Cairo is the center of many different cultures, so it’s hard to tell which dishes are typical of Cairo, Egypt, and which ones come from other places. Even so, the Egyptians have worked hard to make every dish their own, and the best food in Cairo is a great example of their wide range of tastes. Even though most people are very familiar with all of these things, most people who haven’t been to Egypt don’t know much about the food there. I don’t see many Egyptian restaurants when I travel, so I’m not too surprised. The thing is, Egyptian food can be a bit of a mystery to travelers, so I’m here to clear things up. Here is my guide to Egyptian food: the 20 traditional Egyptian dishes you must try when you visit Cairo and where to find them.
We must address the issue of sugar addicts. This Egyptian delicacy may indeed be created at home. You don’t need to go to a certain restaurant to enjoy these delicacies. It’s just hot milk with pure orchid root powder put into it. However, if you add some nutty toppings and hidden ingredients, you can convert this Egyptian delicacy into a culinary masterpiece in less than two minutes. Some of the more common toppings include cinnamon, shredded coconut, crushed pistachios, and even dried fruit like raisins, bananas, and strawberry slices. You can get ready-to-use sachets of orchid powder at your local market.
2. Kofta Kebab
Egyptian kofta, which can be made with either lamb or goat meat, are the basis for the meatballs that make up kofta kebabs. Before being cooked on a grill, kofta kebabs, which are made of ground lamb or goat that has been combined with onion and spices, are skewered on metal skewers. Because the skewers can be picked up and consumed immediately, this dish is ideal for serving as a snack during a festival or other outdoor event.
Now is the time to fall in love with Hawawshi’s taste. Its amazing taste will draw you in right away. It’s a pita stuffed with ground meat, pepper, onions, and parsley. The crispness of it will get you excited when you eat it. In many places around the world, it is said in different ways. In 1971, a butcher from Egypt named Ahmed Al-Hawawsh made this sandwich. He called the food by his name. And he set up a stand in Cairo to sell it. Over time, he took it all over the country.
In the Middle East, Fattah is a popular dish, although it’s made in a variety of ways. Unlike in the Levant, Fattah is not made with yogurt or garbanzo beans in Egypt. Fried bread, garlic and tomato sauce, and either lamb or beef are some of the ingredients of Fattah. If you’re looking for a typical shawarma Fattah, Abou el Sid is the place to go for it. The dish may sound unusual, but it is delicious!
Fiteer, also referred to as Egyptian pancakes, are pastries that are stacked several times and resemble filo in appearance. They are often served as a single item and can have either a sweet or savory flavor. The Tawfiqiyya Souq is a fruit and vegetable market located in the downtown area of Cairo. It is typically open from the early hours till midnight, making it an ideal location for fiteer.
6. Foul Medames
The national cuisine of Egypt is filthy medames, a mixture of meat, vegetables, and spices. Cooked fava beans are blended with Egyptian spices and served in pitta bread in traditional Egyptian cuisine. For an extra layer of flavor, you can also add an egg. Foul medames, a robust, protein-rich dish that may keep you going throughout the day, is a popular breakfast choice for locals. Every street seller in Cairo will have both of these items on its menus, and they’re both prepared with Tamaya, an Egyptian falafel made of fava beans, which Egyptians customarily eat together.
7. Roasted Chicken
Roasted chicken is one of the African cuisines that can be found on the streets of Egypt. The meticulously marinated and rotisserie-grilled chicken will impart a distinct smoke taste and enticing aroma. This dish is well-known throughout the world. It is ideal for eating with friends while going down the street and enjoying it with a few beers. I believe you will enjoy it right away.
8. Om Ali
Many people, especially Indians, misinterpret it as an Indian dessert. Even though the name of this meal translates to “mother of Ali,” which is sure to imply a fascinating story, let’s overlook it and discover what type of delectableness is concocted to make this Egyptian delicacy a culinary sensation. There are no eggs in this delicious Egyptian bread pudding, which is made with filo or puff pastry, toasted nuts, and milk rather than cream or condensed milk.
Kushari is characterized by its use of rice, macaroni or spaghetti, lentils, and chickpeas, all of which are cooked in a spicy tomato sauce. Restaurants will occasionally employ vinegar as a flavor enhancer in their dishes. Because of how inexpensive it is and how full it makes you feel after eating it, it is sometimes referred to as the “poor man’s lunch.” The Kushari at Sayed Hanafi, a restaurant located in the central business district of Cairo, is widely considered to be the greatest in the city.
