University of Haifa International School Student Blog
This blog post is dedicated to all the things I can only describe as being uniquely Israeli. Part of traveling, studying, or even moving abroad is learning that people do things differently than what you are used to back home. From what Israel has taught me is to expect NOTHING. Things that made some odd or different here may be awesome and also things you use often back home may not even EXIST in your host country. So keep an open mind.
This is my compilation of foods that were new experiences for me after moving to Israel.
I still don’t understand. I guess it is a good option if you are on the go, but if it lasts more than one sitting its not that convenient. If they could had a screw on top (like boxed wine) it would make this way more functional. I heard they have bagged milk in Canada too. This, however, was a very new experience for me to see and attempt to use.
This is mix of lemons (sometimes lemonade), nana (mint), and crushed ice into a slushie. I’ve seen people order this drink that looks like a bar drink even with their meal at dinner. I still haven’t caught on to the Israeli love for mint. This one mainly Israeli natives stick to, but they REALLY seem to enjoy it. They do sometimes come with alcohol in it though… so ask what’s in it in advance!
This one is without a doubt uniquely Israeli as it was invented here in Israel. Its gotten global attention though for a study that said Israeli children rarely have nut allergies due to the fact that everyone eats this peanut butter flavored snack. They are pretty good, but if you grew up on Cheetos (like myself) it’s really hard to get used to the peanut and not cheese flavor.
This one spans across the Middle East, but that’s about it. People in the USA have a very different idea of what comes to mind when you ask them if you would like a salad. I remember when I went home for a few weeks my family even said “sorry we made salad, I know you have it a lot there.” While they served a more American-style salad of mainly lettuce topped with vegetables, cheese, and dressing. I can faithfully say that I’ve been here long enough that when someone asks for salad I begin looking for the tomatoes and cucumbers automatically.
This is my personal photo and I am still not sure if this is an orange or a clementine or what. I bought this one day for a recipe I was making that called for lemon (but lime would do as well). I figured this would work either way only to cut it open and find out that it was an orange! Who makes an orange with a green peel?? (And no it wasn’t because it was not ripe they were all like this). I ended up laughing it off and using it anyway. This was my defining moment of EXPECT THE UNECPECTED.
One thing I learned very quickly is that in Israel when you order “iced coffee” you don’t get the literal coffee on ice. The barista will hand you something like this. It’s more of a Frappuccino but it usually tastes more like chocolate than coffee. I’m still convinced there is not coffee in it at all, just coffee flavoring. If you’re familiar with American fast food it is VERY similar to Wendy’s Frosty. Being a hardcore coffee fan this frustrated me at first, but living in Israel in the hottest months, like August, you learn to love it in order to beat the heat.
This is another uniquely invented in Israel snack and it is near and dear to my heart. It is my favorite snack food that I’ve had here in Israel. They come in different flavors from pizza to falafel to grill. The one pictured is my favorite! The taste is super unique and they are crunchier than other snacks I’ve had. Ahh. All I can say is I am definitely taking a few bags home with me when I return to the states.
I felt this addition was obligatory. You can talk about uniquely Israeli foods and drinks without mentioning this one. This beer is the cheap Israeli classic beer that you can order literally anywhere and they will almost always have it on tap. It’s not necessarily my favorite, but if you plan on coming to Israel you do have to try it at least once.
You can find halva throughout the Jewish world, but I had never tried it and never seen it in this variety and quantity until coming to Israel. This is a combination of sugar, flour, nut butter, and a sesame paste. It has a sweet and indescribable flavor. When I tried halva it was a bit stringy and very light. Some Israelis really go crazy over this stuff and use it in all kinds of recipes. This is another one of those things that if you come to Israel, it is a classic, and you have to try it.
This is pretty much a meat sandwich of your choice of deli meats that is then pressed in a large Panini press. This is hands down my favorite food discovery from Israel. There’s nothing better than a hot suduch sandwich and a cold bottle of Cola when late night food cravings hit!
I’m sure the longer that I am here the list will continue to grow. Great, unique food is just another reason to expect the unexpected when you study abroad. Sometimes the unexpected can be a very good and tasty surprise. I recommend trying to take some of your new favorite home when you return from studying abroad (if possible). It will help you to fight the nostalgia once you return and it’s a fun gift for family and friends to get a little taste (LITERALLY) of the place you’ve just spent the last few months in. If you do study in Israel though, try all of these first!
University of Haifa International School
From University of North Carolina at Charlotte, USA
Arabic Language and Peace & Conflict Studies Programs