Egyptian Food & Cuisine
Egypt will always be known for its pyramids, mummies, and the Great Sphinx. However, a trip to the Mediterranean country won’t and shouldn’t just be about seeing those things. What about the Egyptian food you’ll eat when you get there?
You don’t have to go to Egypt in order to enjoy its various food and beverages. Surprisingly, you may find some of them in restaurants near you. You may also look for their recipes online and try to make them yourself.
Whether you’re Egypt-bound or simply curious, below is a list of the country’s top dishes and drinks. Dips, condiments, salads, breads, and desserts are also included.
If Egypt has an official national dish, it would be kushari. This mixed rice dish was first made in the mid-19th century. It was enjoyed in the country ever since.
Macaroni, rice, and lentils make up the main ingredients for kushari. Chickpeas, garlic vinegar, spiced tomato sauce, and crispy fried onions are added on top of the dish. Kushari is perfect for vegans and vegetarians as long as vegetable oil is used for much-needed frying.
Ful medames, also known simply as ful, competes with kushari as Egyptian most famous dish. Some writers deem that ful is among the earliest meals created in the country. They believe that it was first prepared as early as the ancient times.
Cooked fava beans are the primary ingredient for ful. It may be served with egg or vegetable slices. Cumin, chili pepper, onion, garlic, parsley and vegetable oil are added to make it more flavorful.
Ful isn’t only enjoyed in Egypt. You may also find it in restaurants in Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Somalia, and Yemen. It even has local versions in Armenia and Ethiopia.
Molokhiya is the Egyptian soup that’s famous for its green coloring. This is also a popular dish. Like kushari and ful, molokhiya is a proof of Egyptians’ love for vegetables.
Food historians argue about the origins of molokhiya. Some believe it came from Ancient Egypt while others think it’s from Ancient India.
Regardless of its origins, molokhiya is a nutritious dish you should try at least once. To create this dish, finely chopped mallow leaves are mixed with coriander and garlic. The soup is based on chicken broth.
But in the city of Alexandria, rabbit or shrimp broth is used. Meanwhile in Port Said, the broth used is made from fish.
This Egyptian dish is the local version of moussaka. Moussaka is deemed to be a dish from Middle East and Greece. It’s usually based on either potato or eggplant. Mesaqa‘ah, however, is mainly based on eggplant.
To make mesaqa‘ah, eggplant slices are first grilled along with slices of onion, chili pepper, and green pepper. Afterwards, the fried slices are soaked in tomato sauce. Then, the slices are stacked together. Cooked ground beef may be added as well. Once done, the dish is baked.
Mesaqa‘ah may be eaten a few minutes after it’s baked. However, more locals prefer to chill it first to enhance the taste.
Also called dolma, mahshi belongs to the family of stuffed dishes commonly found in Mediterranean countries. The stuffing is made from a mixture of rice, onion, crushed tomatoes, and various herbs and spices.
Once the said ingredients are blended well, they are stuffed into vegetables such as zucchini, eggplant, green bell pepper and even tomato. The stuffing may also be wrapped in cabbage or grape leaves.
The stuffed vegetables are cooked in a pot. The pot is filled with either beef or chicken broth.
It’s not known as to which country mahshi came from. Aside from Egypt, it’s also prepared a lot in Azerbaijan, Greece, Italy, Iraq and Turkey. In Egypt, mahshi is served warm while in other countries, it may be chilled first.
Egyptian coffee first appeared in the Ottoman empire many years ago. Many use the grounds left after drinking the beverage for fortune telling. Egyptian coffee is prepared by mixing ground coffee and hot water in a pot called the cezve. The beans must be grounded to a very fine powder, which is left in the beverage cup when served. It can only be served hot. The fine powder is mixed in the cezve with sugar and water. As soon as the water boils, it’s taken off the heat and served. The beverage is normally served in a traditional cup called the kahve finjanı. The sugar must be added to the beverage while brewing; however, it can be served unsweetened. It is traditionally served with something sweet to eat. You can find the Egyptian coffee brewing guide at Daily Cupo Coffee.
Masaa‘a is another Egyptian dish based on eggplant. Aside from eggplant, green bell pepper and potatoes are the main ingredients for this meal. Chickpeas, onion, garlic, tomato sauce and vegetable oil are also needed to make masaa‘a. Don’t forget the set of seasonings: salt, cumin, pepper and coriander. Mustard may or may not be added.
