The One Dish You Need to Try Before Leaving Israel

ⒸNazia A/Foddiesfeed
ⒸNazia A/Foddiesfeed |
Lior Kantor

Israeli cuisine is famous among tourists for falafels, shawarma and hummus. True, these are some of Israel’s finest street food options, but there is one dish that every single Israeli loves – and that’s shakshuka.

What is it anyway?

Essentially, shakshuka is a breakfast dish, yet Israelis have it for breakfast, lunch and dinner – and for good reason. Shakshuka is basically eggs poached in a rich tomato sauce made with onions, tomatoes, garlic and sliced sweet peppers, spiced with some Middle Eastern spices such as paprika and cumin, and served in a hot iron pan.

Shakshuka is almost always served alongside a roll or some bread (to dip in the sauce), a small Israeli salad (cucumber and tomatoes) and some tahini (for those of you who don’t know – tahini goes on everything in Israel).

Yes, it’s as simple as that – and that’s one of the reasons Israelis love eating shakshuka, making shakshuka, and even saying shakshuka – try it, you’ll see why.

While most places will usually offer a standard dish of tomatoes, onions, garlic, peppers and eggs – they will also suggest adding feta cheese, grilled aubergine, and parsley, so far so good.

What’s So Special About it?

That’s the thing – shakshuka isn’t that special. It’s a simple, hearty, and healthy dish, loved by everyone. It has become such a staple at any Israeli cafe, restaurant, and home – that different variations of the standard dish started popping up, and that’s where the fun really begins. The range of options is mind-blowing.

A very fun, cool, and Instagram-worthy option is to have your shakshuka served inside a challah (sweet and soft bread). The inside of the bread is removed and the shakshuka placed inside so the bread gets mixed in the sauce – it doesn’t only look good – it also tastes divine.

Cheese lovers will opt for a green Shakshouka – usually made with spinach, mangold leaves, cream, and some cheese to replace the tomato sauce, while the more adventurous foodies in the crowd must try the seafood shakshuka, available at Claro restaurant in, Tel Aviv. Another option for cheesy and fusion lovers is the Pizza Shakshuka – which is available in many places, and if you are in a rush – try a shakshuka sandwich, served in a baguette – available in many street food stalls across the country.

Claro, Ha’arbaa st 23, Tel Aviv-Yafo, +972-601-7777

At the carnivore’s corner, there is a meat version available in many places around Tel Aviv, in which either ground beef or sausages are cooked in the sauce. For the vegans in the house – there are plenty of places that serve shakshuka with grilled vegetables, tofu, or even funkier versions like using polenta balls to replace the eggs – available at Anastasia, as well as many other vegan establishments across Israel.

Anastasia, Frishman St 54, Tel Aviv-Yafo, +972-3-5290095

Shakshuka is also common in most hummus joints, where you can get it inside a plate of hummus, aka hummshuka. As previously mentioned – shakshuka is one of those things Israelis just love in every form.

Even though shakshuka is served pretty much everywhere in Israel, and lately – in many places around the world – there are some restaurants that have made it their only speciality, such as Dr Shakshuka or Shakshukia.

Dr Shakshuka, Beit Eshel St 3, Tel Aviv-Yafo, +972-3-5186560

Shakshuia, Ben Yehuda St 94, Tel Aviv-Yafo, +972-3-5223433

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