There’s a certain smell associated with Israel. Walking down the street, scents of oily and spicy meat permeate from restaurant windows, evoking memories of the schwarmas, shnitzels and kebabs typical of Israeli beach barbeques and kibbutz cheder ochels (dining rooms). After gorging on these greasy treats during a stay in Israel, there comes a certain point where I crave something that's good to my body while satisfying my taste buds. Thanks to Arie's commitment to vegan food, in Buddha Burger I find exactly what I'm looking for. Buddha Burger provides a healthier, more animal conscious alternative to common Israeli street food. Their vegan shwarma will have you questioning why you even prefer the “real thing” in the first place.
Arie, the founder of Buddha Burger, moved to Tel Aviv from Austria at the young age of 23 and found it difficult to maintain his vegetarian lifestyle based on sprouts and legumes. After a few years in the big city, Arie met young Israelis who were interested in becoming vegan but didn’t know how to begin the dietary switch in a healthy way. Arie opened the original Buddha Burger in 2006, making every burger patty by hand the evening before. His commitment to quality vegan ingredients and vegan education is clear from the moment you step into the restaurant and enjoy the healthy fare. The Yehuda Halevi branch even offers basic vegan cooking classes for those eager to learn!
With the motto “live and let live”, Buddha Burger is the best vegan option around, offering tofu, seitan, and other vegetarian staples that otherwise go unrecognized in this country. And don't fret - you won’t leave hungry; unlike the disappointment of only being able to order a salad in a meat restaurant, at Buddha Burger your choices are plentiful. The Buddha Classic- a burger made of lentil sprouts, mushrooms, celery, walnuts, onion, wholegrain sesame seeds, tahina and basil was so substantial and mouthwatering, it left me feeling full for hours afterward.
n Buddha Burger’s first two years of business, the establishment has already garnered a reputation of never sacrificing taste for healthy, vegan ingredients. Between the burgers, burritos, salads, stir-frys, and shakes, even the most avid meat eaters among us can be impressed by Buddha Burger’s creativity in presenting a wide array of satisfying, flavorful and substantial vegan meals. I highly recommend: any of the burgers, the seaweed salad, and the halva shake, which combined halva’s power and the subtleness of banana into a perfect creamy sweetness. If you’re in the mood for something refreshingly sweet, Buddha Burger carries a new frozen dessert option in a variety of flavors called "Gelatissimo." Gelatissimo is a dairy free, gluten free, soy free delight that will leave you feeling refreshed and delighted.
Today’s growing movement toward conscientious consumption appears to be Buddha Burger’s hidden message behind its delicious fare. With a menu that adorns itself with quotes from Nelson Mandela and Gandhi, Buddha Burger reminds us that the food we put in our bodies means much more than just nutrition and satisfaction. If we truly wish to “be the change we wish to see in the world”, we must pay attention to where our food comes from and the implications of its consumption. For the sake of the world we live in, as well as our health and happiness, a little tofu now and then can make all the difference.
~Contributing writer Zoe Jicks