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Top Must-Try Food in Egypt

Top Must-Try Food in Egypt

Food incorporates an essential part of Egyptian culture, and your trip would remain incomplete until you taste the essence of some of the flavorful Egyptian cuisine. So, what to eat in Egypt? There are many traditional foods in Egypt worth to try. During my three-week solo trip to Egypt, I’ve been attempting different Egyptian dishes, and mainly vegetarian food was my favorite, along with delicious Egyptian desserts. The listed top must-try food in Egypt is to retain Egyptian culture and not miss out on the local essence during your first visit.

I tasted Egyptian food for the first time in UAE during my four-day city tour in Abu Dhabi. I had tasty Chicken Fatira with Torshi and Kunafa from Sweet Palace, an Egyptian dessert shop. Authentic recipes and famous dishes of Egypt has a divine royal collection of mouth-melting cuisine that seems irresistible and mouth-watering. Discovering these delicacies is an exciting part of my journey, and here are my favorite recommendations for a visit to Egypt.

Furthermore, to know more about authentic Egyptian cooking and dishes it is worth reading My Egyptian Grandmother’s Kitchen: Traditional Dishes Sweet and Savory by Magda Mehdawy.

My Egyptian Grandmother's Kitchen: Traditional Dishes Sweet and Savory

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Top Egyptian Food To Try

A vegetarian diet is possible in Egypt and will cost you little compared to some famous meat-based traditional Egyptian dishes. The soil along the Great Nile River is very fertile and suitable for producing crops. You’ll find plenty of fresh fruits and vegetable stalls. Apart from the top Egyptian food, it is best to consume fresh fruits or juices and salads during your trip to Egypt.

Fruits ready to sell in Cairo
Roadside fruits to sell in Cairo

Egyptian Bread

It is common in Egypt to consume bread with mostly all dishes. You’ll find many shops on the roadside of cities selling fresh loaves of bread in the morning. There are many Egyptian bread varieties; some popular are Eish baladi, Eish fino, and Feteer meshaltet. Eish baladi or Arabic bread is the popular one serving in the restaurants, also known as Pita bread.

Street vendor selling bread in Alexandria Egypt
Street vendor selling bread in Alexandria, Egypt

It is common to serve many types of bread, cookies, and desserts from the hotels to the cruise. I loved to have the freshly baked Pita bread with hummus, fried eggplant, Kebab, or fish fry.

Egyptian bread Eish fino served with Tomato soup - Cairo City View Hotel
Eish fino served with Tomato soup – Cairo City View Hotel

Hummus

Hummus is one of the top popular Middle Eastern cuisines and served with almost all Egyptian food as a starter dish. It made of mashed chickpeas, cumin, Tahini, garlic, and lemon juice.

Egyptian fresh Pita bread with Hummus
Pita bread with Hummus

Kushari

Kushari or Koshary is a famous local Egyptian delicacy that is mouth-watering and full of aroma. There is a mixture of rice, small macaroni, spaghetti, vermicelli, hummus, black lentils and fried onions, and the topping of garlic, vinegar chili sauce, and thick tomato sauce. A wonderful blend of all these elements gives a strong flavor, which I loved to the core. I had this traditional Egyptian dish from Koshary El Tahrir restaurant in Cairo.

Koshary from Koshary El Tahrir
Famous Egyptian cuisine Koshary

Ta’ameya (Egyptian Falafel)

Egyptian Falafel was my top favorite food in Egypt, which I loved to eat a lot. It is a perfect combination to have with Ful. Ta’ameya is a preparation made from crushed fava beans with other popular ingredients that get ultimately fried. If you are looking for some tempting treat, this is a must-try option.

Egyptian Falafel (Ta'ameya) - AMC Royal Hotel & Spa
Egyptian Falafel for breakfast – AMC Royal Hotel & Spa

You cannot miss the authentic cooking patterns of Egyptians that add a distinct touch to their foods. Mostly served with Egyptian bread or Tahina, it is great for vegetarians too.

Tahina or Tahini is a traditional starter prepared with toasted ground sesame, garlic, and lemon juice mainly served with the meal’s main course.

Shorbat Adas (Lentil Soup)

Thick and aromatic Egyptian Lentil Soup or Shorbat Adas was very filling during a camping tour in Bahariya Oasis. I loved to taste this soup with Arabic bread. It is like Dal, South Asian cuisine we take with rice, but the taste is different.

