Planet Food is a true taste of the exotic!
Follow our travellers as they take you on a culinary journey exploring food cultures in some of the world's most delicious destinations: from the world's biggest fish market in Japan to the bustling food markets beneath the Acropolis. Get behind-the-scenes info, features, food festivals and tasty insider tips.
Just over 60 years old, Israel has a surprisingly diverse and rich food tradition which has been shaped by Jewish refugees arriving from all over the world. Traditionally people think of Falafel as Israel's national dish. Immigrants coming from Germany, Poland, Russia and its surrounding countries (known as shkenazi) and Jews from Spain and the Middle East (known as Sephardi) all brought a melting pot of their own Jewish cultural traditions mixed with cuisine from the country they were fleeing from to create the rich texture of what is Israeli cuisine today.
In the West Bank and the Arab quarters of Jerusalem you can be sure to taste a wide ranging cuisine befitting of such a turbulent history of occupation. From traditional Middle Eastern concoctions of stewed lamb, rice, hummus and burghul-infused tabouleh salads, to the resplendent mezzes that make up Ottoman cooking, Palestinian eating habits really do betray a cosmopolitan outlook.
In the second half of this Planet Food special, chef and global nomad Bobby Chinn, investigates whether there is an authentic Palestinian cuisine, or not. He explores Jerusalem, Jericho, Bethlehem and the administrative centre of Ramallah on his grand mission, taking time out to make a classic Ramadan dessert called ‘Katayef’ at the prestigious American Hotel in Jerusalem, a ‘Makloubeh’ lamb stew with Chef Jozeph Asfour (who has cooked for Pope Benedict) and a traditional, Middle Eastern dish called ‘Musakhan’ for a loving Christian Arab family. He also learns about the thriving agricultural landscape, visiting a Medjhoun date farm in the chalky deserts of Jericho, a woman’s co-operative making the local cous cous called ‘maftoul’ and taking part in the olive harvest. Wherever Bobby roams he is greeted and feted by curious locals, tasting great food along the way, and above all, enjoying fantastic Arab hospitality in this little spoken about area of the Middle East.