Tag Archives | Israel

Even Kosher meat in Israel is unethical

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Israeli food giant admits to abu­sive slaugh­ter­house con­di­tions that ‘would hor­rify’ meat eaters. In response to class-action suits prompted by inves­tiga­tive report, Tnuva says con­sumers don’t want to know how the sausages are made– even when they’re kosher.”

Read Haaretz arti­cle here.

Oy Vegan!

 

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Veganism on mainstream TV in Israel

Israel’s at it again! Chan­nel 1 TV shows a piece on the vegan lifestyle. Check it out!

 

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Restaurant reviews: Vegan Israel — Tel Aviv

I’m back from the holy land, a lit­tle jet lagged and full of fab­u­lous vegan food!

After lead­ing a won­der­ful young adult Taglit Birthright Israel trip with Canada Israel Expe­ri­ence, I  stuck around in Tel Aviv for another 9 days to enjoy the sights, sun, and eats.

Here are Tel Aviv’s top 10 vegan and vegan friendly spots that we vis­ited (in no par­tic­u­lar order):

1. Bud­dha Burg­ers- We ate here almost every day for lunch or din­ner. This really is a vegan restau­rant in every sense of the mean­ing. The vibe here is very relaxed. The walls are adorned with posters, stick­ers, and inspi­ra­tional quotes encour­ag­ing vegan activism, and adver­tis­ing events.

Above: Bud­dha Burger with soy cheese

Above: Wall at Bud­dha Burgers

Above: Salad from salad bar

High­lights: the bud­dha burger with soy cheese. Amaz­ing! The schnitzel cheese burger is also good. The lasagna is tops. I also enjoyed mak­ing my own salad at the salad bar that is fully equipped with count­less veg­gies, tofu, sprouted lentils, and even vegan shawarma made from sei­tan. A great place to meet other veg­ans and hang out with the res­i­dent restau­rant cat.

There are 2 loca­tions in Tel Aviv. Check out their menu in Eng­lish.

2. Vegan Shawarma- Great totally vegan spot to grab some quick super tasty vegan com­fort food!

Above: Cheese­burger, vegan shawarma, and pizza with olives and mushrooms

High­lights: cheese­burger, pizza with soy cheese, schnitzel on a bun, and of course, the clas­sic vegan shawarma.

Loca­tions in Tel Aviv, Beer­sheva, and Haifa.

3. Taam Hachaim- Nice space on Ben Yahuda run by mem­bers of the Hebrew Israelite com­mu­nity. Tasty food that is 100% vegan and organic.

Above: Humus platter

Above: Side salad

High­lights: Lasagna, humus plat­ter, fresh sal­ads, stir-frys with rice, and fresh juices.

Check out the Eng­lish menu.

4. Mezze - This is a very cute veg­e­tar­ian restau­rant on Echad Ha’am that we vis­ited on new year’s eve. The food was fresh and mediter­ranean inspired.

High­lights:  Mush­room wal­nut and cashew pâté served with organic rye toast, vine leaves stuffed with rice, herbs, and nuts served with cashew cream, black rice with pump­kin and tofu, and the quinoa cucum­ber cran­berry salad served with pome­gran­ate tahina dressing.

Check out the Eng­lish menu.

5. Orna & Ella - This hip vegan-friendly bistro on Shenkin is pop­u­lar so try call­ing in advance and mak­ing a reser­va­tion to avoid dis­ap­point­ment. The vegan options are clearly marked on the menu. The dishes we enjoyed were really stel­lar. Though we never expe­ri­enced it, we heard that they serve a tofu scram­ble for brunch!

Above: Antipasto platter

Above: Vegan choco­late bounty

High­lights: antipasto plat­ter, pome­gran­ate tofu with herbed rice, baked cau­li­flower and tomato in tahina with rice and lentils, and for dessert the vegan choco­late bounty.

6. MizLaLaThis is the urban casual younger sis­ter of fine din­ing restau­rant Catit. Mizlala fea­tures the inven­tive cook­ing of Chef Meir Adoni. We went here on our last night in Tel Aviv. This is a place to see and be seen and is a favourite of Israeli celebs such as model Bar Refaeli. We called ahead and let them know we were vegan. They cre­ated meals for us when we arrived. The staff was extremely atten­tive to us and wanted to know if we were enjoy­ing our food and if it was sat­is­fy­ing us from a foodie stand­point. The flavours really were out­stand­ing. This is a more expen­sive place for Israel, but a lovely spot for a nicer dinner.

