Egypt Travel Hints

Eating and Drinking in Egypt

Discover the Flavors of Egypt: A Guide to Eating and Drinking in Egypt

We believes that one of the best ways to experience a country is by eating! Whether you’re sampling street food, savouring a cheap eat or indulging in a banquet, there are endless options to choose from wherever you are in the world.

Related: Top 10 Tasty Egyptian Dishes for a Delicious Cuisine Experience

Things to try in Egypt

1. Seafood
Take the opportunity to tuck into fresh seafood, especially when in coastal regions and cities such as the Red Sea and Alexandria.

2. Ful Medames
Don’t leave Egypt without trying the classic dish of ful medames, which can be traced back to pharaonic times. Consisting of slow-cooked fava beans, served with olive oil, parsley, garlic and lemon juice – add some spice by seasoning with chilli paste and eat with bread.

3. Falafel
A favourite with vegetarians, falafel (fried chickpea balls) are available at markets and from street vendors, and are generally served as a snack.

4. Kushari
Kushari originated in the mid-19th century, during a time when Egypt was a multicultural country in the middle of an economic boom. It was invented as a vegetarian food, and it consists of fried onions, lentils, rice, macaroni and lemon sauce. It’s somehow related to italian cuisine and to an indian dish made only from rice and lentils, khichdi, but the egyptian dish has more ingredients and flavors, especially the local Egyptian sauce giving it its unique taste the dish is popular with. Some believe it was first made during the British occupation of Egypt. Over time, the dish has evolved through Egyptian soldiers, then Egyptian citizens. Kushari used to be sold on food carts in its early years, and was introduced to restaurants later.

5. Tea (also known as shai)
An important part of daily life in Egypt, tea is sipped throughout the day and with meals.

6. Pastries:
Delicious, sweet pastries are found in restaurants, markets and cafes in Egypt. Never was there a better time to live by the adage “Life is short, eat dessert first”.

7. Coffee:
Turkish or Arabic coffee can be found in Egypt, so sit back in a cafe and drink your coffee short, black and sweet like the locals do.

Frequently Asked Questions about Eating and Drinking in Egypt:

What are some popular dishes in Egyptian cuisine?

Egyptian cuisine offers a delightful array of dishes. Some popular ones include Koshari (a mix of rice, lentils, and pasta topped with tomato sauce and crispy onions), Molokhia (a green leafy vegetable stew often served with rice or bread), and Ful Medames (a hearty dish made from fava beans). Other favorites include Shawarma (grilled meat wrapped in flatbread), Ta’meya (Egyptian falafel), and Mahshi (stuffed vegetables).

Are there any vegetarian or vegan options in Egyptian cuisine?

Absolutely! Egyptian cuisine boasts a variety of vegetarian and vegan dishes. For example, you can try Fattoush (a refreshing salad made with mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, and crispy bread), Baba Ganoush (a smoky eggplant dip), and Stuffed Grape Leaves (grape leaves filled with rice and herbs). Additionally, many traditional Egyptian street foods like Ta’meya (falafel) and Koshari can be enjoyed in vegetarian or vegan variations.

What are some typical spices used in Egyptian cooking?

Egyptian cuisine incorporates a range of aromatic spices, adding depth and flavor to the dishes. Commonly used spices include cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, and cloves. These spices contribute to the unique and rich taste of Egyptian cuisine.

Are there any famous desserts in Egypt?

Yes, Egyptian desserts are a true treat! One of the most popular is Om Ali, a sweet and creamy bread pudding typically made with puff pastry, milk, nuts, and raisins. Another delightful dessert is Basbousa, a sweet semolina cake soaked in syrup and often flavored with coconut or rosewater. You can also try Mahalabiya, a fragrant milk pudding garnished with nuts and cinnamon.

Can you recommend any traditional Egyptian drinks?

Sure! One traditional Egyptian drink worth trying is Hibiscus tea, known as “Karkadeh.” It is a refreshing and vibrant red drink made from dried hibiscus flowers. Another popular beverage is “Sahlab,” a warm milk-based drink flavored with orchid root powder and topped with nuts and cinnamon. Of course, you can also enjoy traditional Arabic coffee or opt for refreshing fruit juices like mango or guava.

Are there any regional specialties in Egyptian cuisine?

Yes, Egyptian cuisine varies across different regions. For instance, in Alexandria, seafood dishes like Fesikh (fermented and salted gray mullet) are popular due to its coastal location. In Upper Egypt, you can find dishes like “Kaware’a” (stuffed intestines) and “Meshaltet” (clarified butter and honey dessert). Each region offers unique culinary delights worth exploring.

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