Palestinian cuisine is as varied as the land, which ranges from the lush green valleys of the north to the desert dunes of the south. As 80 percent of Gaza's population are refugees displaced in 1948, within Gaza one finds food traditions from every part of Palestine. A lot of the foods, especially those found in restaurants (hummus, ful, mutabbal, mejaddra) are common throughout the Levant. Nonetheless, a specifically Gazan cuisine does persist, distinct from other Palestinian or Levantine cuisines in its generous use of hot peppers, cumin, and dill, and sour fruits like pomegranite, tamarind and plums.
It relies heavily on fish and on poor-man's ingredients like mustard greens and garbanzos. Many of the most classic dishes are stews cooked slowly in clay pots, unique in the region. Because of Gaza's isolation, many of these recipes are completely unknown outside of the Strip.
Fish Old photos show the fish market of Gaza overflowing with fresh fish: Sultan Ibrahim , or red mullet; arous , similar to sea bream; samak Moussa , a large flounder; tuna, sea bass, sardines, turbot, and all manner of squids, shrimps, and crabs. The current fish market is a sad shadow of what it once was. In fact the manager, of the fish market estimates that the total haul of the 60 boats that set out from the Gaza city port each night barely adds up to what any one boat used to bring in before the waters were restricted.
According to the 1994 Oslo accords, Palestinians are free to fish up to 12 kilometers off the coast of Gaza, but this limit has gradually decreased to the de facto 3 kilometers imposed by the Israeli gunboats that are always present on the horizon. Fishermen know that the migratory routes for fish are farther out, in deeper water, but any boat straying past the 3km limit is promptly fired upon. This limits fishing to the shallow coastal waters, where spawning grounds are being dangerously overfished. Hence the fish that do arrive at market are ever smaller, ever fewer, and ever more costly.