Above: Cucum­ber, Mango, tomato, corian­der, dark quinoa, and vinaigrette 

High­lights:  Salmon ceviche with­out the salmon– Mango, cucum­ber, tomato, tapi­oca, dark quinoa, corian­der, and vinai­grette. This dish is extremely flavour­ful and totally worth it!

Check out the Eng­lish menu.

7. Café Biren­baumThis veg­e­tar­ian kosher café on Naha­lat Binyamin was our go-to break­fast spot while in Tel Aviv. We went here almost every morn­ing! I miss the salad bar!! Run by two sis­ters, Café Biren­baum has been busy serv­ing Tel Avi­vians since 1962.  It’s very busy so I rec­om­mend arriv­ing early. The salad bar is all you can eat and fea­tures a major­ity of vegan sal­ads that are fresh and tasty. Biren­baum is a must-visit for a healthy, fill­ing, vegan breakfast!

Above: Salad from the salad bar

High­lights: The salad bar– fea­tur­ing over 20 dif­fer­ents sal­ads such as quinoa salad, sweet potato salad, orzo and mush­room salad, lentil salad, cel­ery herb and apple salad, kim­chi cucum­ber salad, pesto pasta, beet salad, and  (my per­sonal favourite) the mini sweet potato latkes.

8. The Chi­nese WallWe were on a des­per­ate mis­sion to find Chi­nese food in Israel as it is a favourite cui­sine of ours. While most estab­lish­ments are not open late night like in Toronto, there are a num­ber of yummy restau­rants open nor­mal hours of oper­a­tion. The Chi­nese Wall is a kosher restau­rant run by a Chi­nese fam­ily that con­verted to Judaism. It fea­tures a num­ber of dishes that are vegan friendly– just let your server know.

Above: Chi­nese tea

High­lights: Veg­etable dim sum, Tofu and rice noo­dles in brown bean sauce, and the Szechuan tofu with rice.

9. Giraffe Noo­dle Bar- Asian cui­sine with vegan options. Just let your server know and they will have sug­ges­tions. You can also order for deliv­ery if you want a low key evening.

High­lights: Veg­e­tar­ian Maki, Pad See Ew (ask for it with­out egg)

Loca­tions all over Israel.

Check out the Eng­lish menu.

10. Thai HouseA super tasty Thai restau­rant. This place is near and dear as it’s the first meal I had after my engage­ment! This is a another pop­u­lar Tel Aviv estab­lish­ment on Bograshov, so call ahead to make a reser­va­tion. The décor is bam­boo and bud­dhas and the food feels a lot more authen­tic than most Thai restau­rants out­side of Thailand.

Above: Papaya salad

High­lights: The Papaya Salad, Pad Thai with tofu (minus egg, shrimp), Browned rice noo­dles– with Tofu (veganized)

Check out the Eng­lish menu.

Above: pub­lic bench on Hertzl Street

I have to say there is a strong cur­rent of veg­an­ism sweep­ing the coun­try. I could really feel it when I was there. Just say , “Ani Tivonit (F)/ Tivoni (M)” (I’m vegan) and peo­ple seem to under­stand. I even had some great con­ver­sa­tions with peo­ple in the street about veg­an­ism. I hap­pened upon about 15 peo­ple in front of Dizen­goff cen­tre mall who were leaflet­ting about ani­mal rights. I even brought home a pin that says “basar” (meat) with a big bloody cross through it. This coun­try is really pas­sion­ate about many things and veg­an­ism is fast becom­ing one of them!

In the end, it was an incred­i­ble, unfor­get­table trip to Israel. Tel Aviv and the Brown Tel Aviv Hotel will for­ever be in my mem­ory as the place where I was pro­posed to and the place where I ate my fill of deli­cious food!

Oy Vegan!

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Israel is going Vegan!

As I gear up for another trip to the holy land, I am excited to hear about the vegan fever that has been sweep­ing the country.

