Foods You Thought Were Israeli

If you ask a random person on the street what his or her favorite Israeli dish is, 9 times out of 10 the answer will be either hummus, shakshuka, falafel, or any other street food that has become so popular in this country.


Well.. what if we told you that none of these dishes are in fact Israel-born?

We know this information is mind-boggling, and you might even find it disturbing, but here are some of their true origins.

A pot of Israeli shakshuka next to a basket of bread rolls
Steaming shakshuka and hot bread rolls. Photo: Shifra Gottleib

Shakshuka | שַׁקְשׁוּקָה

With onions or without? Keep the yolk whole or mix it with the whites?

There are so many different styles that claim to be the true original recipe, but one thing is for sure- this delicious tomato and poached egg dish is NOT an Israeli creation. In fact, it was brought over from North Africa by the Jews that made Aliyah, in the early years of the state. Honestly, we don't know how we would survive without it.


A close up of an Israeli falafel in a pita with greens, hummus, and tomato
Fresh and delicious falafel! / Shifra Gottleib

Falafel | פָלָאפֶל

Probably most people’s favorite Israeli dish, and it is considered to be the most popular food in Israel. Nonetheless, this Israeli claimed staple has been dated back to the Coptic people in Egypt, at the beginning of the 1st Century.

Hummus with chickpeas, tahini, green sauce, lettuce, and two falafels balls in a bowl
You can order hummus with all sorts of toppings, even falafel balls / Shifra Gottleib

Hummus | חוּמוּס

What’s more Israeli than sitting down on a Friday afternoon, in front of a steamy bowl of creamy hummus, and not getting up until the last drop is gone? Well, although this is all very true, most people probably don’t know that this acclaimed dish is believed to have been made in ancient Egypt, all the way back in 5,000 BC.


Two Krembos still in their wrappers on a table
Did you know? Each Krembo is wrapped by hand / Shifra Gottleib

Krembo | קְרֶמְבּוֹ

Nothing symbolizes the arrival of winter in Israel more than the appearance of the first Krembos. This chocolate-covered pillowy marshmallow, made as a winter substitute for ice cream, is actually known all across Europe. It is believed to have been invented in Denmark, around 200 years ago.