The diversity of the population in Israel has resulted in a unique and interesting cuisine. This has come about due to the fact that the Israeli population stems from more than 70 different countries each with their different customs and food that have evolved over centuries.
Israeli cuisine has developed over the years with the incorporation of the cultures and cuisines from the countries that the immigrants originated from, as well as the foods that existed amongst the Jewish and Arab populations that existed in the area prior to the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.
Prior to 1948 there has been successive waves of central European immigrants central who introduced schnitzels and strudels and Russians who brought recipes for Borsht (Beetroot soup) and Herring.
Traditional Jewish Ashkenazi dishes such as chicken soup, chopped liver and chopped herring, gefilte fish and kugel were introduced as well as Babka (Yeast cakes), chocolate rolls, and European style pastries.
When the Jews from North Africa started arriving with their Mizrachi (Eastern) cuisine, wonderful rice dishes and stuffed vegetables were added to the mix as well as couscous and shakshuka. At the same time, Sephardic dishes with their Balkan and Turkish influence were incorporated into the local cuisine, these included Bourekas, yoghurt and taramasalata. Jachnun, malawach, skhug from Yemen and Iraqi dishes, kuba, sambusak and hamutzim (pickled vegetables).
Evident in Israeli cuisine is the vast selection of vegetables and fruits that are produced locally. Despite the small size of the country just about anything can be grown successfully and fresh fruits and vegetables in season are always available, especially due to the fact that they do not have to be shipped long distances.
Street food like Falafel and Shawarma served in Pita is very popular in Israel, however during the last decade first class restaurants have sprung up throughout the country and Israeli cuisine has become something that can compare favorably with other places around the world.