Posted March 28th, 2012
Courtesy of Young Judaea Year Course
“Welcome to Israel! Something to eat/drink?”
If you’ve spent even the smallest amount of time in the Holy Land, you may have picked up on the Middle Eastern hospitality, centered around hot drinks and food.
Jews love to eat and those in Israel are no exception. With immigrants from countries around the world, the cuisine itself is as diverse as the people, with unlimited food offerings available. And despite a plethora of differences with Israel’s neighbors, food is the furthest from one of them.
With so many of its citizens originating in Arab countries and fleeing to Israel before and after 1948, Israelis are huge consumers of the same foods that the surrounding countries love: chumus, falafel, pita, and of course, shawarma.
Just in case there’s anyone reading who isn’t familiar with it, shawarma is a type of seasoned meat (in Israel, typically turkey or veal) cooked on a spit, eaten in a pita or lafa (a thicker round bread) along with salad, chumus, and an assortment of other things you might add.
You can’t go too far in any Israeli city without running into a shawarma stand and while I’m not going to proclaim it as Israel’s national food (if anything, falafel has a greater claim), its ease of eating on-the-go makes it a popular and filling part of the Israeli diet, and of course, that of tourists as well.