The first time I traveled to Israel, I was astounded by the breakfasts. Salads? Fish? Vegetables? Where was all the sweet stuff?

When going to a new country, it’s obvious that you have to expect cultural differences. And in Israel, breakfast is one of those. I was so shocked by the breakfast options that I actually wrote my college essay about it — diversity, through the lens of an Israeli breakfast.

israeli breakfast

Photo courtesy of Delicious Israel

I spent the summer interning in Israel at a culinary food tour company and learned all about the origins of the beloved Israeli breakfast. It’s a distinctive, beloved meal that unites Israelis and tourists alike.

The Israeli breakfast finds its origins in kibbutz life. Workers on the kibbutz would need to eat something hearty before going to work in the hot fields all day, so they would often eat whatever produce was readily available.

This brunch-like meal eventually became what we now know today as the traditional Israeli breakfast, and hotels started to pick up on this array of food and therefore perpetuated the Israeli breakfast as a buffet.

While it’s true that there are varieties to this meal, each typical Israeli breakfast has the same core elements. Keep in mind that you won’t typically find meats in an Israeli breakfast because they’re often kosher and dairy-based (yeah, no bacon here).

israeli breakfast

Photo by Anabelle Kaplan

Let me break it down for you:


israeli breakfast

Photo by Yair Sakols

They’re often served as a type of omelet with herbs, shakshuka, or cooked to order.

Vegetable Salads

israeli breakfast

Photo by Becca Berland

The classic tomato and cucumber Israeli salad is always available, as well as various cabbage, carrot, and onion salads.


israeli breakfast

Photo by Charlotte Hull

Nothing wakes you up in the morning like olive breath.


israeli breakfast

Photo by Julia Maguire

Not kidding when I say it goes on EVERYTHING in this country.

Smoked Fish

Hellooooooooooooo lox.

Hard and Soft Cheeses

israeli breakfast

Photo by Becca Buchanan

Ask any Israeli and they’ll just tell you it’s “salty white cheese.” (?!?)

An Assortment of Breads

Because carbs.



A photo posted by NoGarlicNoOnions (@nogarlicnoonions) on

You’ll also find labneh, a Middle Eastern yogurt-like cheese dip.


israeli breakfast

Photo by Keni Lin



These are Turkish savory pastries filled with cheese, eggplant, spinach, etc. Highly recommended.

Coffee, Tea and Juice

israeli breakfast

Photo by Bridget Finnegan

Because obviously you need a glass of each.

As an afterthought, there might be a plate of rugelach and sweet pastries for “dessert”—that is, if you still have room.

Remember that going abroad is all about the experience. Yeah, I like sweet things in the morning — fruit, cereal, pancakes, etc. — but going to a new country is all about trying new things. It’s about going outside of your comfort zone and making the most of it. #noregrets