As what hard-core backpackers and travellers say, you never get to fully experience a country’s culture unless you go out and taste their local cuisine especially their street food; and that’s what every traveller to Egypt should be reminded about.
Like Egypt itself, its cuisine offers a strongexotic taste that is evident of the country’s rich historical and cultural background. Egypt offers a healthier food option with its traditional mix of vegetables, unique spices and additive-free breads.
Egypt’s local cuisine is definitely a mix of Arab, Mediterranean and a bit of European influence that did not just produce suchfulfilling delicacies but are actually sold at very cheap prices in the streets of Cairo and other Egyptian cities.
It is understood that some people’s digestive system may not react well with exotic dishes or some may be too sensitive when it comes to street food but if you really need to try it, then just at least prepare some medicine just in case your stomach gets upset at the end of the day. Aside from that, go for stalls which are most popular with locals and tourists alike because they are probably the safest, cleanest and the most delicious choices around!
And now, let’s start our Egyptian taste bud adventure with the most celebrated street food in Egypt- Kushari!
Kushari is some kind of Egyptian rice mix much like the Shawarma Rice and it is a very popular Egyptian dish eaten by the rich and poor alike. This particular dish can actually be considered as a heavy meal (it practically screams CARBS) because it is a mix of pasta (usually elbow macaroni), rice, lentils and chickpeas doused in a special tomato sauce. This is best eaten when you are really famished or when you desperately need that energy to keep going on your Cairo trip.
In Egypt’s street food scene, you’ll probably notice a lot of bread stores or stalls and yes, Egypt is indeed big on breads and sandwiches so you just have to go and take your pick! What’s special about most Egyptian-made bread is that their production did not succumb (just yet) to commercialization. Nowadays, their bread are prepared the same way as they were prepared during the Pharaonic times- so practically, they are free from sugar and additives which makes them very natural and healthy!
In Egypt, you can take the “Diet Bread” which is made out of bran. Bran supposedly quickens your metabolism that’s why it’s called Diet bread. Arabic Bread and Egyptian Thick Loaf Breads are also very common in the street food scene.
Egyptian sandwiches are usually made from Arabic breads with an assorted availability of filling; you can actually take your pick from a certain dish of choice, assorted vegetables such as artichoke, eggplant, and beans and can even include yoghurts and French fries!
Now this Egyptian delicacy can actually be eaten by itself or with Arabic Bread. Ful Medames or Mashed Fava Beans is a sort of mushed Bean paste and are also very common in the streets of Egypt. Moreover, this dish is also very nutritious and can be eaten in small or big portions depending on how hungry you are!
In this dish, the beans are traditionally cooked in a clay pot and are seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice and garlic; other spices like Cayenne may also be mixed to make it more special. Arabic breads with Ful fillings are not just tasty and nutritious, but are also very satisfying snacks!
If you are the typical meat-lover, Egypt also has its own range of meat dishes which are also quite good but may be a bit pricey compared to the veggie dishes. The most popular meat choices in the country are chicken, beef and lamb.
One of the best loved meat dishes in Egypt is the Kofta Kebab which is minced lamb mixed with certain spices and are roasted over coals on skewers. This dish can also be made as a filling for Arabic bread which can then be brushed with oil and roasted/baked in an oven. The result is then called “Hawawshy”- another Egyptian delicacy that is a crunchy-meaty bread snack which is also readily available in the Egyptian street food scene.
It’s time to ditch the main heavy dishes and proceed with a refreshing Egyptian dessert. The Coctel is typically a Tropical-Mediterranean inspired Egyptian treat with its concoction of bananas, apples, mangoes and yoghurt. Who could resist this sweet refresher in the hot streets of Cairo? Go ahead, indulge!
About Author: Gracezyl Blanco works alongside Egypt Tours as a content writer and manager. As an occasional traveler herself, she loves to explore and unwind at tropical beaches and loves mild outdoor adventures the most. In her free time, she loves to read on historical-fiction literature and watch movies.
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