade, grown into one of the world’s cuisine frontrunners. And it is only logical for it to be here. With a population which has immigrated to the country from around the world, relatively recently, authentic generational recipes cross paths with the fusion cuisine Israel is now famous for.
While Tel Aviv is on paper the gastronomy capital of the country, with an uncountable number of amazing restaurants fusing different cuisines, each in a more creative and exotic way, the rest of the country has its fair share of food offerings.
The Galilee, in the North of the country has become a tranquil retreat for Israelis wanting to escape the business of the center of the country. Here, alongside Israel’s vineyards (see separate article on wine tourism in Israel) sit small, pretty villages, zimmers, and restaurants offering authentic, hearty, country-fare. With fresh produce even more important here than the rest of the country (where its importance is vital – remember this is a tiny country which provides much of Europe with fruit and vegetables so food is fresh everywhere), the flavour of Israel’s country cuisine is tantalising.
In stark contrast, Israel’s other ethnic groups, most notably the Arabs and the Druze have their own culinary offerings. Arab cuisine, Mediterranean by nature, and similar to the stereotypical idea of Israeli food, and what you would find in much of the Mediterranean, is what you will find as street food across Israel. Arab restaurants, however, offer this cuisine in a slightly different way, just as it would be different in Greece or Turkey. Abu Gosh is an Arab village famed for its restaurants, just outside Jerusalem. In fact, this little village holds the world record for the largest dish of hummus. Druze food is drawn from similar inspirations, and can be sampled in Israel’s Druze villages in the Carmel.
Israel’s food scene is gaining stamina, and is on a steep upward trajectory. Tel Aviv can already boast the highest number of sushi restaurants per person in the world (!) and a restaurant with food described by the Italian Government as the best Italian food outside of Italy, but it seems Israel is not satisfied with just this, and every week new restaurants serving all kinds of adventurous and innovative new ideas are opening up. Nothing bad survives, especially in Tel Aviv, and this is true to the fact that if a restaurant has been around for more than five or ten years, it can be considered an institution! If it lasts this long, its going to be amazing.
As Israel’s mark on the world food map gets bigger and bigger more and more people are choosing to spend time eating in Israel, more than just three meals a day. Food tourism is a rapidly growing sector of the industry here, and you can go as far as hiring a guide for a food tour, for example to explore the countries vegan food, or even have a cooking vacation in the country. It all sounds tasty!