Ordering bread at the restaurant at your Jerusalem hotel is a lot more complicated than simply asking for a simple roll. Israel is known for its wide selection of breads and bread products, which compliment the special Middle Eastern spreads like tahina and hummus. Find out more about the different breads and bread products below.
Pita is a round flat wheat bread that’s usually offered at Jerusalem hotel restaurants that serve Israeli cuisine. Pita bread dates back thousands of years, as its similar to the flatbreads used by civilizations long gone. You can smell its intoxicating aroma when it arrives fresh and hot at your table. Pita can be used as a “utensil” to scoop up side condiments such as hummus or tahina, or as a “pocket type sandwich” for the popular falafel or shawarma dish. You can easily buy fresh pitas at any one of the local markets near your Jerusalem hotel. It’s really ideal for creating a “sandwich” out of just about any Israeli salad. With its pocket shape (simply cut off the top part), it easily holds in salads without them dripping all over the place. For this reason, they’re great for taking on trips throughout the country.
Lafa bread is similar to a big pita bread, except that you don’t cut it open to form a “pocket” sandwich. Instead, you can place different salads on the lafa (including French fries) and roll it into a shape similar to a burrito. Even though it’s not the main course, a “lafa sandwich” can be quite filling by itself. Most bakeries and markets carry lafa bread if you’re looking to buy some for your meals outside restaurants. Just ask the receptionist at your Jerusalem hotel where the nearest bakery or market is located.
Challah, or traditional Jewish bread, is usually eaten on Friday night or on Saturday (on Shabbat). What makes challah different than the usual loaf of bread is it’s familiar braided shape, with sesame or poppy seeds sprinkled on top. The significance or origins of challah date back more than 3,000 years, when the Jews were wandering in the desert and received challah (manna) from the heavens. If you choose to eat your Shabbat meal at your Jerusalem hotel, they will provide the challah; otherwise, you can purchase fresh challah from bakeries near your Jerusalem hotel.