Veganism is the latest hottest trend in Israel right now and has been for the last three to five years, mostly in reaction to the killing of animals, but also because it is considered healthy.
An estimated five percent of Israelis are vegans and over eight percent vegetarians.
Easy availability of vegan and vegetarian food in Israel makes travelling so much easier for people looking for these options. In Israel, vegan food is also coming up as a niche tourism area with vegan culinary tours of Tel Aviv and vegan group tours of Israel. Dominos launched vegan pizzas in Israel in 2013.
In restaurants such as Douzan in the coastal city of Haifa, there were vegan options to choose from a huge menu. So was it at Bakery Roladin in Jerusalem. Follow Spotlife Asia for the latest Entertainment and Lifestyle news.
Abigail Leichman, a journalist, who has written on vegan movement in Israel, said the country has a lot of groups that are active in educating people about eating vegan and about animal welfare.
“They have seen pictures and videos about the factory farming industry revealing the cruelty involved in the production of meat, poultry, milk and eggs,” she said.
“We have such good fruits and vegetables here and a lot of traditional dishes are already vegetarian or vegan like tahini and hummus. As they are already used to eating those dishes, it is not such a big change for them to take a vegan or vegetarian way,” she added.
At “Phyllis’ Kitchen” (her home) in Tel Aviv, the ingredients had been picked with great care for that extra dash of freshness. Phyllis Glazer, an American-born food journalist, is the author of several cookbooks, including a pioneering vegetarian cookbook which was translated into Hebrew.
Phyllis explained the recipes as she cooked and talked about the vegan movement in Israel and in her city of Tel Aviv, which is regarded as the vegan capital of the world.
“Tel Aviv is considered one of the centres of the vegan world. Vegan food is everywhere. Every restaurant has a vegan option. Veganism is the latest hottest trend in Israel right now and has been for the last three to five years, mostly in reaction to the killing of animals, but also because it is considered healthy,” she said.
Phyllis said many of the mezze dishes are vegan because “that’s how they make them any way”.
“But 40 years ago veganism was very rare, and vegetarian food was considered basically for odd people. When I came to Israel 40 years ago, I brought with me the coolness of the American vegetarian kitchen and soon generations of Israelis adopted it,” she said.
At Nanuchka, one of the most famous vegan restaurants in Tel Aviv, an enduring story is how its owner Nana Shrier became a vegan and stopped serving meat and animal products at her restaurant from 2014, defying those who predicted it will not be successful.