 

Pic­tured above: Gary Yourof­sky and friend

Con­tro­ver­sial ani­mal activist famous for his talk, “The best speech you will ever hear” Gary Yourof­sky and his team of sup­port­ers in Israel seem to be at the heart of this move­ment. Whether or not you agree with his approach, many Israelis are mak­ing the change to veg­an­ism includ­ing food critic, Ori Shavit, who has cre­ated an Eng­lish vegan din­ing guide for Israel. Music to this lady’s ears!

Read more about Israeli vegan-mania in Dana Kessler’s arti­cle.

Pic­tured above: Ori Shavit (Photo Credit: Lenny Ben Basat)

I’m excited to hear that the pop­u­lar chain Aroma Espresso Bar has added more vegan options to their menu. I’m also excited to try vegan shawarma while in Tel Aviv.

Pic­tured above: Vegan shawarma

Look out for updates with Israeli restau­rant reviews com­ing later in Decem­ber and early in the new year!

Here’s Vegan Style once more, just because it’s Israeli and awesome!

Oy Vegan!

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Vegan Style!

Amaz­ing Gang­nam Style Par­ody from Israel. LOVE IT!

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A falafel a day keeps the doctor away…

Eat­ing Vegan in Israel was not as chal­leng­ing as I might have thought. Blog­ging while lead­ing a Birthright trip was what proved to be impossible!

Apolo­gies for the multi-week hia­tus but I was incred­i­bly busy bus­ing around Israel, rid­ing camels, sleep­ing 3 hours a night, and eat­ing my fair share of hummus.

Shirel and I on a camel in the Negev. Photo cour­tesy of Jaclyn Adler

What a trip! Eat­ing vegan in Israel is totally doable. In the morn­ings, I usu­ally ate veg­gies and toast. For lunch, I usu­ally ate falafel. If you want the best falafel ever, you have to come to Israel! The falafel is always fresh and well sea­soned. The top­pings are also fresh and flavour­ful and the pita is light and fluffy. Best of all, it’s totally vegan. Falafel is a way of life in the holy land. Peo­ple eat it all the time, so there are places that only sell falafel.

Falafel in Zichron Ya’akov

On occa­sion, for lunch, I would spring for pasta with veg­gies or pizza with­out cheese. They’ll make it for you at Big Apple Pizza in Jerusalem if you order at least 2 slices. Din­ners usu­ally con­sisted of salad and some sort of veg­e­tar­ian main. Because I was with my birthright trip we always ate kosher. So when it was kosher meat — I didn’t have to worry about dairy in the veg dish. (Kosher law pro­hibits the mix­ing of meat and dairy.)

A few nights I had cous­cous with a veg­gie stew on top. The veg­eta­bles in Israel are super fresh and flavour­ful so it was a real treat. The only thing to watch for is egg because even though Kosher Parve excludes dairy, egg doesn’t fall under the dairy category.

What is Parve you might ask?

Def­i­n­i­tion: Parve is a Hebrew term (pareve is the Yid­dish term) that describes food with­out any meat or dairy ingre­di­ents. Jew­ish dietary laws con­sid­ers pareve food to be neu­tral; Pareve food can be eaten with both meat and milk dishes. Fish, eggs, fruits and veg­eta­bles are parve. Source

The good news is, you can find a lot of tasty ice cream and desserts that are parve! One of my favourites were the water­melon popsicles.

Eat­ing Parve Ice Cream in Tzfat

Eat­ing a water­melon pop­si­cle in the old city, Jerusalem

Luck­ily, after those beau­ti­ful 10 days of birthright fun, I was able to hang out in Israel for a few more days on my own. Dur­ing that time,  I vis­ited a few of the country’s veg­gie estab­lish­ments. One notable one was Vil­lage Green Veg­e­tar­ian Restau­rant in Jerusalem on Jaffa Road.

I came here with an old friend who I vol­un­teered with in Eilat in 2007 to grab some veg food and catch up on the past 5 years of our lives.

The food was great. They had a huge selec­tion of sal­ads, both hot and cold, which you could mix and match and pay for accord­ing to the weight of your plate.

They had a fab­u­lous baked tofu salad that was delight­ful as well as home­made sei­tan that was seri­ously tasty.

