Earlier this summer, I had the time of my life traveling all around Israel on Birthright. I didn’t really know what to expect, other than that I would probably be eating falafel for every meal (not like that’s a bad thing). I’m sure everyone says it, but I actually had the best group to explore with and trying new foods made the experience even better. If you’re planning on going to Israel. whether it be in the famous cities of Jerusalem or Tel Aviv (obv the coolest one), these are the five places you need to try to give your American taste buds a new flavor.

1. Aroma Espresso Bar


Photo courtesy of @aromaisrael on Instagram

Although a piece of Israel has been brought to the states, it’s even better than your iced coffee at Starbucks. Can you believe it? Order an Ice Aroma or Ice Cappuccino and you’ll never be the same. Coffee in a slushy form, what’s better than that?

2. Cookeez


Photo courtesy of @cookeez_tlv on Instagram

Basically, the best cookies and ice cream sandwiches you’ll find in the heart of Tel-Aviv. Do you see how scrumptious they look? If for some reason you don’t make it to Israel, you can stick with these great ice cream places in the United States.

3. Moshiko Falafel and Shawarma


Photo by Stefanie Blumer

Located in Laffa, this place offers some of the best falafel and shawarma in Israel. Watch them make it directly in front of you and you’ll never go back to American falafel again. Moshiko is basically the Chipotle of Israel. Add any toppings you want like pickles, onions, tomato, tahini, hummus, olives and lemon and stuff it all in a nice pita or laffa bread. Seriously, I could eat both of these popular street foods five times a day and never get sick of them.

4. Carmel Market


Photo courtesy of @jen_davidsonnyc on Instagram

Fill up your goodie-bag with all the gummy candies in the street. Something about Israel, man. When you have withdrawals, you can make your own candy bar at home, although it probably won’t be as satisfying.

5. Ben Yehuda Street


Photo by Amanda Michnowski

If you don’t know what this amazing treat is, you will by the end of your first day in Israel. In simple terms, rugala is a buttery pastry filled with chocolate. Enough said. But make sure you get it at Marzipan Bakery. Bonus: You can attempt to make a similar dessert with a croissant and Nutella. Still sounds yummy to me.

6. Mahane Yehuda Market


Photo courtesy of @bonniestern on Instagram

It might be another marketplace, aka “The Shuk,” but you seriously need to try the fresh-squeezed juice, halva, dried fruits, coated nuts and the jachnun. You might not be familiar with halva, which is a confection made of sesame flour and honey or jachnun. Jachnun are rolled sticks of dough that are served on Shabbat and traditionally come with a side of fresh tomato and other flavorful foods.

Hopefully by now, I’ve not only convinced you to visit Israel but your mouth is watering and you’re dying to get on that twelve-hour plane ride just to take cool Instagram pictures. It’s all sababa (great).