Traditional Egyptian Food, Egyptian food

Traditional Egyptian Cooking: 8 Must-Try Dishes

A quick guide to the best that Egyptian food has to offer.

There’s nowhere in the world quite like Egypt. From the Great Pyramids and the Sphinx to the stunning Red Sea coast—there are endless historic, cultural, and recreational sites to visit. As you might expect, Egypt’s food culture is similarly rich.

You can of course eat all the classic foods like hummus, falafel, stuffed grape leaves, and baklava that are popular throughout the Middle East, North Africa, and the Mediterranean. Egyptian chefs often put their own spin on these beloved foods. You might, for instance, find that your hummus is flavored with cumin.

And you’ll also enjoy some distinctive dishes that either originated from Egypt or are specific to Egyptian cuisine: Think ful and kushari, for example. Read on to get some ideas about what to try on your next vacation in Egypt!                                                                                                        

- Mezze (small dishes)

Whet your appetite with one or more Egyptian mezze. Popular dishes include:

  • Baba ghanoush, a delightfully smoky eggplant-based dip commonly eaten throughout the region.
  • Hummus, the mashed chickpea staple popular in the Middle East and Mediterranean.
  • Duqqa, a mix of nuts, herbs, and spices ground into a kind of dip. Look for duqqa mixtures as you visit spice markets. Unlike baba ghanoush and hummus, duqqa is a specifically Egyptian food.

- Fish and seafood

If you’re traveling along the coast or staying in Alexandria, you’ll have great access to fresh fish and seafood. You might order a simple but delicious dish of grilled or fried fish with a side of rice.

Visitors during the springtime Sham el-Nessim festival may see many people eating fesikh, a traditional dish made from a dried, salted, and fermented saltwater fish, the gray mullet, which is caught in the Red and Mediterranean Seas. It’s a tricky food to prepare properly, and definitely an acquired taste!

- Vegetarian dishes

Vegetarians and vegans, take heart: Egypt is an extremely friendly place for plant-based diets. Particularly inland, you’ll find numerous delicious meals prepared from vegetables, legumes, and of course spices. For example:

  • Kushari, a dish with roots in 19th-century Egypt, now consumed at food carts and restaurants nationwide. Ingredients include macaroni, lentils, and rice along with a tomato sauce, and it’s often topped with chickpeas or fried onions. Add a splash of hot sauce if you like!
  • Eggah, an egg dish not unlike a frittata. There are numerous variations when it comes to fillings, some involving meat, but many including only vegetables and spices: Onions, tomatoes, leeks, zucchini, coriander, cumin, turmeric, and more.
  • Ful medames, a traditional Egyptian food with a history stretching back centuries. Ful consists of cooked fava beans plus various herbs and spices.

- Meat dishes

There are also plenty of Egyptian dishes that incorporate meat, from hearty stews to simple grilled fare. Below, a few delicious examples:

  • Fatteh, a celebratory meal often eaten on Eid al-Adha. It is made from lamb, rice, bread, and sauce.
  • Hawawshi, a traditional dish of bread stuffed with minced meat and vegetables.
  • Kamounia, a rich stew eaten in Egypt, Sudan, and Tunisia. It’s made with beef and spiced with cumin.

- Bread

Egyptian cuisine wouldn’t be the same without its bread and cheese! During your visit, you’ll find plenty of pita bread to wrap up all your falafel and kebabs and dip into flavorful sauces. Keep an eye out for:

  • Eish baladi, traditional pita bread.
  • Eish fino, an elongated bread roll similar to the French baguette that can also be used to make sandwiches.
  • Eish shamsi, a sourdough bread popular in Upper Egypt.

- Cheese

Cheese is another Egyptian staple. Over 5000 years ago, during the First Dynasty of Egypt, people in the area were already making cheese. How do we know? Remnants of cheese were found in ancient alabaster jars at Saqqara. Cheese remained in Egyptian diets over the years, and during the Middle Ages, the city of Damietta grew famous for the cheese it produced. Fried cheese was a medieval Egyptian treat.

