Egyptian Food

Find out all you need to know about the best Egyptian food and drinks before your trip.

Egyptian food revolves around the best elements of Mediterranean, French, and Middle Eastern cuisine. It may be overwhelming to find the rewarding dishes and drinks in Egypt’s often chaotic streets. But if you know what to look for, you may even tap into a rich vein of Ancient Egyptian food traditions. Go beyond pita, falafel, and kebab on your food journey, and dive deep into the authentic realm of Egyptian food with our Egypt food guide. Before you begin your tour, keep in mind these Egypt food tips:

  • Egyptian restaurants serve lunch between 13:00-16:00 and dinner between 20:00-24:00.
  • Exercise caution when buying refreshments in markets and bazaars, as tap water is not safe to drink in Egypt.
  • If you are traveling during Ramadan, dinner hours may change in some restaurants. Although alcohol is available at certain restaurants, public drunkenness is not tolerable.

Must-try Egyptian Foods

Here are the top dishes of the Egyptian food scene that will help you eat like a local:

Egyptian food
Kushari

Egypt’s national dish is not only rich in traditional ingredients from across Italy and Arabia. It has nutritious elements that will keep you satisfied for the entire day. It is a bowl of macaroni, rice, lentils, and chickpeas topped with tomato sauce, fried onion, and garlic vinegar. Kushari may sound quite overwhelming, but the favorite street food of Egypt is comforting and affordable. You can find different recipes in Egyptian street food stalls and eateries.

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Hamam Mahshi

One of the oldest and most authentic Egyptian food, Mahshi is stuffed pigeon usually served on a bed of rice. Pigeon has been a favorite food in Egypt since the Pharaonic era, and today a rich stuffing of bulgur accompanies it. Locals and travelers alike value it as one of the finest Egyptian dishes.

Egyptian food guide
Shawarma

Schwarma is arguably one of the most iconic middle eastern dishes that has made it to international cuisine. It is meat cut into thin slices and wrapped in a pita. You will see the cone-like bulk of meat being rotated and roasted almost everywhere in Egyptian cities.

Egyptian food
Ful Medames

Although it doesn’t look like it, Ful Medames is an Egyptian breakfast staple. It is a simple combination of lava beans, lemon juice, and olive oil. You won’t be surprised to hear that it is a classical Ancient Egyptian food. The original recipe dates back to the Pharaonic times. Today, it is a palate-pleaser and a vegetarian favorite, traditionally served in metal bowls. You will find a variety of recipes and many more complex versions in Egypt’s evocative souqs. 

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Basbousa

Basbousa may be an Ottoman classic, but nowadays it is at the vanguard of Egyptian food with its sweet but light taste. At heart, it is a semolina cake soaked in the tantalizing syrup that makes up a majority of Ottoman desserts. We recommend trying the ones topped with fresh almonds and cream. The right Basbousa is surprisingly light and goes perfectly with the hot days in Egypt.

Must-Try Egyptian Drinks

Egyptian Tea (Shai)

Tea is a big scene in the traditional Egyptian life, served hot or cold, extremely dark and sweet. Tea consumption is a habit Egyptians have adapted from the Arabians. And today, it is a 24/7 beverage that accompanies desserts and meals. Koshari and Karlade are some flavorsome varieties.

Egyptian food
Local Beer

As a Muslim country, Egypt is not big on alcohol. However, you will find a selection of local beers that will spice up your nights. Beer made its first appearance in Egypt as a beverage called bouza. Today, local brands like Sakara, Luxor, or Aswan continue the ageless tradition of beer-making in Egypt. You can find them at certain restaurants and shops.

aswan beer

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