Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and some say it’s the most delicious one as well. When it comes to food we try not to argue, but it’s a thing that is so close to people’s hearts and souls (and tummies) that sometimes, conflicts are inevitable.
A big question we get on our tours (Look for #IsrealiBreakfast on Instagram) is “what is a typical Israeli breakfast?” and even though the answer should be simple, it really isn’t!
So, let’s start with what we know for sure – Every Israeli breakfast will contain vegetables. Although Israel is a small country, there is a surprisingly big variety of produce. We’ll usually add some form of egg to the vegetables – cooked, fried, boiled, or poached. Bread is also a must – Pita, Challah, Rye, Spelt, and everything in between. In many cases, Israelis will also have something dairy– cheeses of all kinds are welcome!
Our favorite meal of the day (Photo: Amir Menachem)
These are the basics, and you can have it all on your plate – buffet style. However, as Israelis – who come from all cultures and always love to create and innovate – we created breakfast dishes that combine all of these components, which makes it very hard to choose which is the true Israeli breakfast staple.
Sabich – or as we call it here, pure happiness. Sabich is a fluffy, cloud-like Pita, stuffed with all the best the world has to offer: fried eggplant, boiled potatoes, hardboiled egg, crispy vegetables, and specialty sauces including lemony tahini and Amba. What can we say? This breakfast is perfect. Originally from Iraq, this Pita is a dream, and in the streets of Israel, you are bound to run into a long line of people, anxious to get their Sabich and have a great start for their day.
Hummus – We’re not talking about your average, store-bought, dull imitation of hummus. We’re talking creamy, zesty, warm, and spicy hummus served in a bowl with pitas as far as the eye can see! A real hummus bowl, with pickles and onions on the side, Israeli salad, and olives, served with luscious tahini and sparkling lemonade.
Shakshuka – tomato lovers, this one is for you! Shakshuka is a sweet and savory tomato sauce, made to perfection with loads of onion and garlic. In the sauce, we place the eggs – that are cooking slowly but surely inside this divine mix. Have a crispy pita ready, some green herbs on top, and some ground cheese – and you’re ready for a feast.
Burekas – crispy Filo dough, wrapped around Bulgarian cheese, dipped in freshly ground tomato sauce and se’hug (spicy peppers condiment) – what else can someone want in life? This dish, originally from Greece, came to Israel with the Jewish Greek immigrants and became an instant hit. If you want to spice things up, the Turkish dish of water Burekas is for you – it’s as if Lasagna and Burekes had a baby (a delicious, cheesy baby).
In Burekas we trust (Photo: Amir Menachem)
“Israeli breakfast” plate – found in every café in Israel, this plate has everything good – eggs per the diner’s request, usually 8 (!) different cheeses and condiments, fresh Israeli salad, and a bread basket filled with all you can eat (and more) bread and pastries.
No one can decide which one is the true flagship breakfast of Israel, and even though it’s tempting to try, we prefer it stays undecided – so we have an excuse to taste them over and over again. Ultimately, the vast variety of choices represents Israeli diversity in the best (and yummy) way possible. And hey, breakfast comes at least once a day!