The main ingredients for masaa‘a are first fried separately. Next, the remaining ingredients (except for chickpeas) are sautéed together. Chickpeas are added as toppings once the other ingredients are cooked.
It takes an hour to create the meal. Masaa‘a is normally served at lunchtime.
Shorbet ads is more popularly known as the Egyptian lentil soup. As its name suggests, lentils, particularly the red ones, are the primary ingredient for this dish. Chicken broth, garlic, onion, coriander, cumin, olive oil and lemon juice make up the rest of the ingredients.
This type of lentil soup tastes better when consumed along with yogurt or milk-based drink. You can also treat it as a dip for eish baladi. To make this a dip, puree the soup as much as you can.
Taro roots are peeled, sliced boiled and fried as preparation for qolqas. They may come with tomato slices or chard leaves. Chopped parsley may or may not be sprinkled over the taro roots before serving.
Qolqas may be eaten in different mealtimes. It’s a side dish that complements well with the main course meals. You can also consume it as a snack.
Sabanekh isn’t originally an Egyptian dish. However, it’s adopted as one of the favorite foods in a country that loves vegetables more.
Sabanekh is basically a spinach stew. It’s best eaten along with rice. It usually comes with small beef chunks. For vegans and vegetarians, however, they can opt for the version that didn’t have beef.
Poached eggs and tomato sauce make up a yummy combination. This dish is called shakshouka. Its name is taken from the Arabic slang meaning mixture. This dish is made more palatable thanks to onions and chili peppers. Nutmeg, paprika, cumin, and cayenne powder are the typical spices used to prepare shakshouka.
Do you have a kid who despises vegetables? You might want to trick him or her into eating peas or beans by serving falafel. The dish isn’t just for the picky kid, though. You can also devour a plate of it.
Also dubbed as ta‘ameya, falafel looks a lot like fried meatballs or beef patties. In reality, though, it’s made from fava beans, chickpeas or a mixture of both. This dish may be dipped in hummus or wrapped in eish baladi.
Meat-lovers also have many Egyptian dishes to enjoy. One of these is kofta.
Kofta is a meatloaf type of dish. The main ingredient may be lamb meat, beef or chicken. Non-Muslims often use pork as well.
The meat is first minced. Salt, cumin, nutmeg, black pepper, garlic, onion and parsley are added to the minced meat. Once blended, the mixture is divided and shaped like cigars. Afterwards, the cigar-shaped minced meat is grilled over charcoal.
The finished product may be dipped in hummus or tahini sauce. Kofta can serve as part of the main course or as an appetizer.
Nowadays, shawarma (also spelled as shawerma) is sold in many cities around the world. It’s likely the most popular Egyptian food out there. In the past, only restaurants offer it. These days, though, shawarma is regarded as a common street food.
Shawarma is prepared by stacking meat slices in a metal spit. Doing so enables the cook to roast the meat vertically. The meat may be roasted using a handheld torch, a built-in grill or both.
Once grilled, the exciting part happens. The meat slices are further sliced. The server usually does some kind of a knife show. The little chunks of meat are stuffed in a wrap.
Kebabs are a staple in American backyard gatherings. Almost all countries around the world have their version. Egypt is no exemption.
Egyptian kebab features slices of beef and/or lamb meat on skewers. The said meat is typically marinated using olive oil, salt, and cumin. Like the kebab you’ve prepared before, Egyptian kebabs are grilled over charcoal.
There are certain Egyptian dishes that are only prepared and consumed for an occasion. Fattah is among those dishes.
Compared to other meals on this list, fattah is far easier to make. Firstly, cooked chunks of lamb meat, prebaked pieces of eish baladi, and cooked rice are mixed together. They are coated with vinegar-based condiments and/or tomato sauce before serving.
Meat and vegetables are used together to make this dish. Beef and lamb meat are the usual kinds of meat sought for torly. As for the vegetables, carrots, tomatoes, potatoes, onions, squash, and green beans form part of the main ingredients. Additional ingredients include vegetable oil, tomato sauce, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, black pepper, and chili pepper.
The seasoned meat and vegetables are cooked separately at first. Afterwards, the cooked ingredients are prepared into layers in a baking tray. The final step is baking them for half an hour.
Torly is one of the Egyptian dishes you can modify in numerous ways. You can make your own version featuring other vegetables. You may also use chicken or pork instead of lamb meat or beef. You may even add shrimp and other types of seafood. That’s what Egyptians living near coastlines do.