Baharia Oasis tour - Bedouin lunch
Egyptian Lentil Soup served for Bedouin lunch

Ful Medame

Ful Medame is amongst the top recipe that comprises lava beans cooked in lemon juice and oil. The mixing of onion and garlic is optional. There are multiple variations of this food item as people cook it with spicy oil, butter, olive oil, pepper, tomato sauce, sausage, parsley, boiled eggs, or pastrami. The origin of this delicacy goes back to the times of ancient Egypt.

Egyptian food Ful Medames with Pita bread
Ful Medames served with Pita bread and Torshi [By Zachbe at en.Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link]

Besarah

Besarah is a creamy and green mash cooked finely with parsley, leek, dill, green pepper, ground fava beans, and fried onions. The earthy and flavors of this dish would persuade you to try more of it. It’s a perfect delicacy powered by taste and aroma simultaneously.

Kebab & Kofta

All meat-lovers would love this food as the melting taste of Kebab combined with a piece of grilled meat takes over your taste buds. Kofta, or the minced meat of lamb, is grilled and served with Egyptian bread, Tahini or salads. They serve a peculiar style of bread that adds a wonderful blending to the dish.

During the Saqqara and Memphis half-day tour, we stopped at a local restaurant in Giza for lunch. They served delicious grilled lamb kebabs with torshi (pickled vegetables), tahini sauce, Falafel, rice, and Arabic bread.

Traditional Egyptian food restaurant in Giza
Traditional Egyptian food with grilled lamb kebabs at a local eatery in Giza

Moreover, Bedouin dinner in Egypt is incomplete without serving grilled chicken kebab with the main course.

Egyptian food with grilled Chicken Kebab for Bedouin dinner
Egyptian cuisine with grilled Chicken Kebab for Bedouin dinner

Shawarma

The Middle Eastern Cuisine Shawarma is popular street food in Egypt made of meat like lamb, beef, or chicken. It is interesting to see the making procedure where the roasting of meat cut into thin slices and served by rolling with Pita bread. The taste of Chicken Shawarma with Turkish coffee from Cairo Talaat Harb Mall was good.

Middle Eastern Street Food Shawarma
Middle Eastern Street Food Shawarma – Talaat Harb Street in Cairo
Turkish coffee with Chicken Shawarma - Cairo Talaat Harb Mall
Turkish coffee with Chicken Shawarma

Egyptian Fried Fish

During a visit to Egypt’s coastal area, you must try Egyptian fried fish or grilled fish. Fish in Egypt locally known as Samak. I had a delicious lunch at the Fish Market Restaurant in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria. Fresh sea fish fry served to eat with Pita bread.

Freshly fried Samak with Arabic bread - Alexandria Fish Market Restaurant
Freshly fried Samak with Arabic bread

The taste of fried fish fillets with red rice and hummus was also tasty at Alsaraya Floating Restaurant in Cairo.

Fish fillets with red rice - Alsaraya Floating Restaurant in Cairo
Fish fillets with red rice

Sayadeya

This delicacy is a great seafood item from coastal cities like Alexandria, Suez, and Port Said. This recipe’s prominent element is bass or bluefish, which is cooked perfectly with yellow rice, tomato sauce, onion, and authentic Egyptian spices. Baking takes place in an earthenware pot.

Egyptian Desserts

Dessert is typical to serve after the main course in Egypt. It is impossible to ignore many varieties of delicious Egyptian desserts. Dates, almonds, and honey are the typical ingredients to prepare desserts.

Traditional Middle Eastern sweets Basbousa
Traditional sweets Basbousa made from Semolina

Some of Egypt’s must-try traditional sweet dishes are Kunafa, Basbousa, Baklava, Feteer, and Om Ali.

Kunafa from Sweet Palace Abu Dhabi
Egyptian dessert Kunafa

Karkadeh (Hibiscus Tea)

Karkadeh is a traditional Egyptian beverage consumed as cold or hot tea. I loved the sour taste of Hibiscus Iced Tea made of dried Hibiscus flower. It helps to reduce the blood pressure but risky to overdo it.

Egyptian Hibiscus Tea with Mint
Egyptian Hibiscus Tea with Mint

The sweet taste of hot Hibiscus Tea with mint was relaxing to try in Cairo. Hibiscus Tea is one of the famous and must-try Egyptian drinks in Egypt. Later I bought dried Hibiscus flowers from the local market of Hurghada to drink at home.

Traditional herbal tea Karkadeh
Popular herbal tea Karkadeh

So, now you have the top local foods of Egypt that are a part of your travel time in this mesmerizing land of Pyramids. If travel to Egypt is on your upcoming travel list, jot down the list of these tempting Egyptian dishes with real flavors that take you to this place’s traditional culture.  Enjoy them and share your experiences.

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Top Egyptian Dishes To TryWhat to eat in Egypt - Egyptian cuisine

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