I really loaded up my plate with sal­ads at Vil­lage Green. Pic­tured here is brown rice with peanut gin­ger sauce, baked tofu, sei­tan salad, cucum­bers, roasted pota­toes, pasta, lentil salad, and more!

I was also excited to find out that there is a whole plethora of veg­gie restau­rants in Israel. Espe­cially in Tel Aviv. Unfor­tu­nately, the days I had to myself in Israel fell over Shab­bat and Shavu­out, so most places were closed. But I am def­i­nitely going to explore these restau­rants and vegan cul­ture when I return.

I had my eye on Bud­dha Burg­ers and Taam Hachaim in Tel Aviv. I actu­ally went to Bud­dha Burg­ers one day and they were closed because of Shavuot.

So, all in all, Israel is vegan friendly. You just have to know how to ask about your food. I look for­ward to try­ing out more of Israel’s vegan and veg­gie restau­rants when I return. Until then, I’m going to work on per­fect­ing my own home­made falafel. Wish me luck!

Next year in Jerusalem!

Oy Vegan!
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Vegan Israel? We’ll see!!!

This evening I will be tak­ing off to lead a C.I.E. Birthright Israel Trip. I’m extremely excited to get back to Israel and expe­ri­ence the magic that awaits! Last time I was there I was veg­e­tar­ian and there was a large selec­tion of food for me to eat. So, I’m really curi­ous to see how I’ll fare as a vegan.

Over the next few weeks, I hope to blog some of my meals and let you know just how veg­gie friendly the Holy Land will turn out to be.

Here goes!!! Wish me luck!!!

Jamie

Oy vegan!

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Chefs for Peace!

Last Wednes­day evening I joined a packed room in Uni­ver­sity of Toronto’s Multi-Faith Cen­tre for a night of cook­ing and con­ver­sa­tion. Cook­ing and demon­strat­ing for us were two top chefs from Israel– one Mus­lim and one Jew­ish. Ibrahim Abu Seir is the head pas­try chef at Jerusalem’s 5 star David Citadel Hotel and Joseph Elad is the owner of Menahe Yehuda Resu­tau­rant.

The room was filled with Mus­lims, Chris­tians and Jews at every table. The pur­pose of the evening was to bring all three faiths together in a pos­i­tive way– through food. While we helped the chefs pre­pare our din­ner, we were also encour­aged to dis­cuss whether or not we thought peace could be achieved in Israel. The dis­cus­sion was very inter­est­ing and for the most part quite pos­i­tive. When one stu­dent started to bring up cer­tain anti-Israeli sen­ti­ments she had wit­nessed on U of T cam­pus, founder and dis­cus­sion facil­i­ta­tor, Kevork Aleimian, was quick to get the con­ver­sa­tion back on track. Aleimian is Armen­ian and also from Israel.

Founded in 2001, Chefs for Peace is com­prised of chefs from all over the world…

Aleimian explained Chefs for Peace is a not-for-profit with a dream of peace. Founded in 2001, it is com­prised of chefs from all over the world from dif­fer­ent reli­gious back­grounds and its goal to is to encour­age peace­ful coex­is­tence. He explained that it’s easy to focus on who did what to who and dwell in the past, but the only way to bring about peace is by work­ing together to focus on it.

The meal we were served was deli­cious. An Israeli cucum­ber tomato salad, a beau­ti­fully spiced rice and veg­etable dish and a dessert of fresh figs in coconut milk with a berry coulis on top. All veg­e­tar­ian, all kosher, and all halal.

I had a really inter­est­ing con­ver­sa­tion about the sim­i­lar­i­ties and dif­fer­ences between what makes some­thing kosher and what makes some­thing halal with a girl of Mus­lim faith at my table. I think that every­one who attended learned a lot about each other in a pos­i­tive envi­ron­ment. If only there were more pro­grams like this, the world would be a more peace­ful place.

For more infor­ma­tion visit chefsforpeace.com.

Spe­cial shout out to Emily Berg, the Wol­fond Cen­tre Hil­lel team and all the other orga­ni­za­tions that brought Chefs for Peace to Toronto for a week of amaz­ing events!

Oy vegan!

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