Egypt is iconic for its intriguing landscape, fascinating monuments, and rich history. But the tasty and vibrant cuisine originating from the land of the pharaohs is hugely underrated. Visit Egypt and you’ll be welcomed with hearty dishes brimming with fava beans, spiced rice, and flavorsome tomato sauce. Nearly every dish is served with a generous amount of bread on the side, so it’s unlikely you’ll ever go hungry.
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Some Egyptian delicacies are nutritious and healthy. Others pack in a few more calories. Either way, they are all to die for. Keep reading to find out what Egyptian delicacies you’ll fall in love with.
10 Breakfast Favorite: Ful Medames
The Egyptians sure do like their legumes! Ful Medames is one of the most classic and beloved dishes to come out of Egypt. Ful, which consists of fava beans cooked with oil and salt, is a major part of the Egyptian diet and appears in many dishes, but this one is a national favorite.
According to A Little Nomad, Ful Medames contains the beans served with eggs, pita bread, and cheese, along with other garnishes. The beans can take a while to prepare since they require overnight soaking and slow-cooking to remove from their hard casing.
9 Street Food: Alexandrian Liver
Liver might not sound like the most appetizing delicacy to try, but if you’re visiting Egypt, you can’t let yourself miss out. The thought of it can be a little intense for a westerner who’s never eaten liver before, but the chances are you’ll really love it.
The Culture Trip explains that Alexandrian liver is mostly street food, although people also cook it at home. The liver is usually cooked with spicy pepper, onion, and garlic. You’ll often find it served in sandwiches from the street vendors of Alexandria.
8 Feel-Good Treat: Hawawshi
Another popular street food that you’ll fall in love with while in Egypt is the feel-good dish hawawshi. Trip Savvy describes this street food as the Egyptian version of a stuffed meat sandwich, which will keep you full as you explore the cities of Egypt.
The meat in the sandwich is usually ground beef or lamb that has been flavored with tasty spices. You won’t get Wonder White bread here, as the meat is typically served in Aish Baladi, a traditional local bread. The sandwich is cooked in a wood oven to give it a crispy texture. Delicious!
7 Pasta Dish: Koshari
Egypt isn’t the first place you think of visiting if you enjoy pasta dishes, but it does offer a couple of delicious carb-heavy plates that you’ll love. Koshari is a traditional Egyptian meal that is served both from street vendors and restaurants. This one will be easy to find during your stay in Egypt, and luckily, it’s super cheap.
The basis of this dish is rice, pasta, and lentils. These are cooked in a tomato sauce and combined with onions and chickpeas. This is also one of the heaviest and most filling Egyptian dishes, so you won’t need to eat again for hours.
6 Vegan Comfort Food: Falafel
You’ve probably tried falafel before, but Egyptian falafel is a whole other level of deliciousness. In Egypt, these are often served alongside a traditional breakfast of ful (broad beans), eggs, cheese, and pita bread. The difference between Egyptian falafels and other versions is that the former utilizes fava beans instead of chickpeas.
Egyptian falafels are made with an explosion of spices including cumin, cilantro, paprika, and cayenne pepper. Yum! Chickpea flour is added before they are rolled into balls and fried.
5 Coastal Classic: Sayadeya
Seafood lovers won’t be able to get enough of Sayadeya. According to The Culture Trip, you’ll be able to find this delicious dish in the coastal cities of Egypt, such as Suez, Portsaid, and Alexandria. The main ingredient is a white fish, like bass or bluefish.
Sayadeya is prepared by cooking the fish with tomato sauce, onion, spices, and yellow rice. After this, it is baked in a pot before being served. Most often, you’ll find Sayadeya served with a sesame-based tahini sauce on the side.
4 Hearty Green Goodness: Molokhia
Molokhia tends to provoke a very strong reaction in people; they either love or can’t stand it. The rich green stew is made from the jute mallow plant which is a leafy green that grows in Egypt, giving the dish its vibrant shade.
Other ingredients that go into the stew include a broth of either chicken, beef, or seafood. Typically, Molokhia is served with rice and bread. It will also usually come alongside a protein, either chicken, beef, or seafood.
3 Celebration Food: Fattah
Not to be confused with the Middle Eastern salad fattoush, fattah is a celebratory meat dish that is eaten in many Arabic countries, including Egypt. Most often, the meat used in the recipe is lamb, but you might also find versions with beef or veal. The chunks of meat are layered with rice and fried Aish Baladi. The dish is topped with a tangy mixture of tomato sauce and vinegar.
Traditionally, fattah is served at the end of the holy month of Ramadan. It is also eaten at the arrival of a new baby, although you can still find it sold throughout Egypt even when there is no religious festival on.
2 Stuffed Veggies: Mahshi
Although there are several fantastic meat dishes on offer in Egyptian cuisine, there is also plenty for vegetarians. If you are a veggie traveling through Egypt, you’ll love the stuffed vegetables known as mahshi.
You can find almost any vegetable you want in a mahshi dish, but the most common options are eggplants, zucchini, cabbage leaves, tomatoes, bell peppers, and grapevine leaves. The tradition filling is made from rice, herbs, tomato sauce, and seasoning. Be cautious if you are vegetarian, though, as some varieties are made using mincemeat.
1 Dessert Of The Gods: Kunafa
This dessert is typically served during Ramadan to keep people full while they’re fasting in the daylight hours. That should give you an idea of how filling and satisfyingKunafa is! Kunafa is made using noodles of semolina flour, which are baked until they are crispy. They are combined with soft cheese and then drenched in syrup.
You’ll find in some bakeries throughout Egypt that people use custard instead of cheese and also add nuts into the mixture. Sometimes, the semolina noodles will be swapped for shredded wheat or filo pastry.