Taste of Jerusalem

From savory lamb and incredibly well-seasoned chicken to yummy hummus and the traditional kabob, indulge in all of the reasons that Jerusalem is on the "Taste of" list.

 

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Shawarma

Delicious Middle Eastern spices are infused into either lamb, chicken, turkey, beef or veal, and then the meat is slow-cooked for nearly 24 hours to create shawarma. The most popular ways to eat shawarma are in a gyro or with flatbread (aka taboon bread). Find shawarma at countless places in Jerusalem, including Hamarosh and Moshiko.

Falafel

The falafel, made of fava beans and/or chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans), is extremely good and healthy. It's normally topped with a variety of ingredients, including tahini, cucumbers, tomatoes and more. Almost always sold alongside shawarma, falafel has found its way to the West, quickly becoming a go-to for a quick meal in large cities such as New York City  and Washington, D.C.

Rugelach

This gem is made of yeast-leavened, sour cream or cream cheese dough that’s filled with some of the sweetest combinations around: raisins, walnuts, cinnamon, chocolate, marzipan, poppy seeds or fruit preserves. When in Jerusalem, try rugelach at the popular Marzipan Bakery.

Beigeleh

A tasty treat similar to its Italian cousin, the pretzel, beigeleh (or ka'ak in Arabic) is rolled-up dough covered in sesame seeds and served with an herb packet of za'atar for dipping. Beigeleh is sold on the streets in the Christian and Muslim quarters of Jerusalem's Old City.

Related: Jerusalem's Dome of the Rock

Musakhan

Incredible flavors, along with a tasty bird, top a piece of taboon bread for musakhan. Cardamom, black pepper, olive oil and onions — to name a few of the ingredients — make this dish very tasty. Enjoy it from vendors in the Muslim Quarter or at Philadelphia Restaurant in East Jerusalem.

Hummus

Usually served with taboon bread, hummus consists of ground chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) with sesame seeds, olive oil, lemon and garlic. The Middle Eastern staple comes with almost every dish. New twists on traditional hummus include adding eggplant, sun-dried tomatoes, figs, spinach, feta and countless other combinations.

Sachlab

Sachlab, a pudding-drink made from a certain orchid plant, is served hot and enjoyed with coconut shavings, nuts and cinnamon. If you're up for trying something new, sample sachlab at the 24-hour Mifgash HaSheikh café.

Lamb

Served a variety of ways (e.g., shawarma), lamb is a staple meat in Jerusalem. Enjoy it slow-cooked at Darna, a fine-dining Moroccan restaurant in Jerusalem.

Related: Moroccan Goat Tagine

Beef and Lamb Burgers

They're probably not the first thing you think about eating in Jerusalem, but burgers made of juicy lamb and tender beef are served at the popular Black Bar 'n' Burger in the New City. Top your burger  with traditional items, such as garlic baked in olive oil, duck breast with hot peppers, and, of course, hummus, if you wish.

Kebabs

Kebabs (called shipudim, or "skewers," in Hebrew) are the essential Middle Eastern cuisine. Simple to eat and really tasty, they consist of skewered cuts of meat — and, sometimes, veggies — on a stick. There are plenty of options all over Jerusalem, including Hashipudiya.