Countries with the Most Similar Food to Israel

map of countries with similar food to israel, country food similarity index

The Country Food Similarity Index is a statistically-based attempt to quantify how similar the food in one country is relative to another. By comparing the weight of raw food ingredients used in each country, a score is assigned that reflects the degree of similarity between the respective countries. The methodology is exactly the same for each country studied. 

5 Countries with the Most Similar Food Ingredients to Israel

Israel is a country known for its rich history and diverse population. Its cuisine reflects its multicultural heritage. Drawing influence from Jewish, Arab, Mediterranean, and Northern European traditions, Israeli food offers a variety of flavorful dishes. Four of the five countries with the most similar food to Israel border the Mediterranean Sea.

  1. Lebanon is Israel’s neighbor to the north. Both nations share a love for fresh vegetables, grilled meats, and an array of savory mezze dishes. Hummus, falafel, and tabbouleh are just a few examples of dishes enjoyed on both sides of the border. Moreover, pita bread, a staple in Israeli cuisine, finds its roots in Lebanese flatbreads.
  2. Turkey, located on the border between Europe and Asia, also has similar food to Israel. The shared Mediterranean climate has led to the prevalence of similar ingredients, such as olive oil, fresh herbs, and grilled meats. Shawarma, known as a ‘doner’ in Turkey, is a popular street food in both countries. Additionally, baklava is a common dessert enjoyed by these nations.
  3. France and Israel both have Mediterranean and Northern European influences in their cuisines. Both butter and olive oil are common ingredients in both countries. They also tend to incorporate many cheeses into their dishes. Furthermore, the French influence in Israeli cuisine is evident in the popularity of croissants, baguettes, and bourekas. Both countries eat a lot of chicken and beef, but France eats far more pork.
  4. Jordan, Israel’s neighbor to the east, boasts a cuisine that closely mirrors Israeli food. Traditional Jordanian dishes like Mansaf, a lamb dish served with rice and yogurt, share similarities with Israeli lamb-based dishes like Kebabs and Moussaka. Jordanian flatbreads and dips like Jameed are akin to the Israeli pita and hummus combination. They also use aromatic spices like sumac and za’atar.
  5. Malta is a small island nation in the Mediterranean Sea, close to Sicily. However, it has some Arab influence. Both countries feature dishes that showcase seafood and various grains. Malta’s rabbit stew, known as “Fenek,” draws parallels to Israeli slow-cooked dishes, like “Hamin” or “Cholent,” which are traditionally prepared for the Sabbath. The use of olive oil and fresh herbs is a common in these countries as well.

Related: The 10 Most Similar Countries to Israel

5 Countries with the Least Similar Food Ingredients to Israel

Four of the five countries with the least similar food to Israel are located in Africa. Furthermore, with the exception of Micronesia, these countries are all landlocked as well. Another difference is that Israel is far more developed than these five countries.

  1. Central African Republic is a mostly Christian country in the middle of Africa. Cassava and yam are two of the most commonly eaten ingredients in the country. Furthermore, taro and bananas make up a much greater share of the diet in Central African Republic than in Israel.
  2. Micronesia is a group of small islands in the Pacific Ocean. The country’s isolation has limited its exposure to foreign influences. Coconuts are a huge part of their cuisine. In addition, rice and cassava are the two most commonly eaten starches in Micronesia.
  3. South Sudan is another African country on this list. It is located to the east of Central African Republic. Cassava is the country’s staple food, however its people eat their share of sorghum as well. Porridge is one of the most popular dishes in the country.
  4. Burundi is located in the Great Lakes region of Africa. Its diet is in large part based on cassava, sweet potatoes, plantains, and bananas. Furthermore, freshwater fish is the country’s biggest source of meat, in contrast to Israel.
  5. Chad is a landlocked country to the north of Central African Republic. Sorghum and millet are the two most commonly consumed grains in Chad. These crops are well adapted to the Sahel’s harsh climate. However, since Chad is mostly Muslim, it consumes very little pork, like Israel.

Related: The 10 Least Similar Countries to Israel

Full Food Similarity Ranking of Countries and Territories

Israel’s Most Common Food Ingredients

Protein: Chicken, Beef
Fruit: Banana, Watermelon
Vegetable: Tomato, Avocado
Starch: Wheat, Potato

Primarily based on 2020 data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N.

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