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Jerusalem is so much more than a travel destination, it’s a pilgrimage for the mind, soul, senses, and stomach! Today, I’m sharing my top 10 things you must eat in Jerusalem!
In no particular order, here are my Jerusalem food picks!
Top 10 Things you Must Eat in Jerusalem
Oh, the baklava! My favorite Baklava in Jerusalem is from Shawar Bakery & Patisserie. The bakery can be found at Harova Hanotzri 54 in the Christian quarter of the Old City. This bakery has been in the same family for over 300 years! All of the bread and pastries made in the bakery are amazing and baked according to traditional recipes. There’s a reason why this Shawar Bakery is still in business over 3 centuries later!
- Hummus. No trip to the Holy Land is complete without hummus! In my opinion, you should eat hummus everyday while in Israel. I never met a bowl of hummus I didn’t like in Jerusalem, so you can enjoy it pretty much anywhere! PRO TIP: After security in the international terminal at Ben Gurion International Airport, there is a shop that sells food from Israel. You can buy vats of hummus to take home with you. They even sell insulated bags and small ice packs to help with transport.
- Jerusalem Bagels. Eat them on their own, or dip them into olive oil, hummus, tahini, and za’atar. Jerusalem bagels are almost always covered in sesame seeds, and are never boiled like American bagels. They are easy to find all over the city. You can get some good deals on them at the shuk. You can find out more about the shuk in my post here.
- Halva. Halva is a dense sweet confection made primarily from tahini (ground sesame butter), sugar, and honey. At the shuk, there’s a vendor that sells many different kinds of halva with add-ins such as almonds, pistachios, and chocolate!
- Shawarma. Shawarma of all types–lamb, chicken, beef, veal, and buffalo–is a must when visiting Jerusalem! The shawarma pictured is a stuffed pita sandwich made from meat roasted on a vertical spit. It’s then topped with things like tomato, tabbouleh, fattoush, cucumber, tahini, hummus, pickled turnips, and amba.
- Dessert at Machneyuda.
Machneyuda is arguably one of the best restaurants in all of Israel. It’s a restaurant named after its location, the Mahane Yehuda marketplace. The menu changes daily according to the marketplace inventory and the chefs’ inspirations. The staff is amazing, and the atmosphere is electric. The dessert at Machneyuda is one of my all-time favorites. It’s not just a dessert, but an experience for the senses. The chefs layer the different components of the dessert in a fast-paced orchestrated manner. There’s music pumping, and the entire restaurant comes alive with cheers, dancing, and clapping. Book well in advance, because reservations are hard to come by!
- Kanafeh. Kanafeh is a Middle Eastern cheese pastry that’s soaked in a sugar syrup. It’s made from a type of cheese called kaymak, and includes other ingredients like pistachio and rose water. There are typically 3 variations to this dish, and the one that I tried is Kanafeh in a pan. You can find it in shops in the Old City as well as in the shuk.
- Israeli Bourekas.Bourekas is a flaky pastry made from what I would describe as a puff pastry and phyllo hybrid dough. It’s filled with different foods that immigrants brought to Israel from their native countries like salty cheese, spinach, mushroom, and mashed potato. It’s usually served with pickles, hard-boiled eggs and a trio of dipping sauces.
- Breakfast Buffet at Inbal Hotel. On my recent trip to Israel, I stayed at the luxurious Inbal hotel. My favorite thing about the hotel is the breakfast buffet! The buffet is made up of Israeli salads, fresh fruit, cheeses, fish, assorted egg dishes, freshly baked breads, waffles, pancakes, freshly sqeezed juice, and even sweets like cheesecake, halva, and baklava! Are you hungry yet?! The breakfast buffet is the perfect way to energize before a full day of touring!
- Israeli Salad. Israeli salad is a simple chopped mixture of tomato, cucumber, onion, bell pepper, olive oil, lemon juice, and fresh herbs. It’s a deliciously cooling dish during the hot summer months, but also enjoyed year-round. It can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!
Have you been to Jerusalem? What are some of your favorite things and places to eat in Jerusalem?