In Arabic, bamia literally entails cooked okra. However, this dish variation, known as bamia bi-lahm, features lamb meat as one of the main ingredients.
This stew requires long cooking times. Thus, if the cook doesn’t get the timing right, the meat may end up getting overcooked. Instead of the lamb meat, some locals lamb tendons which can withstand extensive cooking hours.
Tomatoes, tomato sauce, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, coriander, cardamom and vegetable oil add flavors and texture to the dish. An Egyptian garlic sauce called ta‘aleya may be added to this stew as well.
Satisfy your cravings for a savory snack with the help of hawawshi. This food is made from minced meat. Parsley, pepper, onion, and chili ensure the savory taste of the meat. Once these ingredients are mixed, they are filled in an eish baladi or dough and baked.
Many restaurants in Egypt sell this dish. It’s typically bought as take-away food though. It is very popular Egyptian Food.
Kamounia is a type of stew that requires meat and offal. Beef and liver are the commonly used ingredients. These are seasoned using cumin. Olive oil, parsley, garlic and beef broth are also sought for this dish.
If you want something more exciting, you can try the kamounia that features bull’s genitals as one of the ingredients. If you can’t take that, enjoy this stew along with a serving of rice.
Kashk may refer to three different food products. The first one is a milk-based food or drink. The second is any food based on flour and barley broth. The last involves food made from a mixture of curdled milk and cereals. The Egyptian dish keshk is derived from kashk that entails milk-based food.
Dried yogurt and flour are the main ingredients for keshk, which is a type of pudding. Fried onions may be added to add some zing to the dish’s savory taste. It may also be cooked with chicken broth for a richer flavor.
- Egyptian Goulash
Goulash is originally a Hungarian stew. However, you can trust Egyptians to put their own twist on the said dish.
The Egyptian goulash is better known as phyllo meat pie. It’s a pretty complicated dish to make. However, it’ll be worth it because the result is a flaky, savory pie that will make you feel full for several hous.
Hamam mahshi is a little different from the mahshi dish. The former’s defining characteristic is the usage of squab, or domesticated pigeon. In contrast, mahshi uses vegetables and leaves.
Like the standard mahshi, hamam mahshi is filled with stuffing. Then, it’s marinated and roasted in an oven. It’s similar to the roasted chicken and turkey in the West.
Eggah is a type of omelet. Aside from eggs, flour and parsley are sought to make this meal. In addition to the typical herbs and spices used, raisins and pine nuts may be added to this omelet.
As a versatile dish, it can be served as a snack, a breakfast food, or a part of the main course. You may also find it as a side dish or appetizer.
The use of cow’s trotters is the highlight of kaware. The feet of the cattle are made to boil in preparation for this dish. The resulting soup may be served along with or separately from the cooked cow’s trotters.
If you’re in a little honeymoon in Cairo or Alexandria, you might want to include kaware for your dinner. It may not suit an evening date with your partner, but you can benefit from its aphrodisiac properties.
If you love offal, you’re bound to enjoy mombar. This dish is made from sheep intestines. In other Arab countries like Algeria, Libya, and Syria, beef sausage may be used as an alternative to sheep offal. The intestines or beef sausage is usually filled with rice mixture and fried.
Also called fawaregh, the Egyptian variant uses tomatoes, coriander, garlic, and onion. Additional ingredients include oil, tomato sauce and different spices. The usual spices used are cinnamon, turmeric, black pepper and cayenne pepper.
Mombar is best served when hot. It normally takes an hour to cook in a pot. Afterwards, it’s either baked or heated in a frying pan to achieve that brown color.
Kersha is an offal-based Egyptian dish. Its main ingredient is from the edible stomach linings of cow and sheep. This form of offal is known as tripe.
Kersha is simply a tripe stew. Because it’s made from offal, it’s often considered as one of the challenging food to eat in the world.
- Kebda Eskandarani
Alexandria is recognized locally for its seafood-based cuisines. However, the city has a lot to offer aside from those. One of its prized food is kebda eskandarani.
The dish is a hit or miss for the locals. After all, it got a slight bitter taste. The bitterness comes from the main ingredient which is cow liver.
Kebda eskandarini is a kind of liver sandwich. Despite not being a total favorite, many fast-food chains in Alexandria offer this.
The locals living in Egyptian coastlines take pride in this dish. Some restaurants may offer sayadiyah. But it’s not as palatable as the one served in Alexandria and other areas near the Mediterranean Sea and Red Sea.
