Israel has the highest number of vegans per capita. It’s not a secret anymore, as more and more Israelis adopt the plant-based lifestyle and choose ethical veganism. Israel has been called the world’s first vegan country, with 5% of the population identifying as vegan.
Not only did popular chains in Israel, including Domino’s, add vegan items to their menu, but Israel is also known as one of the forerunners of cultured meat. SuperMeat, a lab-grown, vegan chicken company, was in the news recently for their revolutionary progress in the field.
On the ground, it’s easy to be vegan–most restaurants and hotels keep kosher for religious reasons–which means that a place that serves dairy won’t serve meat, and a place that serves meat won’t serve dairy. And that makes it easy to navigate menus and buffets, as there are fewer animal products to look out for. Additionally, Israel has a colorful and vibrant Mediterranean diet that is very plant-forward–think fresh veggies, ripe fruit, grains, hummus–and so much tahini-drizzled goodness. Traditional Israeli food is often naturally vegan. One of my favorites is the roasted cauliflower with fresh tahini sauce–and sometimes raisins–topped with herbs.
While Jerusalem has more of a traditional food scene, and lots of hip Westernized restaurants, there are solid options to be found. Figs serves fresh and delicious fare that mixes Israeli and European flavors. Their baba ganoush is divine. Another tasty option is to find a hummus bar and go for a spread of hummus, roasted eggplant, and traditional tomato cucumber salad, all with a side of freshly roasted pita.
Tel Aviv takes vegan living to the next level, and this city can truly compete with NYC. Tattooed waiters will serve you delicious dishes, such as vibrant salads with all kinds of nuts and seeds, or a divine mushroom stir fry like that served at Anastasia. While you’re there, don’t forget to get some raw cake for dessert. The chocolate pistachio is my favorite.
You can find dried nuts and fruit–and all sizes and grades of dates–on Levinsky Street. Stop by Levinsky Café for a fresh kombucha. Jaffa is a great place to get fresh smoothies and acai bowls. Jaffa marché serves delicious halva and organic fruit–binge on persimmon, they are divine!
Finally, The Carlton Hotel has the most amazing breakfast buffet in town–the vegan shakshuka is on point and so is the Müsli bar. I’m obsessed with the carrot jam.
Israeli is truly a plant-based paradise, with a vibrant culinary scene that is based on fresh ingredients, delicious spices, and lots of compassion.
Have you been to Israel? Where were your favorite vegan spots?
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