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Israeli Cuisine

Tel Aviv, Israel

After a quick look at modern Tel Aviv and its beach, it’s lunchtime. Sitting down with Jewish friends and a view of the Mediterranean, we enjoy a traditional feast and a tour of each dish. It’s an edible lesson in Jewish culture, from tahini to bulgur to hummus. L’chaim!

Complete Video Script

Tel Aviv is a young city. If looking for historic charm, you can stroll the original main drag, Rothschild Boulevard, with its nostalgic cafés and venerable buildings. But Tel Aviv is gleamingly modern and growing fast. Its infrastructure is impressive, and its new buildings look to the future.

Its beach scene comes with some of the best sand on the Mediterranean. A world away from the religiosity of Jerusalem, the people here seem focused on living for today.

In this culture, food is love. And it seems to celebrate the bounty of the land. We sat down with our guide Benny and driver Kobe to get an edible lesson in this part of the Jewish culture.

Benny: Hey, cheers. L’chaim.
Rick: L’chaim! Very good. So, Benny, could you say is typical Israeli?
Benny: Yeah — you can say this is typical Israeli. Everything that you see here is grown here locally.
Rick: Now, you could say this is Israeli, but it’s also Arab cuisine.
Benny: Yes. We call it now Israeli food, but you can find it in the Arab countries, you can find it in Lebanon, you can find it all over the Middle East. Here we have eggplants with olive oil and tahini. Here we have the tahini itself. Here we have another eggplant salad with vegetables. That’s the hummus; very famous hummus made from chickpeas. This is something special: This we call tabbouleh. It’s made of bulgur and parsley and cucumbers. Very special, very tasty. It’s OK to reach and dip your pita bread into it — you dip it in each of the salads, and that’s the way to do it; no need of a fork or a knife…

Rick: And, Kobe, how do you say bon appétit in Hebrew?
Kobe: Beteavon.
Rick: Bete…
Kobe: …avon.
Rick: Beteavon. Thank you.
All: L’chaim!