Sayadiyah is relatively a simple dish. Rice, onion, and tomato paste make up its main ingredients. Fish is optional, except when the dish is prepared in Egyptian coastlines. Salt, cumin, cinnamon, paprika, coriander and garlic powder are the usual seasonings used for this dish.
Bluefish, bass, tilapia and mullet are among the fish added in sayadiyah. The fish is fried separately, but it’s added to the plate of the cooked rice. With or without fish, this dish will be one of your favorites if you’re into spicy meals.
Grey mullet is the primary ingredient for fesikh. To prepare the said meal, the fish is fermented, salted, and dried. For the locals who don’t live near the Mediterranean Sea and Red Sea, they use whitefish as replacement for mullet.
Fesikh is a celebratory dish. It’s traditionally consumed during Sham el-Nessim, a national day in Egypt signaling the start of spring season.
- Salata Baladi
Salata baladi is a form of salad that’s often served along with other starters. Cucumber, chili, onion, and tomatoes are sought to create this salad. The dressing is usually made from cumin, coriander, parsley, vinegar, and oil.
The name of this dish is derived from an Arabic term that either means dip or seasoning. However, tabbouleh isn’t a sauce; it’s actually a type of vegetable salad.
Tomato and onion slices are among the main ingredients of tabbouleh. They’re mixed with finely chopped parsley and mint leaves. Soaked bulgur is also one of the primary ingredients. Bulgur is a form of cereal processed from groats of various wheat species.
Salt, pepper, lemon juice and olive oil are added to the mixture. Some use garlic as well. Couscous also serve as alternative to bulgur.
Unlike the Western version of vegetable salad, tabbouleh is usually served as one of the dishes for a meze. Meze is a set of small dishes accompanied by alcoholic beverages.
- Macaroni Béchamel
Forget baked mac and lasagna for a while and try what Egyptians have to offer: macaroni béchamel. This dish makes use of penne but omits cheese in its list of ingredients. Instead of cheese, béchamel sauce is used. The said sauce is the delightful product of milk and white roux mixture.
- Rozz Me‘ammar
The term rozz entails rice. That’s what rozz me‘ammar is based from.
Rozz me‘ammar is considered a part of the main course. This rice dish is loved for its creamy taste. It owes such taste from the milk, butter or cream added to the broth or stock.
- Eish Baladi
You might have known what eish baladi tasted before. This Egyptian bread is the same as pita or pitta. In Arabic, eish entails bread.
As mentioned before, this type of bread is used or served along with other meals. You can eat it along with meat, vegetables, and even desserts.
- Eish Fino
Eish fino may not taste far from the breads you can buy in other countries. After all, its main ingredient is wheat flour. However, what makes this worth searching in Egypt is the kind of filling it may have.
This long bread roll may be stuffed with halawa or locally made cheese. If you’re daring, you can go for the cow liver-filled eish fino.
- Eish Merahrah
This flatbread is widely produced in the Egyptian countryside. Eish merahrah is made from maize flour and ground fenugreek seeds. The preparation for this bread is quite complex. Thankfully, it’s rich in protein. It can also be stored for up to two weeks.
- Eish Shamsi
Locals living near the Nile River prefer eish shamsi over eish baladi. In their language, eish shamsi literally entails sun bread. Traditionally, it’s baked in domed clay ovens, around dawn.
Wheat flour is the basic ingredient for eish shamsi. The finished product is characterized as a thick sourdough bread.
Bataw is one of the common kinds of bread you can find in Egypt. However, the ingredients used for this bread differ from one region to another.
In Qena, no other ingredient is used aside from barley. Fenugreek and corn are the primary ingredients of bataw for residents in Akhmim. Meanwhile, a mixture of corn and barley are sought as ingredients in Asyut.
- Feteer Meshaltet
Some consider feteer meshaltet as a main course material while others don’t. Regardless of that, this Egyptian food will always be among the best breads in their country. Also known simply as feteer, this bread is loved for its flavorful fillings which are either sweet or savory.
- Baba Ghanoush/Baba Ghannoug
Who could have thought that eggplant would be a great ingredient for a dip? Egyptians thought that and gifted humanity with baba ghanoush or baba ghannoug. Aside from eggplant, other ingredients for this dip include cumin, salt, pepper, parsley, lemon juice, and oil.
