When we talk about Egypt, it is much more than the sphinx and the pyramids. It is about the amazing delicacies that it has to offer you, especially in the city of Cairo, which is the capital of Egypt. The local food eaten by the visitors guarantees high-quality ingredients along with super authentic flavours. Well, we are here to guide you through some of the most amazing local dishes of Cairo, which you would want to give a shot to.
13 Best Foods to Eat in Cairo
1. Ful Medames
A staple Egyptian breakfast that is also the national dish of Egypt, it is a popular local dish. It is a hearty dish that is full of protein which is made of fava beans cooked with salt, pepper, cumin, and oil. It is prepared by cooking those fava beans on the stove or oven and served along with scrambled eggs, pita bread, and a popular food like tameya. This dish is traditionally cooked with Egyptian spices and is virtually different from store to store and also garnished with toppings. If you’re eager to try any Egyptian dish, make sure you try it in Cairo.
Popular comfort food that is not only loved by the locals but tourists too. While you’re walking down the streets of Cairo, you’ll notice shawarma- now, the glocal street food on almost all food joints. Shawarma is made of either chicken or meat carved from a slowly revolving skewer is marinated with Middle Eastern spices and cooked all day with a spit of melting fat on top. It can be sliced into a sandwich with veggies and sauce. It is typically accompanied by bread, sauces and salads. It is a quick meal and a healthier alternative to fast foods.
It is the ultimate Egyptian food that you should try in Cairo. Popularly found on the streets of Cairo, this meal fills you with energy and is also very cheap when it comes to its cost. Koshary is a dish made of rice, pasta and macaroni, and lentils topped with chickpeas, onion, tomato sauce which becomes even more special when vinegar is added to it. When we talk about koshary, it is a heavy dish and full of carbs.
4. Hamam Mahsi
Egyptian Hamam Mahsi or stuffed squab is the dish for you if you want to have something that is luxurious. Squab or Hamam is a small pigeon that is loved by many cultures including Egyptians. The bird is marinated and is stuffed with a mixture of rice or wheat along with vegetables like onions, cabbage, zucchini, eggplants, tomatoes, peppers, cumin seeds and nuts along with spices and herbs that are cooked over wooden charcoal. Grilled to perfection, this dish is loved by the locals.
Served traditionally in an Egyptian breakfast, this dish is loved by one and all. It is a common breakfast dish that is made of fava beans instead of chickpeas. Fava beans are soaked overnight to soften, then crushes in a processor. It is then mixed with a chop of cilantros, spices, onions, white garlic and other veggies and sometimes sesame, then it is wrapped with a flat round made of dough or sometimes deep-fried until they turn crispy. It somewhat tastes like fried chicken and is very spicy too.
6. Kofta Kebabs
These Kofta kebabs are Egyptian street food versions of kebabs. Kofta is basically minced lamb or beef with spices, rolled onto a skewer and barbecued on charcoal. They’re meatballs spiced like sausage. It is mixed with various herbs and spices from the Middle-eastern region along with onions and veggies before actually putting it on coal to get grilled. This version of kebabs makes it an absolutely perfect snack that can be eaten on the streets of Cairo.
It is the only kind of pizza you’ll have in Cairo. A traditional Egyptian dish, usually eaten during lunch or dinner time. It is similar to the Turkish lahmacun pizza and is prepared from minced meat being the main ingredient. Hawawshi is prepared by stuffing pita bread with a minced meat mixture flavoured with onions, peppers and chillies along with toppings of seasonal spices. The chillies help to create a simple dish that is crusty too.
8. Macaroni Bechamel
The ‘Egyptian Lasagna’, as the people of Cairo often call it, is a cheesy dish. It is a classic Egyptian comfort food which is an oven-baked macaroni with bechamel sauce, ground or minced beef, and spices. It is traditionally prepared by cooking the noodles or pasta and then finally adding flour, butter, milk and then baking it in the oven. If you want to have cheese, try this in Cairo.
9. Roz bel Laban
Here, we’re talking about their rice pudding. This dish though doesn’t have its origin in Egyptian cuisine but now, it belongs to it. It is rice cooked in thick milk or cream (ishta), with sugar. To make it fresh, rose water is added with sweet spices and honey to make it sweeter and topped with pistachio nuts. It is topped with cream and is either served warm or chilled.
10. Om Ali
If you have a sweet tooth, you must definitely try Om Ali. This dish is translated to Ali’s mother and it is a dessert you just cannot miss. It is typically a pastry or a puff pastry which is a heart dessert. It is a bread pudding made with filo dough, divided into pieces, blended with pistachio nuts, coconut flakes, raisins, sugar and most importantly, milk. It is lighter and milkier when served hot. The dish is served with a combination of milk with fresh cream sprinkled with cinnamon powder.
Also known as Salep, this drink is a must-have during the wintertime in Cairo. It is a sweet, warm drink that is a luscious treat that is originally made with orchid roots flour. It is quick and easy to make, the base being the milk with corn or potato starch which gives the required thickness to the drink along with vanilla extract and a mixture of rose water and fresh cream. Traditionally Sahlab is topped with a pinch of cinnamon, shredded apricots and coconuts, with crushed pistachios and maybe even some raisins.
It is a circular bread that is made of flour dough. It is a dish that originally belongs to Turkish cuisine, is very popular while you’re sightseeing in beautiful places in Cairo. A snack that is so tasty and full of goodness, that you would love it. It is typically encrusted with sesame seeds looks like a cross between a bagel and a pretzel and has a soft and fluffy interior. It is usually served with hard-boiled eggs and is specially eaten along with shai (tea) in Cairo.
A very popular dish amongst different countries of the Middle East. It is a traditional dessert made that looks like hay, but in reality, is very thin and fluffy filo dough. It is a thin noodle-like pastry that is made with the help of either filo or semolina dough. It is stuffed with various dry fruits and nuts along with cream topped with sharbat. This is also served in various bakeries and cafes like any other dessert. It is served in sweet sugar-based syrup, sometimes layered with cheese.
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