The Big Apple is probably the greatest city on the planet. Almost every other movie takes place in New York. Artists sing about those hypnotising streets. Legends are born on that pavement. Every New Yorker is proud to live in this wonderful city, and every tourist leaves this great place overwhelmed.
The Big Apple is a cultural blend- you can see New York’s Chinatown, Little Italy and other “national” districts in many movies, and hear about them in many songs. That is why New York is a great place to eat some delicious food- you can try a genuine Italian pizza, and just couple of blocks away grab a traditional made sushi or a greek souvlaki. New York is really a haven for taste buds.
Jews also live in New York, since the early 17th century. Today, there are around two million Jews in New York city, so no wonder you can find many excellent places to try some properly cooked kosher food. Actually, the term “genuine Israeli food” is discutibile- Israel is a young country, 70 years old, so we can’t really talk about traditional Israeli food. We all know the horrible fate of the Jewish people. Forced to live in exile for two thousand years, until the state of Israel was founded after the WWII. Immigrants from all over the world went to their promised land, carrying bits of different cultures from their “temporary” domicile, to their new-old country. This resulted in a rather unique cuisine blend. Not exactly “traditional”, since it is fairly new, but certainly local, Israeli, since it developed on the territory of Israel.
Call it Israeli/Mediterranean, anyway you like, the food is simply outstanding. There is so much more you can learn about Israeli cuisine in New York.
Here are some great Israeli dishes you need to try, even if you are not in NYC. You have probably heard about some- most of the meals listed are common to other Eastern and Mediterranean cousins too. But Jews put their own stamp on it, and you can really feel the difference, so we advise you to try them again, in an Israeli restaurant. We have listed some recommendations too, to make it easier to pick a restaurant if you find yourself in NYC.
Falafel- these deep-fried round wanders are probably the most famous Israeli dish. Other nations claim falafel as their own, but Israelis make it in their own way, and this is why falafel is stated to be the national dish of Israel, and can be found in every Israeli restaurant around the world. Since it is so popular, and therefore common, you can eat a decent falafel in any Jewish restaurant in NYC, but we recommend Nish Nush and Taim.
Kebab- meat lovers love kebab. Everybody knows what kebab is- another common mediterranean dish. Israelis love it too, and it is an essential part of every weekend barbecue. It is almost always served in pita bread, alongside hummus and different salads. Try some yummy kebab at Taboon or Nur, you won’t regret it.
Hummus- also the pride of Israel. This dip is something else- when you read the ingredients, it doesn’t sound like much (beans, olive oil, tahina, put in pita), but the combination makes it unique. It is extremely popular in Israel, and you can find many hummus-only restaurants throughout the country. The Big Apple has many restaurants that serve hummus, but it is especially good in Bar Virage and of course in Hummus Market.
Shawarma- similar to kebab, doner kebab and gyros, shawarma is a special way of meat preparation where a chunk of meat is placed on a vertical spit and grilled for long hours, or even the whole day. The meat is then sawed off the block to portion sizes, and the rest keeps rotating to stay juicy and warm. We all know how delicious that rotating spit looks and smells. Try shawarma at Taboonette, Gila’s Nosh or The Hummus & Pita.
Sabich- this is something you probably haven’t heard about. Sabich is a Jewish sandwich. A pita filled with eggplant and eggs, it is something you can make easily at home, and it tastes wonderful. But, if you don’t want to do it yourself, try it in 12 Chairs or Chick P.
Shakshuka- this is a good option if you want to have an Israeli breakfast. You can’t go wrong with eggs with pepper, tomatoes and coriander, all prepared in a very unique way. Dizengoff NYC and Timna are excellent choices if you want to try some shakshuka to jumpstart your day.
Even without Israeli, or any other food, New York is a must-visit, and should be on top of every single travel bucket-list. This magnetic city will suck you in, and you will feel intoxicated by its vibe, long after you leave it.
Food only adds to this feeling- a rich palette of flavors from all over the globe is a fiesta for all senses. Jewish food in NYC is no different. In this article we have explained few common Israeli meals, and gave our recommendations where you can try those foods, and expect them to taste excellent. Your only job is to visit the Big Apple, and find which one you like the most.