When we think of Egypt we think of: The Pyramids, Sphinx, Pharaohs, Hieroglyphics, Mummies, and Ancient temples, to name a few. But when we think of Egyptian dishes, they are not so well known. However, we’re here to enlighten you about the delicious foods that are readily available in Egypt and are extremely tasty, to say the least! Like in other countries, food is a large part of Egyptian culture. You can find different varieties of the same food all over Egypt, north to south, with each region adding its own unique flavor or twist to the recipe. Sounds tantalizingly tasty right?
Here are 10 tasty Egyptian dishes you need to try:
1. Ful Wa Ta’ameya (Egyptian Falafel)
Ful Wa Ta’ameya is a popular and delicious Egyptian street food that has been enjoyed for centuries. This dish consists of two main components: Ful, which is mashed fava beans that are cooked with a variety of spices, and Ta’ameya, which are falafel-like patties made from ground fava beans, herbs, and spices. Ful Wa Ta’ameya is typically served in a warm pita bread, accompanied by an assortment of toppings such as lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and tahini sauce. This dish is not only affordable but also a great source of protein and fiber, making it a healthy and satisfying meal option for locals and tourists alike.
2. Ful Medames
If ancient Egyptians and modern Egyptians have anything in common, it is Ful Medames. Ful Medames is a recipe so old and simple that it has occupied Egyptian tables for millenniums. Safe to say this is another national favourite. The dish uses entirely meat-free ingredients, including Fava beans, olive oil, and cumin and a garnish of lemon juice, onion, parsley, and cumin.
Carb overload coming right at you! Come lunch time in Cairo you’ll see a stack of locals lined up at every kushari shop around, waiting for a hearty portion of one of Egypt’s favourite street foods. This filling meal is made up of rice, macaroni and lentils, topped with tomato sauce, garlic vinegar and garnished with chickpeas and fried onions. It’s a perfect meal that is substantial, nutrient-packed and cheap. Exactly what the Egyptians were after!
4. Hamam Mahshi (Stuffed Squab)
Some call them rats of the sky, some call them pests and some love to eat them! Hamam mahshi is stuffed pigeon and has been served in Egypt for centuries. The pigeons are kept in mud brick lofts that can be seen along the Nile. The birds are stuffed with onions and spices along with a grain called freekeh, which is a green cracked wheat with a nutty flavour, or alternatively they are stuffed with rice or bulgur wheat. Though Egyptians traditionally have hamam mahshi on special occasions, it’s not difficult to find it on a restaurant menu.
5. Fiteer Baladi (Egyptian Pizza)
This is one of the Egyptian dishes that is very much like pizza. It is super buttery and full of calories, but oh so worth it! Fiteer is made of plenty of filo pastry layers that are cooked in a brick oven. The original is served plain however, it can be ordered savoury with meats, cheese and vegetables or sweet with syrup, honey or sugar. You can’t say no to pizza!
Although shawarma is not native to Egypt originally, it has become so since Egypt was part of the Ottoman Empire. Shawarma is layers of meat which could be lamb, chicken, or beef that are placed on a spit and grilled, all day long. The outer layers are then shaved off and chucked into a tasty hunk of bread or roll. Shawarma sangas are a big highlight.
7. Kofta and Kebab
Meat lovers, rejoice! Kofta is minced beef or lamb with plenty of spices thrown in, which is then rolled and grilled. You could call it an Egyptian-style sausage. Kebab is prepped with pieces of meat such as lamb or veal that are grilled over a coal fire on a skewer. These meat dishes are always accompanied by sides of dips, rice, bread, and veggies. This will most definitely put you in a happy food coma.
Basbousa is a popular dessert treat that originates from Egypt. The cake is sometimes referred to as semolina cake due to its semolina batter and is usually served in a diamond or square shape. Sticky, sweet and full of citrus flavour, this soft cake can be either cold or warm.
Baqlawa, sometimes called baklawa, is a popular desert in Egypt. The golden, flaky treat is usually filled with chopped nuts and drizzled with syrup or honey. The baqlawa can be found in patisseries across Egypt or served in restaurants.
10. Alexandria cheese fondue
Yes, you heard right. Cheese fondue is perhaps not a Egyptian classic but one to try nevertheless. This cheesy masterpiece is unique to a restaurant in Alexandria by the name of Alban Swissra and won’t have trouble blowing you away. The restaurant uses rumi cheese (a popular Egyptian cheese) and adds pastrami, sausage, minced meat, chicken and much more. The dish is then paired with crunchy Egyptian bread and voila! This is perfect for cheese lovers or anyone with adventurous tastebuds.
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