As a result of centuries of cultural and historical exchanges, Traditional Egyptian Food and Drinks is an incredibly complex and flavorful medley of flavors and ingredients. Being at the intersection of three major culinary regions—Africa, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean—has profoundly impacted Egyptian cuisine. The Nile River and the country’s lush soil play essential roles in developing traditional Egyptian cuisine. Here on this blog, we’ll sample ancient Egyptian eats and sips passed down through the ages.
Food and Drinks in Egypt
Traditional Egyptian food and drink quality have improved due to the Mediterranean diet. This is most noticeable in the cuisine. A variety of Middle Eastern dishes are also available. Black pepper, saffron, cumin, and coriander are some spices employed. Black pepper is another flavor enhancer that can be used. Whenever you go to Egypt, you can count on it being hot. Only eat this if you’re easily overwhelmed or allergic to spicy foods. It is not fit for human consumption.
European, African, and Middle Eastern influences can all find their way into traditional Egyptian cuisine. The end product could be more moderate because the meat is the focal point of every meal in Egypt. The concluding response needs to be corrected. Here, however, we will focus on Tamiya Egyptian food (fried bean paste and green herbs, also known as falafel).
A koshary is one of the most famous Egyptian traditional food. Pasta, rice, lentils, onions, and various spices make up the bulk of this meal. There are numerous cafe-style restaurants in most Egyptian cities, and restaurants serving cuisine from all over the world might be found alongside the quick food joints. The majority of eateries provide regionally-inspired menus.
Desserts are a crucial part of any authentic Egyptian meal, and some of the best cuisines in the country may be found in this region. Try it with delicious pastries and a steaming mug of robust black coffee for an enhanced experience.
The Most Popular Traditional Egyptian Food and Drink
1. Ful Medames
The ancient Egyptian dish ful medames is still enjoyed today. Fava beans are prepared in a slow cooker and served with garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil for breakfast. The dish’s standard accompaniments include bread, onions, and sometimes hard-boiled eggs. Besides being delicious, ful medames is a fantastic nutritional choice because it’s high in protein and fiber.
Falafel is also known as Taameya, but both include parsley and fava beans in their preparation (instead of chickpeas, which are used elsewhere around the Mediterranean). Serving it as a sandwich with salad is the most excellent way to enjoy it, and the optimal form is a flat disc rather than a ball.
Another national staple that showcases Egypt’s varied influences is koshari koshari. Rice, macaroni, lentils, chickpeas, and fried onions comprise this main vegetarian meal, and tomato sauce and garlic vinegar are common accompaniments to this dish. Koshari is sold on street corners nationwide and is both delicious and inexpensive.
4. Egyptian Bread
The staple of Egyptian cuisine is a superb bread known as “Aish,” which translates to “life” in Arabic. Aish Baladi is an unleavened bread that looks, feels, and tastes like a pita. Because it is included in nearly every meal in Egypt, it plays a more vital role in the Egyptian diet than in the diets of other countries. In addition, white rice is fundamental to the Egyptian diet due to its versatility and ease of preparation.
Many Egyptian households prepare Fattah, so we must include it in our list of the most popular dishes in Egypt. Fattah is usually reserved for significant life events, like the birth of a child or a bride’s first wedding. Vast bowls of garlicky beef stew come with rice and fried bread.
After being boiled and washed, cattle feet are a significant component in the traditional Egyptian dish kawaree. The gelatinous texture comes from the ingredients used in kawaree soup. Some eateries offer it with rice and tomato sauce, dubbing it “Kawaree Fettah,” while others serve it wrapped in filled vine leaves. Try eating only a bit of Kawaree with one packed vine leaf to satisfy all your taste sensations.
It’s common practice in Egypt to use rice as filler. The Egyptian staple dish “mahshi” is a staple of Middle Eastern cuisine.
Common vegetables in Egyptian rice bowls include cabbage, zucchini, eggplant, bell peppers, tomatoes, and vine leaves. Vegetables need the rice mixture stuffing to have flavor, making their taste distinctive. To discover the “Mahshi” dishes that you appreciate the most, it is recommended that you order a mixed plate.
