Palestinian Cuisine

If you come to Palestine from another country, the unique culture will immediately embrace and welcome you. Palestinians are known for their warm hospitality, and if you visit the home of Palestinians, they will likely provide you with more food than you can eat. Many dishes contain meat, so vegetarians may find it difficult to refuse an act of generosity.

Palestinian Breakfast

A traditional breakfast consists of warm pita bread, fresh hummus, fresh apricot or pear jelly, fresh goat cheese, olive oil and zaatar (a spice mix that contains dried thyme, sesame seed and salt), and possibly foul, a garlic-based bean spread. It is custom to rip a piece of pita and dip it in each of the assorted spreads and toppings.

  • Taboun Bread

Tabouns, still common in the rural areas of Palestine, are communal ovens for baking bread on hot stones.

  • Ka’ak Bakery

Ka’ak is a ring-shaped, slightly sweet bread sprinkled generously with sesame seeds. Most locals will eat it with a freshly baked egg or a baked falafel, and top it with zaatar (thyme) and salt.

Main Dishes

  • Musakhan

Is a festive peasant dish and a specialty of the northern regions of Palestine. The dish, usually served during the olive harvest season, is made of a piece of chicken served on taboon bread covered with great amount of cooked onions saturated with olive oil.

  • Mansaf

Mansaf is a traditional, mouthwatering dish made of lamb (sizable chunks – to show the generosity) cooked in a sauce of fermented dried yogurt and served usually with rice on a large platter with a layer of flatbread, garnished with almonds and pine nuts.

  • Stuffed Grape Leaves

The savory flavor of Palestinian grape leaves, stuffed with a mixture of meat and spiced rice, cooked until soft, and served with a squeeze of lemon juice and a bowl of fresh yogurt.


Coffee

Among the Palestinian society, coffee drinking is a rigidly social and ritual act.  A cup of coffee is offered in many settings such as with a neighbor in the morning is something completely different than the coffee offered at a funeral; in houses, serving coffee is a polite act announcing that a visit is over.

Desserts

  • Knafeh

A layer of mild chewy white goat cheese covered with a thin surface of shredded wheat, poured with aromatic sugary syrup and sprinkled with crushed pistachios.

  • Festive cookies: Ma’moul

Ma’moul is served during Christmas, Easter, and Ramadan. It is a small semolina cake stuffed with dates’ paste of walnuts mixed with sugar and cinnamon.