You’ve probably tasted it before – the dry, grainy piece of Falafel that someone promised you would taste delicious. Or maybe the “Israeli salad” that just tasted like watered down vegetables. Before going to Israel, I thought I hated all Israeli food, and then I realized that I had never actually eaten Israeli food. Here’s what it really looks like:

1. Falafel

Israeli Food

Photo by Rachel Kalichman

Real falafel is mouth-watering and once you get hooked you won’t be able to stop eating it. There are even different flavors: spicy, cilantro, regular, and so many more that kept me craving the meal for lunch every day. If you’re feeling healthy, they also always offer Falafel in plate form.

2. Shawarma

Israeli Food

Photo courtesy of @freskomediterraniangrill on Instagram

It’s true – in Israel there’s a rotating hunk of meat that they cut up right in front of your eyes, throw some sauces, hummus, and vegetables in there, and you got yourself an exploding burrito looking thing that they call shawarma.

3. Hummus

Israeli Food

Photo courtesy of @everything_hummus on Instagram

Obviously, Israel is known for its hummus. It’s served with basically everything, and it tastes good every time. Once you try Israeli hummus, you’ll never be able to eat Sabra again.

4. Israeli Salad

Israeli Food

Photo courtesy of @fatpplproblems on Instagram

Now this is an Israeli salad. Fresh, flavorful, delicious (and beautiful). Nothing like what you get in America.

5. Rugelach

Israeli Food

Photo by Rachel Labarre

I will admit that I’ve had some good Rugelach in the states and I thought it couldn’t get much better. Then I tried Rugelach in Israel, and my view was forever changed. Get these at a market or fresh out of the oven, and you’ll understand what I’m talking about.

No matter where you go in Israel – the North, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, or even the Negev Desert – you’re going to find these 5 classic dishes everywhere you go. Israelis actually fight over where the best part of the country to get Shawarma is, but they can all agree that it’s much better than any American cop-out version.