What to eat in Egypt? Here are my tips for exploring delicious food in Egypt. In this article, I’ll tell you my favourite Egyptian dishes which you should try in Egypt.
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What is a traditional food in Egypt?
Food in Egypt is super delicious and there is something for every taste. Egyptian cuisine is a mixture of Mediterranean and Middle-East style kitchens. Traditional Egyptian food is also quite heavy since they use lots of carbs and oil.
Both vegetarians and meat-lovers are spoiled with delicious food in Egypt. Egyptian cuisine offers a vast number of traditional dishes, from stuffed pigeons to delicious mouth-watering desserts.
What foods should I try in Egypt?
When you visit Egypt, you probably want to taste at least some of the traditional foods in Egypt. Unfortunately, you don’t have time to try 20 different dishes, especially if you are going to stay in the country only for a week or so.
My advice is that you go to eat Egyptian restaurant, ask for the recommendations and have a good dinner with soups and desserts.
Eat street food, if you dare. If you feel insecure about eating local restaurants or street food, GAD restaurants are a soft way to get familiar with Egyptian food. GAD is a restaurant chain, that offers Egyptian fast food.
At Hurghada, I can recommend an Egyptian restaurant called El Dar Darak. It is located in the Sheraton area in Hurghada.
They have the best oriental food in Hurghada. Click here to their Facebook pages.
Here is a list of my own favourite Egyptian dishes, which I recommend you to try in Egypt. They also happen to be the most popular dishes amongst Egyptians.
Next: Koshari the national dish of Egypt
Koshari: A national dish of Egypt
My favourite Egyptian food is koshari; I love it. If I could, I would eat it every day. It’s so good. It is also very cheap food with lots of energy. Koshari portion cost in Egypt about 20 Egyptian pounds, which is roughly about 1 Euro or 1,5 USD.
It’s also suitable for vegetarians. The ingredients of Koshari are pastas (vermicelli and spaghetti), rice, lentils, fried onion and chick-peas. It’s served with a delicious tomato sauce. Some add garlic-vinegar sauce, and some make it spicier with chilli sauce.
No wonder they call Koshari a national dish of Egypt. If you come to Egypt, it’s the first tradional food in Egypt you must try. Go straight to Koshari restaurant, it’s not hard to find one since there are lots of them.
You can even buy Koshari on the streets in Cairo. It’s a very popular street food amongst Egyptians. Everyone eats it.
Here is a link to Youtube from Anthony Bourdain’s visit to Koshari Restaurant in Cairo. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hsyvi0dgJUg
What happened when I took my friends to eat koshary in Egypt?
When my friends visited me in Hurghada, I wanted them to fall in love with Koshari as I have. They wanted to try Egyptian food, but I could see they weren’t thrilled about the idea of eating Koshari. Especially, after I told all the ingredients in Koshari. I think they were also a little bit worried about getting stomach flu from a local restaurant, which is a relatively common problem among tourists in Egypt.
My advice for avoiding an upset stomach in Egypt is to wash and sanitate your hands regularly. Don’t forget to keep yourself hydrated, by drinking lots of bottled water. Bacteria in Egypt is so different, that even you do all the tricks to avoid stomach problems, you still may have them or not. My friends didn’t have any stomach problems in Egypt at all, even they ate almost everything.
So I managed to talk them over, and we went and had Koshari. No one had a bad stomach afterwards, and everyone loved it.
My mission was accomplished right after we finished eating. My friend said, “This is the best dinner I have had here in Hurghada so far.” And it was at the end of their holiday. So, it’s not just me who is deeply in love with Koshari.
After they heard how much Koshari cost, they were basically speechless. We had five portions of Koshari and sodas, the check was about 100 Egyptian pounds (le.) altogether. For five people, can you believe it?
It’s also possible to order a takeaway Koshari like I always do. You can have a Small, Medium or Large portion of Koshari. I prefer taking the large one, which costs 20 EGP.
What can you order from the restaurant in your country for 1€, 1£ or 1$? -Nothing.
The secret of Koshari is the delicious tomato sauce which you put on the top. I have a feeling that vinegar is the secret ingredient, that makes tomato sauce taste so good. Some people add extra chilli sauce and make it super spicy (be careful, chilli sauce is hot). Others add garlic-vinegar sauce (I don’t, I hate garlic.).
I guarantee that Koshari goes for everyone from children to grandparents. You may think I’m exaggerating, but you know after you have tried it.
