Israeli cuisine: Middle Eastern influences

By RACHEL MYERSON
November 29, 2017 17:42

Like halva, hummus is an Arabic word, this time for chickpeas, or garbanzo beans.




Tehina-based halva is always Israel’s base of choice.

Tehina-based halva is always Israel’s base of choice. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Israeli cuisine is having a moment. Israeli-inspired eateries are now two-a-penny in London and New York, and a sprinkle of sumac here, a drizzle of date honey there has become a casual occurrence amongst the fashionable foodie crowd on Instagram. The wondrous thing about it all is how eclectic Israeli food really is; a mix of the fruits of Israeli agricultural innovation, traditional Jewish dishes from around the world and food from the Middle East.

I call these the three “layers” of Israeli cuisine, and am exploring them in detail in this series of three articles. In the first installment, we discussed dishes that immigrant Jewish communities brought with them when they settled in Israel, and examined how such foods had been tweaked slightly, or significantly, to the point that they are considered an Israeli national dish. In each installment, I provide a couple of “case studies” to demonstrate, last time it was malabi and sabich.

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