Ever wondered why Israel has become such a good culinary destination? When I mention Israeli food, you might only think of hummus, pita and falafel but that’s a real understatement. The Israeli cuisine has a lot more to offer! Ever heard of Shakshuka, Sambusak or Sabich? Discover it all on one of the below Tel Aviv food tours.
These, and many other dishes, are waiting for you to be tried when you travel to Israel! Even if you are a vegetarian or looking for vegan food tours in Tel Aviv? The Israeli cuisine has plenty of choices, there’s enough to meet every taste.
The Israeli cuisine is definitely a reason to travel to Israel, but click on the link to read many more reasons I could come up with. Also have a look at my list of almost 30 best things to do in Israel.
In the past, the food in Israel was based on a few products that are still prominently present in the current Israeli cuisine like olives, dates, pomegranates, figs, grapes, wheat and barley. Nowadays, the Israeli cuisine is influenced by flavours from all over the world.
The original inspiration for the Israeli cuisine belongs to the Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine, but during the years it has also been influenced by Asia, Europe and Africa. Thanks to all these different influences, Israel has built its own food reputation that stands for various, delicious and healthy. The Israeli cuisine seems to be one of the most delicious and healthiest foods in the world and I have to agree! Therefore going on a Tel Aviv food tour is totally worth it.
In this article I will highlight 5 Tel Aviv food tours that are not to be missed when you visit Israel. Want more Israel travel tips then click on this link to see everything you need to know before you travel to Israel.
1. Visit Israel’s open-air food markets
Important to mention is that food prices in Israel are extremely high, Israel is an expensive country! If you travel to Israel on a budget, you can take advantage of Israel’s open-air food markets (a shuk) like Carmel Market in Tel Aviv but also the Mahane Yehuda Market in Jerusalem.
When it comes to food, these are must-visit places. The markets offer fresh foods of good quality at affordable prices. I especially loved the Mahane Yehuda Market in Jerusalem, where I tasted different kinds of food multiple times!
Of course you can easily visit these markets by yourself but it can be overwhelming and you will miss the best places. Therefore a Tel Aviv food tour to visit Carmel Market is recommended. Abraham Tours offers various reasonable prised Tel Aviv food tours, but also in Jerusalem and other cities. Think about traditional cooking workshops, local food experiences, culinary market experiences and even an Israeli craft beer tasting.
If this aren’t already enough reasons to travel to Israel then check my list in the link of another 25 reasons.
In case you are traveling to Jerusalem and want to visit the famous Mahane-Yehuda-Market, then click on the link for an amazing fun tour I did with Abraham Tours.
2. Shabbat Experience Food Tour Tel Aviv
Experiencing a traditional Jewish Shabbat dinner is one of the best food tours in Tel Aviv and among the best cultural things to do in Tel Aviv in my opinion.
Shabbat stands for the seventh day of the week; a day of rest and celebration that begins a few minutes before sunset on Friday and ends the following evening after nightfall, after the appearance of three stars in the sky. According to Jewish belief, God created the universe in six days, and then stopped on the seventh day. Shabbat is a ritual to command to emulate God. The Torah says: "Six days you shall work, and the seventh day is Shabbat, for the Lord your God."
Shabbat is a traditional Jewish way to escape the daily routine. It includes three essential meals: dinner at Friday night, lunch at Saturday, and the third meal at Saturday afternoon. Friday night dinner is the most popular Shabbat meal for non-Orthodox Jews.
Shabbat Tel Aviv food tour in Abraham Hostel
Every Friday, Abraham Hostel offers a Shabbat experience, which is basically a simulation of the Friday night Shabbat dinner. The Abraham Hostel staff prepares a delicious buffet dinner and before everybody starts eating they will explain more about the aspects related to this Shabbat tradition. The event is held at Abraham Hostel, is very affordable and an absolute great Israeli food experience. Click here for more info about the Shabat Tel Aviv food tour.
Before dinner, an Abraham staff member says a special prayer over wine in a ritual known as Kiddush (sanctification). After the blessing everyone takes a sip of his or her wine. Even if you are not Jewish, it is fine to sip the wine. The final ritual before the actual meal is the blessing over bread, called Hamotzi. The Hamotzi blessing will ‘cover’ your meal (except for dessert and wine). ‘Grace After Meals,’ recited after the meal, will cover everything you've eaten.
After these blessings it’s time to enjoy a delicious cooked dinner from salad to pasta, potatoes, fish and meat, together with travelers from all over the world! Everyone sat down at long tables, where candles were lit. For the lighting of Shabbat candles are two reasons: To ‘honour Shabbat’ and to create peace (shalom bayit).
This Shabbat experience is an approachable way to learn more about the Jewish Shabbat tradition. Although I recommend this activity while staying in Abraham Hostel, I think it’s even more interesting to join a real Israeli family for a Shabbat dinner.
Shabbat Experience Betzavta
Joining a local family for a real Shabbat dinner is one of the most unique things to do in Israel. If you’re interested in joining this local culinary experience, I highly recommend Betzavta, a concept that brings locals and travellers together as you will get invited to a local home for a traditional Israeli cuisine. This culinary tour in Tel Aviv is a super authentic experience. They are now extending to local families outside of Tel Aviv as well to taste the Israeli food all across the country at a local home.
