Visit Palestine

A trip to Palestine should be on everyone’s destination list, should you be a foodie, an art enthusiast, or an avid history buff. A trip is incomplete without immersing yourself in the rich and diverse food and fresh produce on offer, from the charming hole-in-the-walls that serve traditional favorites to well-known family run institutions, you will enjoy sampling great food and meeting interesting Palestinians along the way. Be sure to visit the souks, old traditional markets, to browse and sample fresh produce and seasonal fruits. Be sure to converse with the local sellers; they tend to be farmers, coming from far away, to sell their fresh produce as their source of income

Gaza

Be sure to pop into any of Women’s cooperatives, like Bint Al-Reef, to get a taste of the way they process food items, like date paste, date molasses, date butter, date jam, dukka, and shatta. Also, visit one of the oldest running tahini factories in Gaza to get a taste of the roasted rust colored variety (red tahini) most commonly used here. Akeela’s in Gaza’s Old City (souk Zaneta) can’t be beat for Gaza-style bright green falafel bursting with fresh herbs and chilis along with the hummus, fattet hummus, and musabaha. It’s a hotly debated argument about who makes the best ful, but diehards insist it is Khuzundar close to Fras Market. Other favorites in the city itself are Abo Saeed and Abu Talal. Further south, the go-to place for divine hummus and stuffed falafel is Shamout, which only opens for four hours early in the morning. The shop is run out of a narrow hole-in-the-wall place in Khan Younis. For Gaza’s famous Kunafa Arabiya, head to the original Saqallah in the Jundi Majhool Square. No trip to the city is complete without visiting Kathem’s ice cream and barrad (a local shaved yellow slushee) parlor, a landmark.

Beirzeit

A must-visit is the Palestine Museum for a dose of history and arts that includes strolling through the museum’s award-winning garden with a wide variety of Palestinian fruits, vegetables, and flowers on display.

 

Hebron

Be sure to stop by Halkoum producers and taste the sweet fragrance of flower delights. The restaurant scene has a tradition of great Palestinian dishes, such as stuffed lamb necks, fukharah, mansaf, and ouzi. The traditional places —Abu Mazen, Zuwwar, Al-Sham, and Al-Quds—are some of the best.

Jenin

Visit Canaan Fair Trade for beautiful olive oil and the delicious freekeh and be sure to meet and converse with the farmers.

Jericho

Jericho’s beautiful oasis feeds the rest of Palestine with wonderful agricultural produce, from that of the small date farmers to the foragers of herbs (khbeisa, huwerneh), and, of course, the bananas and the citrus fruit. Stop by any bayara (orange grove) in season and buy the fruit off the tree. Drive to the Dead Sea to discover fantastic salt produce by the West Bank Salt Company. With its long tradition of being a winter spot for all families from Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and Ramallah, it offers wonderfully fresh mezzes, grilled meats, and fresh lemonade or a glass of chilled arak in most restaurants. Visitors have the choice between the older establishments, such as the Rawda, or the newer addresses, such as Limona or Al-Bayara.

Ramallah

Pop in to taste beers and wines at Taybeh.  Visit old favorites, first among them are Bandali for hummus in downtown old Ramallah, Zarour for being one of the oldest mezze and grilled meats restaurants in the city, and, of course, Rukab’s for ice cream.

 

Bethlehem

Your first stop should be at the best falafel and hummus in town, Afteem. A few steps away from the Church of the Nativity, the family-owned enterprise has been offering visitors and locals everything from hot, fresh falafel to delicious hummus fatteh. If your palate prefers mezzes, the choices are many, but the oldest institutions in town are Abu Eli, Abu Zouz, and Abu Shanab. For a modern take on Palestinian cuisine, dine at Fawda Restaurant in Hosh Al Syrian and be sure to pop in to Banksy’s Walled Off Hotel museum and art gallery.

 

Jerusalem

Historically, Jerusalem has been the Palestinian food capital. From Izhiman’s coffee to the great Jerusalem ka’ek bakers in Musrara, many institutions have survived the occupation of Jerusalem and persevere in delivering highly flavorful foods. From the old city’s food dives, such as Abu Shukri for hummus and Zalatimo for the light, fluffy motabak, to the more established restaurants easily located in the old city and in well-known hotel establishments.

 

Nablus

Dive into the old city’s alleyways until you spot a butcher and a baker close by. All these shops have a few small chairs in front of them and a small kanoun. Sit down and ask them for arayes. You will see the meat cut and minced in front of your eyes, stuffed into a freshly baked kmaj, and grilled over charcoal. After that light snack, hike to the heart of the old city and follow the delicious smell of knafeh nabulsiya being prepared. The go-to address is Al-Aqsa Sweet. Watch the artisans create fresh knafeh and enjoy the melting delicious nabulsi cheese.

 

Sebastaya

Ask for Abu Mohamed and his restaurant for fragrant freekeh soup and a delicious musakhan. The rich olive oil and the tangy sumac make his musakhan unmissable.

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