Hummus, Felafel and Shwarma – great Israeli street foods
You can eat them anywhere in Israel.
You can eat them standing up, sitting down or walking in the street.
Anytime is OK to have them – breakfast, lunch dinner or a snack
They are served in local stalls, special “cafe’s”/stands, road side stalls and even in good restaurants.
It can be a snack or even a full meal.
You can eat them in the Pita bread or a wrap (like a gyro) or even on a plate, with your hands or with a fork and a knife.
The price is relatively cheap and the competition between the vendors is serious.
Many places serve all three.
The secret of each place is the ethnic origin of the owner and his family – Jewish, Arab, Yemenite, Georgian, Persian,Turkish, Galilee, Golan, Jerusalem and more.
As it is street food these are the things to check/compare before choosing where to eat:
The cleanliness of the establishment and the freshness of their oil for cooking and vegetables for filling the pita.
The size of the pita bread (some use small pitas).
The length of the serving line. It is worth waiting a couple of minutes more if the place is very popular and fresh.
If there are a lot of soldiers eating there – more means better tasting.
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Hummus is made out of chick-peas with Tahini (sesame paste) and herbs and ground into a fine paste. It is usually eaten on a plate with a pita. You tear the pita into little spoon-like pieces and scoop the hummus up – all that in a circular movement. It is called in Hebrew “wiping the hummus”. Usually it will be accompanied with olive oil, pickles, olives, some fresh salad and maybe even a ball or two of Felafel. There are various toppings for hummus – broad beans (called full), paprica, olive oil, hard boiled eggs, pine nuts, mushrooms and more. Every place has its own recipe and each has a different taste – depending on the ethnic origin of the owner. My favorite hummus is warm hummus called masbacha – roughly ground and warm with whole chick peas on the side.
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Felafel is made out of chick-peas mixed with bread crubs and herbs (mainly turmeric) and ground coarsely. The mixture is then made into a round ball and fried in deep oil until it darkens. 5-6 balls are stuffed into a pita (or laid on a wrap), hummus is spread (like mustard) inside the pita and salads and pickles are added. The pita is then topped with a sauce called tachini made out of sesame and olive oil. Very often the establishment will put the felafel balls into the pita and then you can fill whatever salads you like and how ever much you feel like. A good felafel place will always let you taste a ball before ordering. The very fresh places fry the felafel as you wait.
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Schwarma is a meat dish originating from Turkey. The serving is exactly the same as felafel. The chunk of meat is grilled on a large skewer and your portion is shaved off the bulk piece into wafer-this slices. The meat, the vegetables and hummus are then stuffed into a pita or laid on a wrap. The old way was using sheep meat which is very fat and expensive. Today most stalls use chicken or turkey – both for health reasons and price. Sometimes you will find beef schwarma. If before lunch the skewer is very small – don’t eat there – yesterday’s leftovers. If after lunch the skewer is very big – must be a good place with a large turnover.
or as we say in Hebrew
🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