No tour of Palestine would be complete with a focus on Palestinian cuisine. Once simply regarded as “Arabic food,” the Palestinian Diaspora across the West has brought our national palate to the forefront of cutting-edge cuisine.
First and foremost is the Palestinian olive, a staple of our diet from before recorded history, as a Nahallin olive press dating back several thousand years can attest to! Since then, our unique cultural and geographic history of Gulf Arabic, Bedouin, Greek, Persian and European interaction has helped a highly sophisticated cuisine culture that differs from region to region.
In Gaza, a seafood diet with heavy Egyptian influences prevails. The spices are heavy and hotter than in other areas, and Sumaghiyyeh, a sumac and tahani dish, is standard fare. West Bank and Jerusalem fare can range from Bedouin-styled mousachan, heavy with chicken, rice and flatbread, to standard Levantine-styled shawerma, falafel, and sfiha for people on the go. Baba ghanoush, hummus and mixed salads are crowd-pleasing appetizers alongside rolled grape leaves and mashi kousa, stuffed zucchini, leading up to such main dishes as kabobs and mansef. For dessert, Nablus sweets such as kanafeh reign, usually alongside kawweh, Arabic-style coffee and sweet tea.
So no matter where you go in Palestine, be sure to taste the local cuisine – the journey will be all the more sumptuous for your pains!