Besarah is a distinct dip in many North African countries. Leafy greens and peeled fava beans are blended together to prepare this dip. It’s typically chilled before serving. Fried onion may serve as its toppings as well.
This Egyptian condiment got its name from an Arabic term that entails “to pound”. As its name suggests, its ingredients, which consist of herbs, spices and nuts, are pounded together. Then it forms a dry, flavorful mixture that’s used as a dip for breads or fresh vegetables.
Hazelnuts are usually sought for this condiment. As for the set of spices, it differs from one maker to another. But the most commonly used spices are black pepper, chickpeas, coriander, cumin, marjoram, mint, sesame, and zaatar.
This popular dip has its Egyptian roots. In the Mediterranean country, hummus is made using cumin. Its main ingredient, however, is chickpeas.
To create hummus, the chickpeas are cooked and mashed. Salt, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil are then added to the mashed chickpeas. Tehina may also be sought to enhance the taste of hummus.
Tehina works as either ingredient or dip. The term is borrowed from local languages which entail to grind.
Sesame is the basic ingredient for tehina. This ingredient is hulled, toasted and grounded first. Garlic and lemon juice help transform the grounded sesame into a paste-like condiment or dip.
Egypt is regarded as one of torshi’s places of origin. Some believe it may be from other nearby countries such as Turkey, Israel, Iran, Iraq, Jordan and Croatia.
Torshi is an easy dish featuring a mixture of vegetables. The Egyptian variant traditionally used pickled ones. Eggplant and carrots are among the commonly used vegetables in most torshi variations.
- Salatit Zabadi and Salatit Khiyar Bi-l-zabadi
Salatit zabadi is a classic Egyptian dip you can easily make. The only ingredients needed are Greek plain yogurt, cucumber, garlic, mint, salt and olive oil. Just prepare and toss the said ingredients together to create the dip. You may also season it with cumin if you want.
If you’re not fond of cucumbers, you can modify this dish by removing the said ingredients. By doing so, the dip you’ll make is no longer salatit zabadi. It’s going to be salatit khiyar bi-l-zabadi.
Both of the said dips are served along with eish baladi or grilled meats. They may form part of a meze as well.
Areesh is a local cheese derived from strained and unstrained yogurt. It’s white, soft and savory. It may serve as a filling for breads or as an ingredient for shanklish.
Shanklish is another kind of local cheese. It has a stronger flavor and smell than areesh’s, all thanks to the fermentation process done to create it.
- Gebna Domiati
The Arabic term gebna denotes cheese. Meanwhile, the word domiati is inspired by Damietta, the city where the cheese was first made.
Gebna domiati is the most in-demand cheese in Egypt. It satisfies around three quarters of the country’s demand for such product. Cow or buffalo milk is the basis for this cheese.
In English, baramily means barrel cheese. As its name suggests, this cheese is prepared by keeping them in barrels for a long time.
Sheep and goat’s milk are the main ingredient for this type of cheese. Some makers tend to use cow’s milk as well. Unlike other Egyptian cheese, halloumi may be fried, grilled, brined or spiced. You can also eat it on its own.
Mish is another cheese made from areesh. Its most notable feature is its saltiness. It’s one of the saltiest cheeses, not just in Egypt, but around the world. It owes its saltiness in the salted whey used to ferment it.
- Rumi Cheese
Gebna rumi, or simply rumi, is the Egyptian cheese popular in and out of the country. It’s popular for its salty taste and crumbly nature. The cost of this cheese is partly influenced by its age.
- Foie Gras
A serving of foie gras is deemed as a form of luxury. Made from the liver of a goose or duck, this is well-loved for its buttery texture and taste.
Ask any Egyptian about the kind of dessert you shouldn’t miss from their country. They’re most likely answer konafa. This dessert is made by soaking a sweet cheese pastry in sugary syrup.
Compared to other desserts on this list, qatayef or atayef is one of those Egyptian foods that you can only taste during Ramadan. This dessert may be filled with cream or a mixture of raisins and nuts.
Various layers of phyllo pastry are prepared to create this delectable treat. Nuts are filled into the different layers as well. Before it’s served, baqlawa is soaked in sweet syrup.
Like baqlawa, basbousa is also an Egyptian dessert prepared by soaking in syrup. The primary ingredient for this dessert is semolina. Semolina is the byproduct of the wheat-milling process.
Batata is Egyptian’s version of roasted sweet potato. It’s considered as a street food in cities. Nevertheless, a lot of people in the countryside also delight in this simple food.
