What to eat and drink in Egypt – Lonely Planet

Famous for its rich and varied ingredients, Egyptian cuisine stands out in the Middle East, and history and geography have played a role in its development. Few cuisines showcase the fusion of Africa and the Middle East better.

Meals in Egypt generally focus on stews and vegetables, but Egyptians will happily queue at the best street food stalls that serve curse (mixture of noodles, rice, black lentils, fried onions and tomato sauce) and Cooperation (Egyptian falafel made from beans). Beans are served stewed for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

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Egyptians love skewers of lamb, grilled chicken, pigeon and kofta (spicy minced meat patties grilled on a skewer), while fish comes from the Mediterranean, Red Sea, Lake Nasser and Nile . Other specialties include love-it-or-hate-it molokiyya (bitter and garlicky soup made from juicy marshmallow leaves), bathroom (pigeon) and Mahshi (stuffed vegetables).

Egyptians are very foodies and no meal is complete without dessert. mahallabiye (milk cream with pine nuts and almonds) and day by day (rice pudding) are the most popular. Here’s what to eat and drink in Egypt.

People in Egypt passing a tray with several dishes, including fuul medames
Fuul medames is a quintessential breakfast dish in Egypt © Boaz Rottem / Alamy

Eat fuul medames, Egypt’s national dish

Travelers might think no visit to Egypt is complete without visiting the Pyramids of Giza, but most Egyptians would say no visit is complete without enjoying a plate of complete ladiesEgyptian national dish. Complete Remedies is simple, nutritious and filling. The beans are slowly simmered with olive oil, cumin and a host of other spices and ingredients. Parsley, hot pepper, lemon juice and garlic are added at the discretion of the cook.

Whether in a sandwich or in a ball with a piece of bread, complete ladies is often eaten for breakfast or dinner. People have their own favorite additions to the dish – some add tahini, others hard-boiled eggs. ways of eating stroll are endless.

Where to try it: One of the best culinary experiences in Cairo is to join the locals in one of the famous stroll places, Mahrous.

Fuel up with crispy ta’amiyya sandwiches

Taamiyya is a fried pancake of ground broad beans, parsley, coriander leaves and spices. Elsewhere in the Middle East — and around the world — falafel is made from chickpeas rather than beans, and without all the greens. The main difference between the two versions is that the Egyptian Cooperation is softer. A typical sandwich will include a crispy patty surrounded by mixed salad and tahini.

Where to try it: Try Cooperation at Tabali Bistro in West Cairo. The atmosphere is warm, the service is excellent and the menu includes a wide variety of traditional dishes if you are still hungry.

Taste delicious Egyptian street food

Kebda iskandarani sandwiches are great quick meals when you’re running around any Egyptian city, because you’re never far from a kebda Cart. Combining finely chopped beef liver with cumin, chili, cardamom, garlic, green peppers and a squeeze of lemon, this chunky bun is cheap and filling.

Another popular street food is cursea brilliant vegetarian dish. Kushar carts can be seen on crowded Egyptian streets, and you can find simple curse restaurants almost everywhere – these are popular fast food options.

Where to try it: For a seated meal of kebda instead of grabbing a bite, try Yokal, which offers street food-style sandwiches in a friendly atmosphere. Abu Tarek is a curse institution in Egypt.

A plate of fiteer, a puff pastry popular in Egypt, on a table surrounded by bowls of honey, cheese and other ingredients
Fiteer can be ordered with many sweet or savory fillings © Dina Saeed / Alamy

Devour fiteer filled with a variety of ingredients

For the Egyptians, the word fitter, a fluffy puff pastry made from paper-thin dough, recalls the excitement of holidays and family feasts. Traditionally prepared in country house ovens, fitter naturally leads to group gatherings when each person cuts off a piece and dips it in salty feta cheese or molasses.

Served with various toppings, fitter can be prepared savory or sweet, but cheese, sausage, ground beef, pastrami, and olives are common savory ingredients. On a candy fitteryou can order jam, honey, custard, raisins or nuts, and powdered sugar sprinkled on top.

Where to try it: In Cairo, Samiha is one of the best fitterwhich is generously filled with fresh ingredients.

