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Burgers But Not Fried Chicken in Haifa

Food in Israel

Visitors to the modern Jewish state no longer need to ponder the old question: "will we eat well during our trip"

The limited choice of restaurants in the early years of austerity and struggle in the land of Canaan have long since given way to the selection of hundreds of top quality restaurants ranging from American fast food mainstays such as McDonald's to finer quality restaurants that offer culinary choices from all over the world. The Baal HaBayit or owner of my apartment building also owns a wonderful Chinese Restaurant in Haifa that can be compared with any in which I have eaten. I have a deal worked out with them to get quality dining as part of our rental agreement. The cook is from Moscow and many of the servers are native Arabic speakers from our region. There is a Japanese restaurant and several mid-priced cafes with three blocks of my home in the "Mercaz" section of Haifa.

"Dependable" is the reassuring thought for those teenagers or adults who can't afford the high-priced choices at the better quality restaurants. Immediately next door to us is our local McDonald's -- there are now half a dozen or so in our community. Therefore visitors to our community from America can enjoy the same high-cholesterol junk foods and feel like they never left home. While McDonald's operates several Kosher and non-Kosher restaurants, all the meat served in the restaurants is 100% kosher beef. The difference is that the non-Kosher branches open on Shabbat and Jewish holidays, in addition to serving dairy products. A kosher McDonald's was also opened in Argentina, at the Abasto de Buenos Aires shopping mall. Argentina and Israel are the only branches in the world that barbecue their burgers on charcoal. I do not taste the difference and nobody else seems to notice as well. The menu is the same as big Mac in America without including native cuisine. Prices are higher due to local food costs. The service is great at my neighboring McDonald's even though two of the cashiers admonish me to eat healthier: "This type of food is not for people your age, sir". That hurts, but they mean well. Israelis are very outspoken especially about health issues.

Most Israelis preferred Burger Ranch even before McDonald's and Burger King entered Israel. There are also higher priced burgers available at local cafes and restaurants. My two favorites in Haifa are The Sinta Bar and Habank. Both are mid priced and great places for burgers and other delicacies.

Burger Ranch (Hebrew: בּורגראנץ׳‎) is an Israeli fast-food chain. In 2010, the Burger Ranch chain included 107 restaurants with over 1500 employees, competing primarily with McDonald's Israel. They have a branch at our central bus station and therefore I am a fairly frequent visitor. Burger King has a location in Haifa. I do dream of my beloved Wendy's, especially their Chill, and of course Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Chili and American style fried chicken are not often found in Haifa. KFC locations do exist in other parts of Israel and many Palestinians adore the cuisine as well. That brings us to my favorite experience in my five years as a newcomer to the land of Canaan.

I have been blessed to participate in many interfaith activities in Israel.
Run4Unity was held here in the Holy Land on May 13, 2012 in the natural landscape and archeology of Caesarea Maritime. There were more than 400 boys and girls between the ages of 12 to 17, from the Palestinian territories and cities of Israel. The participants were Christians, Muslims and Jews.

This event is organized by the Focolare. The Focolare Movement which is an international organization that promotes the ideals of unity and universal brotherhood. Founded in 1943 in Trento, northern Italy by Chiara Lubich as a religious movement, the Focolare Movement, though primarily Roman Catholic, now has strong links to the major Christian denominations and other religions, or in some cases, with the non-religious. It is also called the "Opera di Maria," or "Work of Mary". The Focolare Movement operates in 182 nations and has five million members. It is the largest Catholic outreach movement in the world.

Run4Unity, last held in 2008, involved more than 100,000 young people from 9 to 17 from all over the world. Participants were young people of different ethnicity, cultures, and religions, all running to give witness to their commitment to peace and unity by crossing many of the planet’s significant places.

I volunteered to be one of the security guards during the period of time prior to the beginning of the organized events. I happened to hear three of the young people communicating with each other in perfect English. They were dressed in the uniforms of the activity. Participation from English speaking countries is rare in this region. I asked them where they were from and they answered in unison and with great pride that "We are Palestinians from Ramallah." Then they proceeded to tell me that they had lived in Indiana for many years, which explained their wonderful grasp of English. We discussed in length my favorite topic, which of course is food. We all reminisced about Mexican Food, Wendy's, barbecue spare ribs, and of course burgers.

They proceeded to add this statement; "We have visited Haifa which is a primitive place". I hesitated and thought it best not to respond. The rules of these activities strongly admonish political discussions. They quickly added to my relief that "You do not have KFC in Haifa", with great glee, KFC opened a branch in Ramallah in February becoming the first American fast food chain to directly open a location in the Palestinian territories. We proceeded to eat Pizza, drink Coca Cola, and enjoy the wonderful event. Food is indeed the universal language.

Posted by eshugerman 01:01 Archived in Israel Tagged travel king israel kfc haifa burgers palestinians mcdonald's burger focolare Comments (0)

Nuts for Bagels in Haifa!

We Have Pizza Hut!

I am Earl Shugerman. I am writing this story from my home in Haifa Israel. I am a proud American immigrant to Israel of five years.

Food is the universal peace-maker. Bagel is a household name and my favorite food. Most Americans find that bagel and cream cheese is almost as common as mom and apple pie. Israelis love American cooking. Pizza Hut, McDonalds, Burger King and Domino's are an integral part of Israeli society. Israelis also enjoy humus and falafel and shwarma or roasted lamb.The Israeli diet is rich in vegetables, fruit, salads, and dairy products. The staples of the Israeli diet are hummus, falafel, and Israeli salad. Hummus and falafel are chickpea products. Hummus is a paste like form of chickpea usually eaten with pita bread. Falafel is chickpea formed into small balls, fried, and eaten in pita bread as a sandwich. Both hummus and falafel are eaten with or without vegetables and with several possible sauces. Israeli salad is a combination of tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and parsley, served with Israeli salad dressing, a combination of salt, lemon and olive oil.Israelis enjoy a barbecue at least once a month. Lamb kebab, chicken breasts, beef flanks, and shwarma are the favorite meat choices. Yes- Israelis like a cold beer, a glass of wine and even Jack Daniels.

My favorite food is still a warm bagel with cream cheese and salmon. I can still enjoy my beloved cusisine in my new home, Haifa.

Bagels have become a worldwide phenomenon. Bagels are considered a Jewish food, but its origin date back to 1638. It seems that the bagel started out as a tribute to the Polish king by a baker from Vienna in 1683 to thank the king for saving Austria from a Turkish invasion.The king liked horses and this pastry resembled the ring in German that serves the rider of a horse as a place for his feet. In the 18th century Jewish merchants in Western Europe began marketing the product that is now considered a Jewish Delicacy.In the late 19th century European Jewish immigrants brought the Bagels to New York- which is now considered the Bagel capital of the world. The first vendors of this renowned product marketed their products from push carts in the East side of the "Big Apple"

I am writing this story from The Broadway Bagel in Haifa, Israel. I consider this a great tribute to those hardworking merchants of Mott St. New York in the days of George Gershwin and The Marx Brothers.Today, Bagels today come in dozens of varieties and are adorned with different nuts, spices, and grains.

My favorite is still the original plain Bagel with smoked salmon and creamed cheese. Do not misunderstand. I love all bagels and their delicacies and their flavorful additions. You can officially call me- nuts for Bagels.

Posted by eshugerman 23:35 Tagged king hut israel pizza haifa nuts broadway burger falafel bagels macdonald's Comments (0)

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