Workers’ Restaurants Recipes
Workers’ restaurants served as a home away from home for immigrant workers, so naturally they changed with waves of immigration to Israel. Initially, Jewish workers came from Eastern Europe intending to build a home in Israel with their own hands.. Accordingly, the first incarnations of workers’ restaurants served food mostly based on Eastern European cuisine. Later, new immigrants arrived from Iraq, North Africa, and from other European countries such as the Balkan countries and Romania. These workers longed-for the food that reminded them of their homes, and as a result, new restaurants catering to these cuisines opened over time. You can read more about this evolution in Nir Avieli’s article in the Asif Journal.
In these collection of recipes that accompanies the current exhibition now on display at Asif, “A Home Away from Home Away from Home,” we selected dishes that represent the range of immigrant cuisines served in these workers’ restaurants over time. The lung stew of the Sharabi restaurant in Rehovot is a tribute to the Yemenite Jews; Ingriye, a sweet and sour meatball dish based on eggplant and tomatoes, is inspired by dishes served in Iraqi restaurants; and The Filipino Halo-Halo dessert raises the question, are the workers’ restaurants of 2023 simply the ethnic restaurants foodies love discovering today?