It would be a shame to miss out on all the delicious food in the world, so let's conquer the cuisine of each country! So, starting today, we are launching a new En-Eat project, "Eat Your Way Around the World! Let's eat the world! We will introduce you to restaurants in the suburbs of Tokyo that serve "famous and rare dishes from around the world"!
For the first issue, we will try "Israeli cuisine". In this first installment, we will try Israeli food. We went to an Israeli restaurant "TA-IM" in Hiroo!
What kind of country is Israel?
Israel is a country located in the Middle East. The land area is 22,000 square kilometers, which is about the size of Shikoku in Japan. The population is approximately 7.98 million, and there are several religions mixed in. Incidentally, it is also a large exporter of diamonds (source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs).
Now that you have a basic knowledge of the country, let's go to the store.
Arrival at TA-IM
TA-IM is about a 10-minute walk from Ebisu Station. It is tucked away on a street corner in Hiroo, and has a rather cute appearance. The name of the restaurant, "TA-IM" means "delicious" in Hebrew.
I arrived at the restaurant around 12:00 p.m., and the restaurant, which can accommodate 10 to 15 people at the counter and tables, was almost full! The customers were either foreigners or Japanese who spoke fluent English. They all speak English, but that's OK. The owner, a bright and friendly Israeli (I assume), speaks fluent Japanese.
The walls of the restaurant are covered with Hebrew letters. I can't read them at all. But if you look closely... Oh? There are some celebrity autographs...!
■ Ordering Israeli cuisine
From several lunch menus, we selected the "Taim Plate," a lunch plate filled with Israeli fare. They offer refills of pita bread.
Trying Israeli food
Not long after ordering, the yellow soup arrived.
I took a sip. It was sweet and salty. It has a richness like "curry with coconut". The soup is packed with pumpkin, potatoes, onions, and beans. It is perfect for warming up the stomach before the main course. It is probably pumpkin soup, but it tastes completely different from the "pumpkin potage" that Japanese people are familiar with. It is moderately spicy and very tasty.
Then came the main lunch plate! Centered around the salad is a carbohydrate group of bread, croquettes, and potatoes, surrounded by a group of paste-like sauces: hummus, baba ghanoush, and mabuch.
The salads are cabbage, carrots, and other vegetables to which sesame seeds have been added. The seasoning was a sour coleslaw style. It was refreshing, so it might be good to take a break from eating it from time to time.
The french fries are made from organic potatoes. The outside is crispy and the inside is melt-in-your-mouth and chewy!
The chickpea croquettes, called falafel, are firmer and chewier than Japanese croquettes. The chunky batter is spicy. The chickpea paste inside the falafel has a delicate, flaky texture.
Hummus is a paste made from chickpeas. It has the texture of mashed potatoes, but is softer and melts on the tongue. The richness of the beans is enhanced when mixed with a generous drizzle of olive oil.
Baba Ghanoush is a steamed eggplant paste. It is thick and has a sour taste like pickles. It is almost confusing because it is white and similar to hummus, but this one contains shredded eggplant.
The "mabbuch" is a red sauce made with grilled bell peppers, tomatoes, and spice paste. At first glance, it looks like an ordinary tomato sauce, but be warned that it contains chili spice. The author is a big fan of this spiciness.
These ingredients are served with fluffy pita bread. There are many ways to eat it, such as placing each of the ingredients on the bread, or mixing the ingredients together and putting them inside the bread. You can arrange them any way you like.
Hot sauce, anyone?"
The kind owner asks each customer, "Do you want hot sauce? If you are a spicy person, you should definitely try it. If you like spicy food, you should definitely try it. Of course, I had some, too!
This hot sauce gives it an extra kick of flavor that keeps my chopsticks going! So this is the taste of Israel! If you are not a fan of spicy food, you can add a little more as you see how it goes.
■Can't you buy it in Japan? Dessert
The lunch plate comes with a cute, colonized chocolate petit dessert.
Called "Turkish Delight," this chocolate is made by kneading finely crushed pistachios into a jelly and coating it with chocolate. According to the owner, this is a sweet that is hard to find in Japan!
The jelly is chewy and the pistachios are crunchy. The jelly is chewy and the pistachios are crunchy, and the sweet milk chocolate goes well with the jelly, which gently neutralized the spicy taste in my mouth.
In summary, Israeli cuisine is full of beans and vegetables!
Israeli cuisine seems to be rich in carbohydrates, beans, and vegetables. The lunch plate I had this time did not have any meat-based dishes, but the protein can be obtained from beans, so it is very healthy. It looks like this restaurant will be popular with vegetarians and women alike!
Lamb and chicken dishes are also available on the menu, so if vegetables alone are not enough for you, you should definitely give it a try.