Traditional Egyptian molokhia soup is prepared by simmering finely chopped jute leaves (also called molokhia) in either chicken or beef stock. This meal is seasoned with garlic and coriander and is typically eaten with rice or toast. Nutritionally, molokhia is excellent since it contains a lot of protein, iron, and vitamins.
Mombar is a non-vegetable variant of Mahshi. It is an Egyptian sausage made by stuffing a cow’s or sheep’s intestines with rice, chopped greens, and tomatoes. Waste from the cow must be eliminated before feeding can begin. The final steps in the preparation are a brief boil and a deep fry.
10. Hamam Mahshi
In Egypt, pigeons are reared in conical towers known as Hammam, and their flesh is prized for its rarity and flavor. They are stuffed with seasonings and either rice or, better yet, bulgur wheat before being baked on the grill or in the oven (freek).
Kebab is a traditional Middle Eastern dish consisting of beef or lamb marinated in a mixture of spices and herbs before being grilled or roasted. Common accompaniments to kebab in Egypt include rice, grilled veggies, and tahini sauce.
Kofta is a meatball made using ground beef or lamb and a mixture of onions, garlic, and spices. Little balls are formed from the variety and browned and fried on the grill or in the oven. You can dip your kofta into hummus or tzatziki sauce that comes on the side with some pita bread.
Hawawshi is a typical Egyptian fast snack made by stuffing dough with ground beef, onions, and spices. After that, the dough goes into a clay oven to get all crispy and brown. You may expect a salad with tahini sauce on the side when you order hawawshi.
14. Shish Tawook
Shish Tawook is a traditional Middle Eastern meal consisting of marinated chicken that has been skewered and cooked until it reaches a juicy, tender consistency. Yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, and spices are often used as marinades for the chicken. The traditional accompaniments to shish tawooq include rice, grilled veggies, and a sauce like garlic sauce or hummus.
In addition to its widespread availability in other parts of the Middle East, shawarma can also be easily purchased in Egypt. Chicken or beef has been seasoned, piled high on a spit, and slowly roasted while the spit turns. Thin slices are cut from the meat while it cooks, and the finished product is wrapped up in a pita or a flatbread with some veggies like tomatoes and onions. Pickles or spicy sauce, tahini sauce, or garlic sauce can be added to the wrap as a finishing touch.
Shawarma is a standard fast food option in Egypt. It’s commonly cooked with regional ingredients and spices to create a uniquely Egyptian taste. It may be found at various eateries, from modest stores to food carts. Locals and tourists alike love Egypt’s shawarma restaurants.
All of these selections are tasty and representative of traditional Egyptian food. Traditional Egyptian meat meals include Kebab, Kofta, Hawawshy, Shawarma, and Shish Tawooq across the Middle East.
16. Sayadiyah Fish
Many different kinds of fish live in both saltwater and freshwater. All of these fish are called Samak. Some popular ways to cook fish are by roasting it, cutting it in half lengthwise, and seasoning it with garlic, tomato, and fragrant herbs. Bolty, another name for Nile tilapia, is a popular and well-known dish. Fish products like Feseekh and herring that have been cured and fermented are also trendy in Egypt. Even though it smells awful, many people keep coming back for more.
17. Feteer Meshaltet
There are a lot of similarities between pizza and the Egyptian dish feteer. It tastes like focaccia, a famous Egyptian bread in rural. You can eat it with cheese and honey for breakfast or in a wrap with meat and vegetables for lunch, and both options make your mouth water.
Mesze, or appetizers, are a group of petite, tasty dishes typical in Egyptian cuisine. They are typically served with pita bread as an appetizer and a main dish. When eating an Egyptian mezze, it’s common to share a variety of small plates with your entire table. They add variety to the meal, taste, and texture, making it more enjoyable. Popular Egyptian appetizers include:
Chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, and garlic are the main ingredients in hummus, a famous dip.
