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It’s hard not to focus on the bad news coming out of the Middle East and Africa: disease, terrorism, war. But in spite of those challenges — and because of them — this region will broaden visitors’ horizons. You’ll never see anything like the wildlife roaming in the Sahara Desert, the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem or the Great Sphinx in Egypt. And amid all that history and nature, you’ll find some of the most modern metropolitan areas in the world, including Johannesburg and Dubai.
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shawarma, meat, gyro
Shawarma

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. 960 1280

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Falafel

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, DC. 960 1280

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Rugelach

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. 960 1280

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Beigeleh

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

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Musakhan

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. 960 1280

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Hummus

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. 960 1280

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Sachlab

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. 960 1280

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Lamb

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

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Beef and Lamb Burgers

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. 960 1280

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Kebabs

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. 960 1280

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