What better way to visit Palestine than to taste the many flavors and traditional local dishes the Palestinian cuisine has to offer. Whether you are traveling to Jericho, to Bethlehem or further north in the West Bank to Nablus or Jenin, each Palestinian area has its own famous cuisine and traditional dishes.
Palestinian cuisine is still about local produce, fresh herbs and the balance of ingredients in one single dish. It is also about a domestic sort of cooking marked by its reverence for tradition and ancestral practices. When you come to Palestine, therefore, you will encounter a gastronomic experience where food preparation and food sharing are at the core of age-old traditions of hospitality which are very much part of the eastern side of the Mediterranean.
Being at the crossroad of three continents, Palestine was an open space where many civilizations have left their mark, and Palestinian culture has shouldered the tides through integration rather than rigid resistance. Palestinian cuisine is therefore an expression of the diversity and manifold social and cultural make-up that have resulted from this melting pot where urban culture happily encounters rural traditions and where the residue of the desert ethos of bygone days finds its traces in some of our ceremonial dishes.
Lamb and rice are staple foods and dishes like Kidrah and Mansaf, prepared for special occasions, are differentiated by the spices that are used and the way they are prepared and served.
Stews constitute the basis of family cooking and are served with rice cooked with vermicelli. Whether cooked with lamb or beef, stew meat is cooked to a tender point and one or more vegetables are added depending on the season and what is available in the market.
Maza or mezzeh as a prelude to any meal is very much a Mediterranean practice. In Palestine, it consists of a variety of salads, both cooked an uncooked, and an assortment of pastry based finger food that no one can resist. A spread of Maza dishes can be substantial enough to be considered a full meal.
If you want to go traditional, then fruits are prescribed to end the meal: watermelons, melons, prunes, peaches in summer and oranges and all sorts of citrus fruits in winter. But there is always a treat for those who crave for something more substantial. Pastries and all sorts of puddings await those who need to satisfy their sweet tooth.
Our food is yet another way by which you can explore Palestine.
When in Bethlehem, feel free to stop by the Visit Palestine Center and get a taste of Palestinian cuisine. Our boutique shop also showcases many different traditional foods. Check out our online store