After my graduation I spent two weeks in Paris, France with my best friend at the time. During those two weeks we met two nice guys and spent a lot of time with them. They were traveling through Europe and a few weeks after we left Paris they paid a visit to Holland. We had the best of times together and when they left to go back home they invited us to their home. Home to them was Israel!
So after a few months we decided to accept their invitation and paid them a visit. That was my first time in Israel and I thoroughly enjoyed it, except for the food! At that time I was not someone with a developed taste, I think I spent my time there (two weeks) eating white bread with Nutella!! I could not be tempted by the Iraqi style rice, the tomato salads, the humus, the tahini and so on. That was 32 years ago….
How things have changed since then! Through the years I have developed my taste Big Time, my favorite food these days is food from the Middle East. I do not think there is a single thing about the kitchen from the Middle East that I do not like. On top of that, this type of food is plant based at its core. Of course it comes with meat, fish and yoghurt sometimes, but these things are easy to leave out and still leaves you with a complete meal. Now I have spent many holidays in Israel (these two nice guys turned into being my best friends) and during these years when I developed my tastebuds and transformed my lifestyle into a plant based one, the plant based kitchen turned into a very popular lifestyle in Israel. In Tel Aviv alone I know of ten completely plant based restaurants!
Last week I visited Israel again and this time was accompanied by one of my sons. Of course we visited Jerusalem and after showing him a few of the obvious places there, my friend took us to a fancy restaurant. I had this terrific salad and the eggplant ravioli. It goes without saying that it was plant based and utterly delicious. I am sorry that I did not inquire how they prepared the ravioli with its ravishing sauce.
But I had more delicious lunches, snacks and dinners in israel. Like this tabouleh, tahini and lentil salad in a regular restaurant in Tel Aviv-Jaffo.
Falafel with Humus and a pita in a beach restaurant.
This mixed dish with “meatballs” of bulgur and vegetables, rocket salad, beet salad, eggplant etc. in a plant based Georgian restaurant (with music and dancing on the bar!) A must go when you are in Tel Aviv!
These are only a few examples of the many wonderful choices you have being vegan in Israel. While eating in a Dutch restaurant is increasingly becoming a challenge for vegans (because there is not much choice, if any, of plant based food) eating out in Israel is extremely simple. I can only hope that Dutch restaurants too will pick up the plant based vibe. There is definitely a desire for plant based dining out, it just has to get rid of its “alternative” image. Meanwhile I patiently continue to “spread the message”.