- Egyptian Couscous
Sugar, nuts and fried fruit make the Egyptian couscous a delightful dessert. It’s also coated with butter. Instead of butter, some use eshta or clotted cream
- Eish El Saraya
Eish el saraya is a popular Middle Eastern dessert that’s been integrated in Egyptian cuisine for decades. There are numerous variants of this dessert but the common ingredients include corn flour, sugar, milk, condensed milk and whipping cream. Chopped pistachios are the favorite toppings for this dessert.
Fakhfakhina may be consumed as a food or a drink. It’s basically a fruit salad or cocktail that you can see as street food in Egypt.
- Fig Roll
Fig roll is deemed to be a Turkish dessert. However, through trading in the old times, the ancient Turks exchanged ingredients and maybe recipes with ancient Egyptians.
This dessert is actually a cake. The sweetened roll is made more delicious by filling it with fig paste.
Ghoraiba is a lot like shortbread. Flour, sugar and butter are the main ingredients for this sweet biscuit.
Halawa is among the ultimate sweets you should taste in this lifetime. This is traditionally served in blocks. In recent years, however, some of them are sold as slices.
- Semolina Cake
Harissa is another name for semolina cake. While the former sounds beautiful and sweet, it may denote a Middle Eastern dish that is spicy.
- Egyptian Jalebi
Zalabia and zulbia are other names for this North African dessert. The Egyptian jalebi is made from sugar, ghee, saffron and flour. Aside from its taste, its appearance is another exciting thing about this dessert.
During the end of Ramadan, kahk is one of the foods typically served. Kahk is actually a form of sweet biscuit made more delightful thanks to its icing sugar covering. It may also be filled with walnuts or dates.
- Keshk El Omara
Keshk el omara is a cold dessert that’s mainly consumed during Ramadan. It’s recognized for being the smooth and creamy pudding.
Ladida is a less-known delicacy among tourists and locals alike. It might be because it came from Lebanon. Nevertheless, more and more Egyptians discover this dessert in their areas.
- Luqmet El Qadi
The Judge’s Bite is the literal translation of the Egyptian dessert, luqmet el qadi. Luqmet el qadi is duality in donut form. Imagine a crusty appearance and texture but having soft and syrupy filling. That’s what the dessert tastes and looks like.
Like ladida, malban is originally from Lebanon as well. However, it has become one of the favorite candies in Egypt. Children and adult alike will enjoy this jelly-like candy.
Mehalbeya is richly sweet thanks to the boiled milk used to make it. The usage of orange or rose water further improves the flavor and color of this desert.
If you’re in search for confections you can keep a small plastic, melabbes is the way to go. This bite-sized dessert is from sugar-covered almonds.
Molasses and sesame are mixed together to form a thickened dessert called mifattah. You may consume this dessert on its own. Another option is to turn it into condiments for your other dishes.
- Om Ali
Om ali, also spelled as umm ali, is Egypt’s representative bread pudding. It’s best eaten when hot. Milk, coconut, raisins and rice or puff pastry are utilized to make this dessert.
- Qara Asali
Whether or not it’s pumpkin spice latte season, you’re bound to enjoy the Egyptian pumpkin, qara asali. Qara asali is actually the Egyptian pumpkin pie known for its sweetness.
- Rozz Bel Laban
Rozz bel laban is a rice-based type of dessert. Instead of the typical rice used for the main course, this dessert uses short grain white rice. Sugar, vanilla and full-cream milk are additional ingredients.
- Sahlab-based Dessert or Drink
Food products derived from orchids are rarely heard in the West. But in Egypt, Turkey, Greece and their neighboring countries, they have what they call salep. Egyptians refer to theirs as sahlab.
Sahlab is a form of flour. Instead of wheat, this is made from tubers of some orchid species. Military orchid and early-purple orchid are among the orchids that serve as source of such tubers.
Once turned into flour, it can be added as an ingredient in different desserts and drinks. Sahlab may be used to improve the flavor and texture of an ice cream, tea or coffee.
- Tamr/Sweetened Dates
Dates are everywhere in most countries in the Middle East and North Africa. You can consume these like your regular snacks. But if you prefer something yummier, you can opt for the sweetened types. These are called as tamr.
- Amar Al-din
Sheets of dried apricot can be consumed as either candies or drinks. To turn them as beverage, simply add water to the dried fruit. The resulting thick beverage is called amar al-din.