So when you’re strolling the streets of Cairo or Luxor nowadays, what kinds of cheese might you find?

  • Mish, a salty fermented cheese often made at home in rural areas.
  • Domiati cheese, which has a long history and takes its name from Damietta. This extremely popular soft white cheese is typically made from cow or buffalo milk.
  • Areesh cheese, another soft white cheese, this time made from laban rayeb, a form of curdled milk.

You’ll find these and other cheeses featured in a range of dishes, from fiteer to qatayef. Soft white cheese is also a common component of the traditional Egyptian breakfast.

- Desserts

So you’ve come to the end of a nice meal and somehow still have a little room for dessert? Or even if you don’t, it’s worth making room for a small bite of:

  • Feteer meshaltet, a flaky layered pastry with an impressive history—some say that the ancient Egyptians left feteer in their temples as offerings to the gods. This pastry can be sweet or savory. If you’re having it for dessert, it might be filled with honey, cheese, coconut, pudding, or chocolate.
  • Baklava, another scrumptious pastry flavored with honey and nuts.
  • Basbousa, a semolina cake coated in syrup and sometimes given additional flavor by rose water or coconut.

-Beverages

And finally, a short note on tea, one of Egypt’s most popular beverages. You can drink black tea virtually anywhere in several different forms, with varying methods of preparation and amounts of sugar.

Herbal teas are also popular, especially refreshing hibiscus tea. Mint tea is another great option. You may see fresh mint leaves lending flavor to black teas or lemonades as well. Whether you’re sipping black tea over breakfast or relaxing with a cold hibiscus tea after lunch, you’re sure to appreciate Egypt’s tea-drinking culture as much as its incredible food.

FAQ

Q- Is it safe to travel to Egypt 2020? A-Tourists have been visiting Egypt for centuries and Egyptians have well-earned reputation for warmth and kindness toward visitors. Egyptian cities are generally very safe, especially in area where tourists frequenty.


Q-What are Egypt's Visa Requirements? A-If you want to apply for a Visa On Arrival that lasts for 30 days then you should be one of the eligible countries, have a valid passport with at least 6 months remaining and pay 25$ USD in cash, as for the E-Visa for 30 day you should have a valid passport for at least 8 months, complete the online application, pay the e-visa fee then print the e-visa to later be presented to the airport border guard. You could also be one of the lucky ones who can obtain a free visa for 90 days. Read More About Egypt Travel Visa.


Q-What is the Top Traditional Egyptian Food?A-Egypt has a variety of delicious cuisines but we recommend “Ful & Ta’meya (Fava Beans and Falafel)”, Mulukhiya, “Koshary”, a traditional Egyptian pasta dish, and Kebab & Kofta, the Egyptian traditional meat dish.


Q-What is the Best Time to Visit Egypt?A- The best time to travel to Egypt is during the winter from September to April as the climate becomes a bit tropical accompanied by a magical atmosphere of warm weather with a winter breeze. You will be notified in the week of your trip if the weather is unsafe and if any changes have been made.


Q-What to Pack for Your Egypt Tour?A-You should pack everything you could ever need and but in a small bag so you could move easily between your destinations.


Q-Why Book With "JOURNEY TO EGYPT"? A-We have been creating the finest vacations for more than 10 years around the most majestic destinations in Egypt. Our staff consists of the best operators, guides and drivers who dedicate all of their time & effort make you have the perfect vacation. All of our tours are customized by Travel, Financial & Time consultants to fit your every possible need during your vacation. It doesn't go without saying that your safety and comfort are our main concern priority and all of our resources will be directed to provide the best atmosphere until you return home.


Q-What is the Weather is Like? A-The temperature in Egypt ranges from 37c to 14 c. Summer in Egypt is somehow hot and winter is cool and mild but sometimes it becomes cold at night. The average of low temperatures vary from 9.5 °C in the wintertime to 23 °C in the summertime and average high temperatures vary from 17 °C in the wintertime to 32 °C in the summertime. The temperature is moderate all along the coasts..