The most popular Israeli fast food is felafel (a pita pocket filled with various pickles and fried balls of ground chickpeas), followed by shwarma (sliced turkey or lamb wrapped in pita bread). Another very popular snack food is the boureka or burekas, a pastry made of flaky filo dough stuffed with cheese, potato, or other fillings, then baked. Western-style fast food chains also operate in Israel. Popular fast food establishments include McDonald's, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Dominos, Sbarros, and Kentucky Fried Chicken. As at other McDonald's around the world, some of the offerings are customized to the local culture, offering a version of an Israeli salad.
My favorit is the Sabich. This dish is also not uniquely Israeli, but rather a traditional dish eaten by Iraqi Jews in the morning, on Shabbat. What exactly is Sabich? It is hummus, fried eggplant, steamed potatoes, (browned) hard-boiled egg, salad and Amba (a mango pickle), all tucked neatly into a pita.
Meorav yerushalmi (or any one of umpteen other transliterations), literally "Mixed Jerusalem" but usually translated as "Jerusalem mixed grill", is the official fast food of the Holy City.
Descriptions of the stuff tend to sound distinctly unappetizing, as the food consists of chopped chicken heart, liver, spleen and other mystery meat grilled together with a few bits of actual lamb and maybe an onion or two. The mixture is then spiced up (the details vary and every restaurant guards its recipe zealously) and, if you were wise enough to request it, slapped into a huge chunk of fresh laffa bread. (Pita is a poor substitute, mainly because it's not big enough!) Top it off with a little hummus, chips and salad, and you have an extremely tasty and filling snack -- nay, meal -- for peanuts. And I'm serious: you don't have to be an offal freak like me to enjoy this stuff, the chopping blends all the bits together and the spices make it taste sublime.
The best place to try meorav yerushalmi is unsurprisingly Jerusalem, more specifically Agrippas Street in the Mahane Yehuda shopping area, where competition and sheer volume keep prices low and quality high. Disregard scruffy interiors and pick a place where the locals eat (Sima is pretty dependable), and avoid, at all costs, the touristy joints in the Old City.
Tunisian Sandwich called Fricassee – is a sandwich usually made from a baguette with many surprises that make a delicious meal. Additions may include: Tuna, egg, pickled lemon, salad, fried hot green pepper etc.
Lafa – usually means a big pita bread which has been cooked in a taboon, and is filled with some shish-kebab, salads and French fries. It is a full meal in itself for quite a big person (I could finish one myself only in my teenage years). Some choose to fill their lafa with goose liver, but that is out of the specified price range and definitely out of the weight watchers points specified below…