- Anise-infused Tea
Anise is a flowering plant that’s native in the Mediterranean region. It’s a source of a spice that’s added in various dishes and drinks.
Try a cup of anise-infused tea especially when you’re dealing with nausea or cramps. The drink will help quell the discomfort from the said conditions.
- Aseer Asab
Aseer asab is probably the Egyptian counterpart of the West’s lemonade. The former is a form of juice derived from sugarcane. Lemonade stalls may be hard to find in the Mediterranean country but it’s easy to spot sellers of the sugarcane drink.
Aswanli is an Egyptian beer. This dark colored beer is produced in the city of Aswan.
- Cantaloupe Juice
Juice is arguably the second most loved drink in Egypt. Cantaloupe juice is among such beverage. Pureed cantaloupe or slices of the fruit are sought to make its juice.
- Carob Juice
During the end of Ramadan, Muslims in Egypt consume a lot carob juice. In their country, they refer to the drink as sharab al-kharroub.
Fayrouz is one of Egyptian drinks you shouldn’t miss. It features one or more types of fruits such as apple, apricot and watermelon.
- Egyptian Hot Lemonade
Bid your sore throat goodbye with a sip of Egyptian hot lemonade. Instead of lemon juice, the tanginess from this beverage is mainly from the mint leaves.
- Mowz Bil Laban
Enjoy a banana drink before, during and after your tour in major destinations in Egypt. Mowz bil laban is a form of banana smoothie.
Kahwa is Egypt’s own version of green tea. It’s usually consumed right after breakfast.
In many tourist spots in Egypt, you can find some food stalls that sell karkadeh. This beverage is deemed to have health benefits. One of those benefits is the reduction of blood pressure.
One of the interesting things about this drink is that it’s made from sepals of a flowering plant. If you have hibiscus at home, you might want to search for a karkadeh recipe online and try to make the base for the drink.
- Licorice Tea
Teas are top beverage in Egypt. One of the best teas you should try there is licorice tea. This sweet drink will take away all the prejudice you might have against teas before.
- Sa‘idi Tea
Sa‘idi tea shares the spotlight with kushari tea for two of the most popular beverages in Egypt. If Lower Egypt likes kushari tea, the Upper one goes for sa‘idi tea. In the past, it’s served with little to no sweetener. Nowadays, this tea is enjoyed when mixed with sugar.
- Shay Bil Na‘na
Shay bil na‘na basically denotes mint tea. This drink is offered in many cafes in Cairo.
Coconut and milk are blended together to create this refreshing drink. You can find this in many street food stalls.
- Laban Rayeb
In Lower Egypt, you can take a sip of curdled skim milk known as laban rayeb. Laban rayeb is sometimes used as an ingredient in meal preparation. However, it may also be consumed like other beverages.
- Jawafa Bil Laban
One of the most exciting fruit-based drinks in Egypt is jawafa bil laban. The term jawafa denotes guava which is the main ingredient for this drink.
- Tamr Hindi
From its name alone, you probably thought about the sour, brown fruit. Tamr hindi, a common drink during Ramadan, is actually from tamarind. Both the fruit and the drink mean Indian dates in Arabic.
Tamr hindi is served chilled to help quell the natural sourness of the fruit. To make this drink, you can either use the powder or paste sold in many spice stores in Egypt.
- Zabadi Bel‘Assel
Zabadi bel‘assel combines two delicious ingredients for a drink: yogurt and honey. It’s a simple mixture that you can easily prepare by yourself.
You can consume this on its own. However, it’s best enjoyed after munching any Egyptian bread. It also helps you manage the rich, savory taste of main course meals.
The majority of Egyptians are Muslims who are known to avoid drinking beer. But that doesn’t lessen the demand for the said drink in the country.
One of the must-try beers in Egypt is bouza. To be clear, this isn’t the same as the Turkish boza. Bouza is a unique beer that’s based on bread and barley. Another interesting thing about this drink is that it was created way before the first Pharaoh came into power.
- Egyptian Wine
Egypt isn’t one of the biggest wine producers in the world. However, the country takes pride in its budding wine industry. There are vineyards in Middle Egypt and Alexandria that supply the grapes needed to make this beverage. Before new variants are made, try out their wine and taste its difference from European ones.
With the above list of Egyptian food and drinks, you’ll have more things to be excited about when you’re going to the Mediterranean country. Enjoy creating your own versions as well.