Food trucks have been a global phenomenon for decades. The model of providing readily accessible, inexpensive and delicious food to the masses-offering choices as diverse as international street food to delectable chef-inspired gourmet concepts- served from an attractive, nostalgic, and mobile platform. Food trucks have proven themselves everywhere they are located to be an outstanding success. Everywhere, that is, other than Israel. For years, Israel’s anti-‘hawker’ laws and health regulations have prevented this simple and colorful culinary marvel from being enjoyed by locals and tourists alike.
Now, it seems, all that is about to change! Recently, the business development department of the Jerusalem municipality teamed up with the creative minds of the Jerusalem Innovation Team (JLM i-team). Together they are aiming to bring this popular concept to Israel’s capital city this summer! Equipped with the understanding that there are many industrial and business areas of the city which are underserved by restaurants, the city has decided, for the first time, to allow food trucks access to the vibrant streets of the capital. This initiative will provide an innovative solution to a problem-and, in the process, promote future neighborhood development. It also will provide a great platform for up and coming local chefs and restaurateurs to reach new clientele.
In a recent interview with the Israeli online innovation magazine Israel 21c, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said, “The Jerusalem culinary scene is renowned worldwide, appealing to visitors and residents alike…We want to bring restaurants to residents, workplaces, and neighborhoods in order to connect Jerusalemites with their local businesses.”
Such an inviting approach by the veteran mayor is surely a welcome development. It represents a significant change from the norm.
While Israel has always been venerated for its wonderful local street food (shwarma, falafel, and sabich to name but a few), people buy their food from a stand-alone stall or in one of the many well-known urban markets. Now, visitors to Jerusalem and residents alike will undoubtedly find a wider offering of different types of food, made and sold in unconventional locations. These hopefully will include spots adjacent to some of the city’s most visited tourist venues and nightlife zones. What is sure to become Jerusalem’s next new and exciting culinary trend will spread quickly to other cities around the country. As for any culinary-minded visitor who is accustomed to enjoying the excellent tastes and smells of a food truck at home (especially in the United States where food trucks have become universally hip and trendy), these are truly good times!
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