19. Baba Ghanoush
A dip called baba ghanoush consists of roasted eggplant, tahini, lemon juice, and garlic.
Little fried pastries called sambousek can be stuffed with meat or cheese.
Tahini, a popular condiment in the Middle East, is produced by grinding toasted, hulled sesame seeds. Hummus, baba ghanoush, and halva all feature chickpeas as critical ingredients, but you may also eat them as a dip.
Salty cheese is fermented for a long to create Mish, a classic Egyptian cheese.
Egypt’s Typical Beverages
23. Egyptian Tea
A staple of the Egyptian diet, tea is provided at all hours of the day. Black tea leaves are typically used to make the beverage, steeped in boiling water and served with sugar. In Egyptian tradition, offering guests a cup of tea is more than a nice gesture.
24. Egyptian Coffee
Nescafe instant coffee can be found just about wherever in the Middle East. In the United States, people drink less Turkish and Arabic coffee (ahwa; the term also describes coffeehouses). The real deal, if you’re lucky, and guzzled as quickly as humanly possible.
A popular libation in Egypt is called Karkadeh, flavored with hibiscus flowers. In this preparation, sugar is added to hot water with soaked flowers. The drink, typically used during summer, is an excellent and refreshing drink for warm weather.
Sugarcane is a lovely drink made from cane sugar that is great for tired people. Cane is often part of traditional Middle Eastern food.
During the holy month of Ramadan, people often eat sweets such as al-Atif, rose with frankincense, kunafa, and basbousa after breakfast. Many people also opt for kunafa (a type of rice pudding). People in Egypt and other parts of the Middle East often use Halawa, a spreadable sesame cream, instead.
In recent years, baklava’s popularity as an Egyptian dessert has skyrocketed. Nuts (often almonds, walnuts, or pistachios) are chopped and sandwiched between layers of phyllo dough that have been sweetened with syrup or honey. Indulgent and tasty, baklava is a dessert worthy of the most joyful celebrations.
One of Egypt’s most sought-after desserts recently is basbousa, a Middle Eastern dessert typically made with walnuts, syrup, and cream. A base of semolina or flour is soaked in syrup to begin, and the batter is pressed into a pan and baked at a high temperature. The vegan syrup is often flavored with rose or flower water; sometimes, dry coconut is added for texture and flavor.
Qatayef, also spelled Katayef, is an Egyptian take on a well-liked American meal. During Ramadan in Egypt, you can also expect to see the traditional dessert known as Qatayef on menus everywhere. It consists of semolina yeast pancakes stuffed with almond cream.
Egyptian Food Traditions
The best food in Egypt is always made by locals and served at their homes. If someone invites you to their house for a meal they made, it would be rude to say no. If you’re almost done with the food on your plate, you should know you can’t stop more food from being thrown at you. This means you can’t control what you eat, so you’re more likely to eat more calories than you need.
Only in Cairo and other popular tourist spots like Sharm el-Sheikh, Dahab, and Luxor can you try real food from all over Egypt. You can also find out by asking people where they like to eat. You could, for example, follow their advice and go to a seafood restaurant in Alexandria that has gotten a lot of good reviews.
When you go out to eat in the West, you might notice that most people eat later than you are used to. In the summer, people in big cities often eat at restaurants until very early in the morning. They go to restaurants with many family members, order a lot of food, smoke cigarettes the whole time, and eat slowly.
Once you’ve tried Egyptian street food, you won’t be able to go back to Colonel Sanders or fast food. It would be best if you went to Egypt not only to see the pyramids and the sphinx but also to try some of the best food in the world. If this interests you, our Egypt vacation packages might be just what you need to make memories that will last a lifetime.
The country’s delectable and varied traditional cuisine reflects Egypt’s historical and cultural diversity. From aromatic rice dishes to luscious desserts, Egyptian cuisine has it all. Traditional Egyptian cuisine is a must-try for any foodie or culture vulture interested in learning more about Egypt and its people.