Your Guide to Gluten-Free Israel

October 15, 2015
israel, israel dining
Your Guide to Gluten-Free Israel
While I do not have Celiac Disease, eating gluten does cause me a lot of pain. So during my first week in Israel, I’ve started to learn how to avoid it. Here are four things to know about eating gluten-free in Israel:

Your Guide to Gluten-Free Israel

Some of the best things will have gluten

The first thing to know is that a lot of the things you may want to try do have gluten! For example, these delicious pastries called burrekas that come filled with mashed potatoes, cheese, or pizza filling. They are incredible and I may or may not have eaten a few and paid the price later.

Obviously if you have Celiac Disease, you really should not do this, but just know that there will be temptations. You cannot (or should not) succumb to each one, so just choose carefully. For me, having one pastry wouldn’t hurt too badly, but eating several and then eating falafel in pita would be a really terrible idea.

I suggest researching Israeli dishes in advance and looking for things that don’t include flour. Keep a list with you so that you know what to look for on restaurant and cafe menus. There are several things on this list that don’t appear to have gluten that I plan on trying. Make sure you ask when you order!

Most Israelis do know what gluten is

When I went into my first bakery, I asked if they had anything gluten-free. The Hebrew word for gluten is gluten, so you could also ask “L’lo gluten?” and will probably get pointed in the right direction. The man at the bakery pointed me to a couple of different options.

If you try to focus on eating things like kebabs, fresh fruits and veggies, hummus, rice, and other things that naturally contain no types of flour, you’ll have an easier time staying gluten-free.

While this won’t be the case in every bakery, you’ll most likely get sent towards foods without any flour at all–instead of gluten-free flour. I was shown some kind of peanut butter almond clusters and something that resembled granola with dry fruit.

Bigger Israeli grocery stores may have gluten-free sections

I am living in a dormitory at my university, and there is a small grocery store on campus. The gluten-free options there are extremely limited. Yet, there is another grocery store close by, which sells a few types of gluten-free pasta. But, then, my Israeli friend took me to a huge grocery store where I found an entire section of gluten-free items.

There were baking mixes, pastas, cereals, flours, crackers, cookies, and other snacks, all of which were gluten-free. I found the prices to be comparable to what I pay in the States for the same things. However, don’t be surprised if you can’t find gluten-free bread. I haven’t seen that or wraps anywhere so far.

Naturally gluten-free things are cheaper in Israel than the US

I haven’t bought a ton of specialized products because honestly, it’s so inexpensive to eat fresh fruits and vegetables. My class schedule is very busy, so I generally eat a piece of fruit for breakfast or a snack between classes, a very light lunch, and for dinner, I’ll end up cooking eggs or chicken, rice or pasta, and have raw veggies with hummus. I’ve been here a whole week and I still haven’t eaten a meal in a restaurant!

I did go to a Jewish community center with my Israeli friend, and they served us breakfast. It consisted of coffee, fruits, different types of salads, and even several kinds of cheese. There were some crackers and sesame sticks out, but they were easy to avoid, and most things had no gluten. If you try to focus on eating things like kebabs, fresh fruits and veggies, hummus, rice, and other things that naturally contain no types of flour, you’ll have an easier time staying gluten-free.

What are your tips for experiencing gluten-free Israel?

Your Guide to Gluten-Free Israel

Your Guide to Gluten-Free Israel

Related Reading

Have you traveled to Israel? What were your impressions? We’d love to know if there’s any important information you recommend adding to this list. Email us at editor@pinkpangea.com for information about sharing your experience and advice with the Pink Pangea community.

Your Guide to Gluten-Free Israel top photo credit: unsplash.com

About Amanda

AmandaAmanda is a 30-something who just graduated with a BS in Justice Studies, as well as a certificate in the Arabic Language & Culture. She loves foreign languages, and is studying at the Rothberg International School before (hopefully!) heading off to grad school next fall. She grew up in a tiny town in Upper Michigan, and spent a large chunk of life living in coastal South Carolina, and has also lived in Boston and Cincinnati. Her favorite place to live so far has been New England, and she is a die hard New England Patriots fan. She has two dachshunds and writes a travel blog at zesheli.wordpress.com.

2 thoughts on “Your Guide to Gluten-Free Israel

  1. Avatar
    Ayala
    May 19, 2019
    Reply

    The site has gluten free maps, also for Israel. (has also English site) Enjoy!

  2. Avatar
    Bracha
    October 15, 2015
    Reply

    The Ben Ami Cafe on Emek Refaim St. in Jerusalem understands gluten free needs and has many options to offer.

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