No trip to Egypt can be completed without trying Egyptian traditional local food. Egyptian food has a long unique history as Egyptians cared about food depicting that in their paintings. Many wall paintings and carvings have been found on tombs indicating a variety of foods. Be ready in your Egypt travel to eat special delicious food. We will take you on a trip to know the different types of local food including Egyptian beverages and desserts in addition to the places where the Egyptian food is made well. We promise you that you will return to Egypt only to eating its food again and again.
Different types of food
Firstly, during your tour in the street, you need a snack; so that, you should try Simit. Simit is long and round baked bread covered with semsem, it has a soft interior and it looks like Pretzel. It is eaten sometimes with salt and it is also served in the Easter besides boiled eggs. You will find Simit in a street cart at, for instance, Nile Corniche and Azhar Street.
Grilled corn is a snack that you can enjoy it during your walking in the street. It is corn that the vendor grills on the coal in front of you. It is a wholesome snack that you will love it.
Ful & Ta’meya:
If you want to eat an energetic breakfast to start your day actively, your breakfast should be Ful. It consists of fava beans that have brown color; it can be mashed with cumin, onion, garlic, olive oil and many other things that give a spicy taste like tomato sauce, pepper, pastrami, parsley, sausage. It is commonly served with bread. To complete your breakfast, eat Ta’meya (Falafel). Ta’meya is one of the most popular foods usually eaten besides Ful. It mainly consists of crushed fava beans mixed with other ingredients. It is eaten fried with bread too, and it is usually served with tahina and salad.
Ful & Ta’meya can be found in many restaurants in Egypt starting from street carts to luxurious restaurants. It is a popular dish both in restaurants and among street vendors. You can try Ful and Ta’meya at Niema Restaurant (Nile Corniche), or Nile 49 Restaurant; it is a floating boat on the Kit-Kat side of the Nile with an awesome Nile view, you can enjoy your meal indoors, or outdoors on the roof, or in the garden.
This dish is called shakshouka. It consists of poached eggs, tomato sauce, onions, garlic and different spices such as paprika and cumin. It is a delicious combination that will make your day. Shakshouka is a quintessential meal of Egyptian cuisine.
You can try Shakshouka in many Egyptian restaurants but we suggest you Sea Salt Bakery (SSB) in Zamalek (El-Mansour Mohamed Street, Infront of Bank El Ahly). It a satisfactory restaurant whether in its location, its service or its delicious food.
Koshary is one of the most traditional Egyptian foods. It is a perfectly nutritious meal for your lunch. It consists of rice, pasta, lentils, beans and it is garnished with fried crunched onions and topped tomato sauce.
Koshary is popularly found in the streets of Egypt served from carts and restaurants. You can eat it at Abou Tarek Restaurant in downtown Cairo or Felfela (Hoda Shaarawi St). Koshary is also characterized by its cheap price.
Mahshi is considered to be a special food among Egyptians; it is special in its types, its taste, its ingredients and its time preparation. Mahshi is basically vegetables filled with rice. It has many types: grapevine leaves, bell peppers, eggplants, zucchini, cabbage leaves and tomatoes. Each type of Mahshi has a flavorful taste. The rice put in Mahshi has distinctive ingredients and a seasoned dressing that give it a scrumptious taste including herbs (parsley, cilantro, dill and tomato sauce. If you want to eat a generous meal, you can eat any kind of meat besides Mahshi, it will be great.
Al A’hd al Gadeed Restaurant is a local restaurant that makes you feel home. It is full of Islamic decorations that remind you of the old Fatimid Cairo. It serves many dishes including Mahshi.
It is something that resembles a thick green soup but actually, it is not just a soup; it is a staple of every Egyptian kitchen. It is a leafy green vegetable that consists of many healthful flavorful ingredients. It is a stew that can be served beside rice or bread; both are dainty. Molokhia is usually served with rabbit, but nowadays it is more common to eat it with any type of meat.
There are many restaurants serve Molokhia but Fasahet Somia Restaurant (Hoda Shaarawy, Bab Al Louq, Abdeen) is more recommended. It is a traditional restaurant very known in Cairo. Although it is not a big luxurious restaurant, many people go to it especially tourists because of its different delicious food and its friendly staff. Its owner Somia cooks all the meals adding new savory flavors.
Fattah means crumbs; it is a perfect meal for the lunch because it consists of several ingredients such as cooked rice, toasted bread, cooked chunks of lamb meat and tomato sauce spiced with garlic and typical seasonings. Fattah is traditionally cooked in Eid al-Adha (Sacrificing Feast).
Egypt cuisine is not only characterized by delicious food but appetizing beverages also. Egyptian beverages are many but we will talk about some of them that refresh your body and stimulate your stomach. If you want to fresh yourself, restore your energy, Qasab (Sugarcane) is the best choice. Sugarcane is planted all over the south of Egypt where temperatures and soils are perfect for it; so that, you will find it all over the year; however, it is perfect in hot days to cool your body. Sugarcane is always characterized by its cheap price.
Sobia (Coconut with Milk)
It is a traditional cool starchy sweet drink that is usually found on the table of Ramadan, it has the fantastic flavor of coconut. It can be made with or without milk. When you take a sip, you will not be able to stop.
It is a traditional tangy drink that is also known for its natural cooling effect. It seduces your taste buds and it is a wonderful thirst quencher.
There are many types of Egyptian desserts; they have the power to change your mood completely feeling that you are in a candy world. Egyptian desserts are very delectable such as Umm Ali. Umm Ali is very sweetish and tasteful. It means “Ali’s mother”, this name has a bloody legendary story; it is said that this dessert was made to celebrate the death of Shagaret Ad-dorr who was the first and the last woman to rule Egypt. She was a victim of a plot made by Umm Ali and she was beaten to death, Umm Ali made this dish to celebrate her death. Regardless of the story, you should not miss that soft dessert; it is a sort of bread pudding made of pastry blended with nuts, raisins, coconut, cream and plenty of sugar. You can eat it hot out of the oven to your mouth or cold.
To try a honeyed Umm Ali, The Khan El-Khalili Restaurant & Naguib Mahfouz Coffee Shop (El Baddistan Lane) are the best places.
Baked Sweet Potato
We can say that baked sweet potato is one of the cheapest desserts in Egypt and it is easily found in the streets in the potato carts. It is a delicious and healthy dessert melting in your mouth. It is usually baked in front of you in a wood-fired oven cut into two halves and served in a piece of paper. Nowadays, some vendors create the sweet potato to give it a different tasteful flavor; they add other flavors to the sweet it such as ice cream, caramel sauce, chocolate and nuts as toppings.
Finally, we can say that the Egyptian traditional local food is very distinctive; it attracts many nationalities all over the world. You can always find Egyptian dishes in all meals and you will not make an effort to have delicious ones in any of the Egyptian restaurants. Egypt cuisine is characterized by keeping the originality of its dishes and modernizing them at the same time. Whether you try Egyptian food from a street vendor or dining at a five-star restaurant, you will enjoy it because Egypt is the place for hearty and flavorful dishes that will please you and will remain in your memory.