Treat yourself to kebab and kefta

Egypt has two extremely popular styles of grilled meat. Kebab is flame-grilled chunks of lamb and kofta is well-seasoned ground lamb or beef mixed with parsley, onion and garlic that is shaped onto a skewer and grilled. Both are usually eaten with tahini, mixed salad, pickles, and bread.

Where to try it: For an elevated experience, head to El Kebabgy at Sofitel Cairo, which overlooks the Nile.

Try a special hamam mahshi dish

Egyptians have been eating pigeon, a popular delicacy, since 3000 BCE, and you can still order it today. mahshi hammam is a pigeon stuffed with rice and onions and spiced with nutmeg, cumin and coriander. It is then pan-fried and served.

Where to try it: A gastronomic destination par excellence, Al Khal offers mahshi hammam among its many traditional dishes.

Make up your own mind about molokiyya

A commonly served Egyptian vegetable is molokiyya, a leafy green from the jute plant, which was known to be part of the diet of the pharaohs. It has a sticky texture similar to okra and the Egyptians prepare it as a soup with cilantro and garlic. Usually served as a side dish or in a sauce with rabbit or chicken, or accompanied by rice, it inspires an almost religious devotion among Egyptians.

Where to try it: Visit the Teatro Eskendria in Alexandria to combine art, culture and traditional cuisine. Their delicious molokiyya has the perfect balance of cilantro and garlic.

Feast on seafood from the coasts and the Nile

Egypt is blessed with many miles of coastline along the Mediterranean and the Red Sea, as well as the Nile and Lake Nasser. Bluefish, mullet, and sea bass are common options at seafood restaurants, in addition to shrimp, squid, and crab.

Egyptians enjoy eating seafood prepared in a variety of cooking styles. Fried, grilled, or tossed with tomato sauce, onions, and peppers in a pan are all common methods, but the secret is always in the spices. No meal is complete without a mixed green salad, tahini and rice.

Where to try it: Al Fanar is an excellent restaurant in Ismailia, with a huge selection of fresh seafood and a view of the Suez Canal.

Discover Cairo’s cafe culture

Coffeeshops are a staple in Cairo, and Egyptians spend long hours of their day chatting, playing backgammon, and smoking waterpipes while enjoying tea and coffee.

Other local drinks are also healthy and delicious. Kakade is an infusion of hibiscus flowers with a beautiful ruby ​​color that can be served cold or hot. Kakade is known to lower high blood pressure. Sahleb is a milk-based drink topped with chopped nuts and raisins that makes the perfect dessert alternative. Sahleb has several healing qualities and is said to help relieve heartburn and indigestion.

Where to try it: Relax at Naguib Mahfouz Cafe and sip those drinks while enjoying the bustling atmosphere of Islamic Cairo and its thriving bazaar.

A hand holding a scoop of ice cream on a plate of oum ali, a popular dessert in Egypt
Oum ali is a beloved Egyptian dessert © ODiamond7 / Shutterstock

End your day the Egyptian way with oum ali

The perfect Egyptian dessert is the irresistible um ali, which means “Ali’s mother”. The dish is said to be named after a wife of the Sultan of Egypt, who asked her cooks to create the most delicious dessert. Oum Ali is made of layers of puff pastry soaked in milk then mixed with nuts, raisins, coconut flakes and sugar before being baked. It is nothing less than divine.

Where to try it: Enjoy um ali in the serene rural setting of Kom el Dikka Agri Lodge in Al Fayoum.

Vegetarians and Vegans

Egypt is a paradise for vegetarians. Many standard dishes found across the country are vegetarian by default, such as stroll, Cooperationomelets and vegetables taken (stews) with okra and eggplant. Be aware that meat-based broth is often used to make otherwise vegetarian taken and soups and restaurant staff might not even consider this broth as meat, so they will reassure you that the dish is vegetarian.

Other delicious vegetarian options include bessara, a dip made from cooked and mashed fava beans, seasoned with green onions, garlic and fresh herbs, cumin and salt. It can be served hot or cold and eaten with bread.

Bessara was once served as a main course for dinner, but has found its way into the appetizer section of several restaurants, and Zooba is a great place to try it.

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