Food & drinks
Palestinian cuisine is very middle eastern, such as falafel or hummus.
Though they often eat chicken, we can taste pork in Christian communities (Bethlehem, Beit Jala, etc.). Palestinian pork is so much delicious, so it’s a must!
Falafels are fried mashed chickpeas mixed with herbs. It’s not greasy. Once you start to eat, you won’t be able to stop.
We often eat falafel as a sandwich with pita bread. The falafel sandwich is not expensive (from 5 NIS), but big enough. It’s one of the handiest food.
Near the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, you can find a falafel restaurant named Afteem that local people love.
Makloubeh is cooked rice with spices. It means “turning upside down” in Arabic.
After the rice is ready, they turn the hot pot upside down into a big dish, then put a grilled chicken on it. It is also one of the hospitable dishes.
Palestinian people love to eat it with yogurt.
Marmahon is a sort of pasta, made from flour.
Palestinians cook it with chicken stock and onion. The taste is very light and plain.
mahshi w warak
Mahshi means zucchini, warak means grape leaves.
These are soup-boiled zucchini filled with / or rolled grape leaves/rice and meat inside.
It is a mom’s dish forever. You might see Palestinian moms rolling grape leaves on holidays.
Salatah means salad. So, it’s Palestinian salad as you’ve imagined.
It’s chopped salad mixed, sometimes with parsley or/and mint. It gives in your mouth a freshness.
Fool mdammas is mashed cooked broad beans with salt, garlic, lemon juice, etc. It’s one of the popular appetizers in Palestine.
Fool mdammas is often served as an appetizer for mahshi w warak (zucchini and grape leaves).
It depends on the restaurants, how mashed the fool mdammas is. Some make it very creamy, some make it medium-mush, or others make it half creamy & half beans.
Za’atar is a mixed spice with pounded thyme and oregano added to salt and sesame.
When you eat Palestinian bread, dip it in olive oil, then put it on za’atar and eat it. That perfect salt seasoned and the smell of herbs give a good appetite.
Za’atar is a traditional spice that each family has.
Though Known as an Egyptian dish, it’s a common soup also in Palestine. It’s thick and tasty.
Palestinians like squeezing a lemon just before tasting it.
Taybeh beer is the only beer brewed in Palestine.
We can visit its brewery in the Ramallah district (see taybehbeer.com for details).
A bottle costs about 18-20 NIS in restaurants (2012).
3aSeer lamoun w na3na3
3aSeer lamoun w na3na3 is fresh mint lemon juice, often served at restaurants.
Na3na3 (sounds like na-a na-a) means mint in Arabic.
This juice is made from fresh lemon juice with sugar and fresh mint, which re-energizes your body.
Jericho mineral water
Palestine-origin mineral water. Jericho is a city famous for its plenty of water.
Tap water is safe in Palestine (in the author’s opinion), but it isn’t that tasty.
This Jericho water is sold everywhere. The price depends on each shop, and it costs about 2-3 NIS (2012).
Knafeh is a sweet cheese pastry with syrup and pistachio on it.
Knafeh is a specialty of Nablus. There are some famous pastry shops (see this entry).
Ma’amoul is a small cookie often made for seasonal events.
In supermarkets, we can buy factory-made ma’amoul. They are filled with dates paste etc.
Before baking, Palestinians tuck the surface with ice tongs, which gives a beautiful pattern.
It tastes like shortbread. Good for teatime.
Zungul is like syrup-dipped donuts. It is super sweet.
In some restaurants, zungul is served as a dessert.