What Not to Eat in Israel
Israel is a country known for its diverse and flavorful cuisine, with influences from various cultures and regions. However, there are a few foods that visitors should be cautious about when exploring the local culinary scene. Here are some things to avoid when dining in Israel.
1. Non-kosher meat: Israel is a predominantly Jewish country, and adheres to kosher dietary laws. If you’re not familiar with these laws, it’s best to stick to vegetarian or seafood options to avoid accidentally consuming non-kosher meat.
2. Pork products: Similar to non-kosher meat, pork is not considered kosher in Jewish dietary traditions. While it may be available in some non-kosher establishments, it’s not commonly found in traditional Israeli cuisine.
3. Shellfish: As kosher laws prohibit the consumption of shellfish, you’ll find limited options in this category. However, seafood like fish and shrimp is widely available and popular in Israeli cuisine.
4. Mixing dairy and meat: Observant Jews in Israel follow the practice of not mixing dairy and meat products. Therefore, it’s important to be mindful of this while dining out, as some establishments may have separate menus or sections for meat and dairy dishes.
5. Non-certified street food: While street food is a popular choice for many travelers, it’s essential to be cautious about where you eat. Look for stalls or food trucks that display a valid kashrut certificate to ensure the food is prepared according to kosher standards.
6. Tap water: While tap water in Israel is generally safe to drink, it may taste different due to the desalination process. If you prefer bottled water, make sure to check the seal is intact to ensure its purity.
7. Imported produce in local markets: Israel has a vibrant agricultural sector and is known for its fresh produce. However, some markets may import fruits and vegetables that are not locally grown. To experience the true flavors of Israeli agriculture, opt for locally sourced produce whenever possible.
1. Are there vegetarian options available in Israel?
Yes, Israel offers a wide range of vegetarian dishes, such as falafel, hummus, and various salads.
2. Can I find halal food in Israel?
Yes, there are halal-certified restaurants and food establishments, especially in Arab-majority areas like East Jerusalem.
3. Is it safe to eat street food in Israel?
While street food can be safe, it’s important to choose stalls with proper certifications and good hygiene practices.
4. Can I find international cuisine in Israel?
Yes, major cities in Israel boast a diverse range of international cuisine, including Italian, French, and Asian.
5. Is Israeli cuisine spicy?
Israeli cuisine is known for its flavorful spices, but it’s generally not excessively spicy.
6. Can I bring food back as souvenirs from Israel?
Certain food products, like olive oil and spices, can be taken back as souvenirs. However, it’s important to check customs regulations of your home country.
7. Are there vegetarian options in non-vegetarian restaurants?
Most non-vegetarian restaurants in Israel offer vegetarian options on their menus to accommodate different dietary preferences.