A Tel Aviv Chinatown is still a distant dream, but it is a pretty safe bet that 2013 will be the year of the dragon in the steaming kitchens of Israel’s largest city.
FOOD: Instagram has taken over the Tel Aviv food scene. Many of the most talented and savvy young chefs have become inspired photographers of their dishes.
Growing up in Israel during the 1980’s, falafel was king. Twice a week I traveled from my Kibbutz to the city of Petah Tikva, for an intense ballet class. To the naked eye I seemed like any other disciplined ballerina, but actually my mind was filled with sinful thoughts of the tahini dripping falafel sandwich that awaited me at the end of the pirouette session.
Several of Tel Aviv’s trendiest restaurants now feature Palestinian dishes. Chefs say it’s part of an effort to reflect the diverse cooking traditions of the country.
In Israel, Friday night dinner is an institution. Israelis of all backgrounds, from observant Jews of Jerusalem’s Mea Shearim neighborhood to members of the artsy Mitzpe Ramon community in the south, celebrate the Shabbat meal with a homemade festive dinner. Strong Jewish tradition, a deep national spirit and the geography of this small country ensure that Shabbat dinner is mandatory for all. And so, every Friday night, families gather at the homes of the elders of the tribe. Siblings update each other on their love lives, children sing songs and aunts and uncles debate political views until everyone unites at the table to eat an honest home-cooked meal. This time, all across the nation, becomes holy.