3. Hummus workshop and Dinner
When you travel to Israel, you will probably eat the famous Israel food hummus several times throughout your trip! Although almost every cuisine in the Middle East claims hummus as its own, Israel originally adopted hummus as its unofficial national dish because it suited Jewish kashrut laws (religious rules that deal with eating and food preparation). Once you try the Israeli hummus, you will realize it’s way better than the one you ever bought in a supermarket.
The hummus workshop including dinner is a really great and social experience and one of my favorite Tel Aviv food tours I did.
For the ones who still don’t know what I’m talking about: Hummus is a vegan and healthy dish made out of mashed chickpea. Chickpeas are very healthy because of the rich source of vitamins, minerals and fibre. Because of the complex carbohydrates it makes you feel satisfied and full.
While I was staying in Abraham Hostel I signed up for their Hummus workshop to learn how to prepare the ‘original’ Israeli hummus. The workshop is held inside the hostel and their talented cook explains you step-by-step how to make the best hummus in Tel Aviv.
After finishing your freshly made Tel Aviv hummus it’s time to serve it the traditional way; on a large plate, drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with herbs and accompanied by fresh pita bread to dip it. Tasting your own made hummus is another reason to sign up for a Tel Aviv food tour.
It was the first time I learned how to make hummus and I found it very tasteful. I will definitely try to make it again at home. For me, this hummus dinner was enough to feel satisfied and a great way to spend a low-budget evening with fellow travellers. I loved the relaxing atmosphere in the hostel and everything was well organized.
4. The Other Tel Aviv Food Tour - Food, Culture & People
As I mentioned before, there are a lot of great ways to discover different types of food in Israel. If you have enough time in Tel Aviv, I would recommend joining The other Tel Aviv food and culture tour hosted by Abraham Tours. This tour will show you the neighbourhood of Neve Sha’anan in the South of Tel Aviv. Exploring Neve Sha-anan is one of the unique and less touristy things to do in Tel Aviv, since you won’t find it many Tel Aviv travel guides. The reason for that is that many Israelis tend avoid this neighbourhood, which is notorious because of its reputation for sex industry.
Foreign workers and refugees from different parts of Africa and Asia are settled in this neighbourhood, which therefore make it one of the most multi-cultural places to visit in Tel Aviv. A lot of these African and Asian migrants opened their own restaurant. Because of this, you have the opportunity to taste multicultural cuisines and learn more about the social history and political background of this underbelly of the city, which at the same time make for an amazing Tel Aviv food tour.
You will get to experience tasteful dishes and snacks that originate from different parts of the world. We for example stopped at an authentic nut shop, owned by an Israeli Jew and a hidden ‘Hamra’ drink house that serves as a social gathering place to the Eritrean community.
At the drink house we enjoyed a fresh cup of coffee accompanied by sweet popcorn and learned more about ‘Buna’, the Eritrean coffee ceremony. It seems that the neighbourhood of Neve Sha’anan hosts around 30 of this hidden places.
Apart from the above visits you will also explore other small restaurants of different communities living in Neve Sha’anan, where you’re able to taste dishes like ‘Mashada’ (a chicken dish with peanut). Places like these make this Tel Aviv food tour even more special.
Ever heard of ‘injera’? It’s a sourdough-risen flatbread with a bit of a sour taste, originating from Eritrea and Ethiopia. This culinary tour in Tel Aviv is showing you the many faces of the Israeli food.
In Neve Sha’anan you will also find local vegetable markets where they sell lots of spices, and a variety of vegetables and fruits. At one of these vegetable supermarkets we tasted the difference between dry and fresh dates. At a Chinese supermarket we tried a delicious Indian dessert made out of chickpeas, called ‘Laddu’.
While strolling around the Neve Sha’anan neighbourhood – close to Abraham Hostel in Tel Aviv – you will see lots of old shops. It’s a real contrast to the neighbourhoods in the centre and north of Tel Aviv. The guide explains about the changes this neighbourhood has been through, and the negativity they still face; like the former abandoning of the bus station, the huge demographic changes in recent years and the complicated situation of the inhabitants and their political marks.
Nowadays the neighbourhood is changing. More young hipsters are settling in this area because it’s cheaper than the centre of Tel Aviv. Because of these changes, rental prices slowly start to rise. I’m curious about how this neighbourhood will develop in 5 years, but for now it makes the excellent places for a Tel Aviv food tour.
Curious what The Other Tel Aviv tour has to offer? Check out this tour organised by Abraham Tours starting from the Abraham Hostel in Tel Aviv. Food can bring people together! After this tour, you will be amazed by the food, but perhaps even more by the untold stories of the neighbourhood of Neve Sha’anan and its complex community. The tour will take around 3 hours.
5. More Tel Aviv food tours
Apart from the above Israeli food experiences, there are more culinary things to do in Tel Aviv. If you don’t feel like joining tours, workshops or cooking classes, just wander the streets of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and visit small local restaurants or food stalls to try some typical Israeli cuisine like for example Shakshuka, a great dish that you should try while visiting Israel.
Israeli wine tasting would be a good culinary thing to do as well. I loved their local wine from the Judean Hills. The desserts afterwards were very tasty as well!
Tel Aviv Vegan food tours are also available! A fun culinary Tel Aviv food tour specially tailored for vegan travelers. Click on the link for more info!
Traveltomtom has been to Israel a bunch of times and wrote many different blogs like: all essential things to know before traveling to Israel, a guide for visiting Masada Mountain, best things to do in Israel, etc.
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