It has been said that good food is very often the simplest food. And if your culinary adventures happen to take you to a city in a far-flung corner of the world, consider making Jerusalem your starting point.
Renowned for its rich history, Jerusalem is acclaimed equally for its food. A perfect mélange of Eastern and Western influences, you can find just about anything your heart desires. Whether it is hummus, shawarma, or falafel, if you are trekking through the Old City of Jerusalem, you will never go hungry.
Looking beyond the ancient walls and churches, the Old City is the heartbeat of Jerusalem. Split into four quarters—the Jewish Quarter, the Armenian Quarter, the Christian Quarter, and the Muslim Quarter—the Old City is entered through one of seven gates, and each quarter has its own treasures to discover. Get acquainted with some of the most mouthwatering street snacks found in the center of the City of Gold:
There are unlimited varieties of hummus worldwide, but what some may refer to as a dip is considered to be an actual meal in Israeli culture. The classic hummus recipe is a blend of mashed chickpeas with tahini, olive oil, and spices. Often served in a large bowl accompanied by hot, fresh pita bread, onions, pickles, and hot sauce, hummus is not only nutritious, but affordable. Ask anyone in the Old City where their favorite hummus hangout is, and you may find opinions will vary.
If it is pastries you crave, then stop by one of the Old City’s bakeries or markets to grab a boureka! Best eaten fresh from the oven, these buttery, flaky pastries come with any number of savory fillings—mostly cheese, potatoes, or spinach.
If there is an iconic snack that comes close to matching the popularity of hummus, it is falafel. Much like chips and dip, falafel is the natural partner to hummus. Made of ground chickpeas blended with herbs and spices, falafel is shaped into a ball and fried until browned. Perfectly crispy on the outside with a rich creamy inside, you can enjoy them with practically anything, but it is most commonly served with a plate of hummus or stuffed into a pita with salad and tahini sauce.
Have a sweet tooth but don’t want anything excessively sweet? Try knafeh. A traditional Middle Eastern dessert made with shredded wheat or pastry noodles covered with sweetened sheep or goat cheese, knafeh is usually seared and caramelized on both sides and topped with a blend of simple syrup and crushed pistachios. Served warm, the result is a mildly sweet, crispy, cheesy dessert with rich flavor. You can find knafeh throughout the Old City.
Perhaps a heartier snack is what you crave. If so, then grab a shawarma! Thinly sliced lamb, beef, turkey, or chicken wrapped in a warm pita and filled with salad, hummus, and tahini, it is the ideal handheld snack while you are on the go.
Another delicious street treat in the Old City is sabich, a pita filled with deep-fried eggplant, salad, hard-boiled eggs, and fried potatoes. Sabich is garnished with tahini and mango sauce, making it a quick but filling snack.
Craving junk food? Grab a bag of Bamba, arguably Israel’s favorite comfort snack. While Bamba resembles cheese curls, it is actually a peanut puff that is remarkably “just right”—not too crunchy, or sweet, or salty.
Halva is another popular Old City sweet treat. You can find it in the markets around the Old City, or in boutique sweet shops. Its fluffy, yet fudge-like, consistency is made from ground sesame seeds and sugar at its base, and mixed with different flavors such as vanilla, chocolate, caramel, and even Oreo. Served in slices, you might want to try every flavor!
Originally posted at israeladvantagetours.com