Both of these places have good Koshari. The only bad thing with both of these restaurants is, that you need to go upstairs if you want to eat in the restaurant. If the stairs are a problem for you, take a takeaway portion. This is what I usually do.
NEXT: THE BEST EGYPTIAN SOUP
The other famous pasta dish in Egypt is oven baked pasta casserole with minced meat and bechamel sauce.
This is an Egyptian food that kids love. It has pasta and minced meat and you can eat it with ketchup, excellent right? I believe that this is the dish that kids will taste without a doubt.
The pasta used in this dish is penne.
Recipe for Bechamel macaroni
Molokhia (Molokhaya, Molokhya) is a traditional Egyptian soup, which used to be served back in ancient Egypt.
It’s a soup made from the green leaves of molokhaya plant, flavoured with garlic, coriander, salt & pepper.
My mother-in-law makes the best molokhaya soup in all Egypt. I love to eat it with rice, Egyptian flatbread (aish baladi) and chicken. It’s delicious, especially while it’s still hot. When the soup gets cold, the texture becomes little slimy.
Here is a picture of my molokhia shrimp soup. Yes, you can try molokhia with seafood as well.
Chicken & meat shawarma, meat lovers must-try food in Egypt
Shawarma is one of the most famous street foods in Egypt, among with Ful medammes and Koshari. Check pictures and more information about Shawarma from Egypt Todays’ post here.
You have probably been eating SHAWARMA earlier. It’s like a Cyros in Greek or Doner Kebab in Turkey. Small pieces of flavoured chicken or meat are piled together and cooked on a rotisserie.
In Egypt Shawarma is usually served inside a french bread, with tahini. Tahini is a paste made of crushed sesame seeds flavoured with garlic, vinegar, lemon, cumin, salt & oil. Some restaurants sell shawarma with Egyptian flatbread. You can also add some tomato, cucumber, onion or pepper inside your shawarma sandwich. Some add pickled vegetables, which are also a popular side dish in Egypt.
When I visited my first times in Egypt, I had to try shawarma; it looked so delicious. I didn’t have a clue what they called it Egypt, so I ordered Kebab. And every time I went to a restaurant and ordered Kebab; I got a piece of meat. In Egypt Kebab is a piece of meat. Now I know, when I want to have delicious meat or chicken sandwich I order Shawarma instead of the kebab.
Next: Egyptian breakfast
The Egyptian breakfast: Full medames (beans), bread and falafels
Breakfast in Egypt is so different from what I’m used to. Traditionally Egyptian breakfast consists usually; Ful medames (fava beans), Falafel (ta’aimia), Egyptian flatbread (aish shami/ aish baladi), Cheese (feta), Eggs (boiled or scrambled with basturma meat) & some Salad or Vegetables.
This is not the breakfast we are having each morning. Because it would take too long to prepare it and eat it (this kind of breakfast takes too much time in the mornings).
Here is a picture of our Egyptian breakfast.
So usually, we are preparing a traditional Egyptian breakfast, when we have time enough and are super hungry. They say, that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and Egyptians know it.
One of the most popular breakfast dishes in Egypt is the fava beans called ful medammes (foul) recipe here.
It can be prepared either traditional way (from soaking and boiling fava beans) or faster way; warming canned fava beans. You can also buy ful medames from every street corner. Egyptians are having foul at any time of the day; for breakfast, lunch, dinner or evening snack.
Traditionally foul is flavoured with cumin, onion, tomato, garlic and parsley. You can make it more tasty by adding some spices yourself afterwards. I usually add more lemon, cumin, oil, salt, black pepper and vinegar.
Egyptian breakfast is not just beans, but it can be. Usually, it is served with falafel (ta’amia), which are also made from fava beans. Falafels are delicious in Egypt. They are big and crunchy and very popular food in Egypt.
Also, falafels are sold in every corner. With foul and falafels, you need to have some Egyptian flatbread called aish shami or aish baladi, eggs &, baba ganoush. Shami is a bread made from the white flours and baladi from the darker ones. Taste is almost identically. Baba ganoush is a paste made from eggplants and it’s definitely worth tasting.
After having an Egyptian breakfast, you don’t need to eat immediately afterwards, especially if you have breakfast with lots of side dishes. Try as many of them as you possibly can.
Here were my Favourite Egyptian foods. Have you already tasted them? What is your favourite food in Egypt?
Enjoy your meal!
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