10. Mahshi (Warak Enab)
Mahshi, which means “stuffed” in Hebrew, is most usually used to describe filled grapevine leaves. The Egyptian version of this well-known meal is the greatest, but it can be found in other Mediterranean nations. Spiced rice is wrapped in grape leaves and cooked in a tomato-based sauce before being garnished with fresh lemon juice and served. Mahshi is a delectable dish, which is why so many countries have embraced it as their own. Stuffed cabbage, eggplant, and zucchini are also popular fillings.
11. Egyptian Dates
In Egypt, it is simple to find street vendors selling date fruits as a delicious snacks. The date palm is typically sweet, so you can get a plastic cup of dates to sample the air in this mythical area. There are no precise details on its genesis. Some evidence suggests that it originated in Egypt’s Fertile Crescent region. Others, however, stated that dates originated in the Persian Gulf or Western India.
This well-known dessert can also be ordered in Cairo, albeit it will likely be prepared slightly differently than in Turkey. Crushed nuts are cooked in between layers of filo pastry and then given a topping of either sharbat or a sweet syrup in this dish, which is considered to be one of the best delicacies to taste in Cairo. Because it is so juicy and sweet, you run the risk of getting a hangover or a sugar rush if you consume a lot of it, so be sure you don’t overdo it.
In many parts of Egypt, breakfast consists of taameya, which is similar to falafel but is cooked with fava beans rather than chickpeas. However, you can find taameya served at any time of the day. It is reported that the Copts came up with the dish as an alternative way to break their fast during the holy month of Ramadan. The dish itself is rather satisfying. These days, people in every region of the Middle East may enjoy it.
The pork or chicken is roasted on a spit and then sliced into a sandwich together with vegetables and sauce. Shawarma has become a popular form of street food all over the world. However, this does not indicate that you should eat the food straight off the street cart. Instead, make your way to Abou Heidar for some of the city’s most delicious shawarma.
One of Egypt’s most popular and well-known eats on the street is mombar. Sheep Fawaregh is a type of Arab sausage cuisine. In Egypt, they use sheep casings to make excellent meals by stuffing rice and meat into the casings and frying them. In Lebanon, Libya, Palestine, and other places you can find this delectable treat under a variety of different names. Spices of many kinds will be used in their varied forms. When you consume it, you’ll be engrossed in the flavor.
It is prepared in the same manner as baklava, but it is crispier due to its thin layers, which are usually topped with a large number of ground pistachios so that the food looks green after the topping. Alternatively, you can adopt the Cairo style of food by topping it with a sharbat. This is a traditional dessert in Cairo. This can be purchased at any of Cairo’s many local bakeries.
17. Kofta Kebab
Egyptian kofta, which can be made with either lamb or goat meat, inspired the creation of kofta kebabs, which are a form of fast food. Before being cooked on a grill, kofta kebabs, which are made of ground lamb or goat that has been combined with onion and spices, are skewered on metal skewers. Because the skewers can be picked up and consumed immediately, this dish is ideal for serving as a snack during a festival or other outdoor event.
18. Kebda Eskandarani
Kedba Eskandarani is a well-known Egyptian street snack. There is little knowledge regarding its history, but it is a well-known recipe in Alexandria, where vendors, booths, and shops sell it on the streets. Egyptians frequently consume it with sandwiches and tahini dip. The major ingredient in this attractive meal is beef liver. Furthermore, the traditional flavors of cumin, cardamom, chili peppers, and garlic will leave an indelible impression.
On to Cairo’s version of light and crumbly cake made and topped with sharbat, our last stop in the city. Semolina, the main ingredient in this Egyptian dish, is a crowd-pleaser, especially for those with a sweet tooth who are willing to put up with the extra sweetness and creaminess that come from the semolina. Mint tea or Turkish coffee was often served alongside it.
20. Aish Baladi (Pita Bread)
Bread called Aish Baladi is an Egyptian Pita. Wheat flour is a key component in this flatbread recipe. This dish has been around since the time of the Egyptians when it was made from emmer wheat. To obtain Aish Baladi, chefs must bake wheat flour in extremely hot ovens. You’ll fall in love with the bread’s unique aroma and suppleness. When Aish Baladi is still warm, it’s a treat to savor it. When served as an African side dish, its flavor will be enhanced. It is common for Egyptians to consume it as a side dish to their main dishes.