Egyptian cuisine is a delightful blend of flavors, aromas, and cultural influences that have evolved over centuries. From the bustling streets of Cairo to the serene villages along the Nile, Egypt offers a diverse and delicious array of dishes. In this blog post, we’ll explore the top 25 types of Egyptian food that you must try when visiting this historic and gastronomically rich country.
Koshari is arguably Egypt’s most iconic street food. This vegetarian dish features a delightful mix of rice, lentils, pasta, and crispy fried onions, all topped with a spicy tomato sauce.
2. Ful Medames
A staple breakfast dish, ful medames consists of slow-cooked fava beans mixed with olive oil, garlic, lemon, and various spices. It’s often enjoyed with pita bread.
Molokhia is a hearty soup made from the leaves of the jute mallow plant. It’s often cooked with chicken or rabbit and served over rice.
Shawarma, while not originally Egyptian, has become a popular street food. It features tender slices of marinated meat (usually beef or chicken) wrapped in pita bread and served with tahini sauce.
Ta’meya, Egypt’s version of falafel, is made from ground fava beans mixed with herbs and spices, then deep-fried. It’s commonly served in pita bread or on its own.
Hawawshi is a delicious Egyptian sandwich made by stuffing ground meat, usually beef or lamb, mixed with spices, into flatbread and baking it to perfection.
Fattah is a festive dish often served during celebrations. It consists of layers of rice, pita bread, and lamb, all soaked in a garlic-tomato sauce and topped with a yogurt-garlic mixture.
Mahshi refers to any stuffed vegetable dish. Popular choices include stuffed grape leaves (warak enab) and stuffed bell peppers (mahshi fil-felfel).
9. Roz Bel Laban
Roz bel laban is a creamy rice pudding flavored with rosewater or orange blossom water and garnished with pistachios. It’s a popular dessert in Egypt.
Bamia is an okra stew cooked with tomatoes, garlic, and coriander. It’s often served with rice or bread.
11. Samboosa (Samosa)
Samosas are a popular Egyptian snack, usually filled with minced meat or vegetables, then deep-fried to crispy perfection.
12. Roz Meammar
Roz meammar is a fragrant rice dish cooked with butter, vermicelli, and aromatic spices.
Basbousa is a sweet semolina cake soaked in syrup and often topped with almonds or coconut.
Beshamel is an Egyptian pasta dish featuring penne or rigatoni pasta smothered in a creamy white sauce, often with a layer of cheese on top.
Feseekh is a traditional fermented fish dish that’s typically enjoyed during the Sham El Nessim holiday. It has a pungent smell and is an acquired taste.
Luqaimat are sweet, deep-fried dumplings drizzled with honey or syrup and sprinkled with sesame seeds.
Fiteer is a flaky, layered pastry that comes in both sweet and savory versions. It’s often filled with ingredients like cheese, honey, or minced meat.
Mulukhiyah is a leafy green vegetable stew often cooked with chicken, rabbit, or other meats. It’s served with rice or bread.
19. Macarona Bechamel
Macarona bechamel is a pasta dish made with layers of pasta, minced meat, and a creamy bechamel sauce, then baked until golden brown.
20. Kebda Iskandarani
Kebda iskandarani is a dish of sautéed liver and onions seasoned with spices and often served in a sandwich or with bread.
21. Ta’ameya Beledi
Ta’ameya beledi is a version of ta’meya (falafel) that uses crushed fava beans instead of ground ones. It has a distinct texture and flavor.
Bamia is a tomato-based stew made with okra, often cooked with tender chunks of beef or lamb.
Fatta is a hearty dish featuring layers of bread, rice, and meat, all soaked in a garlic-tomato sauce and served with yogurt.
Goulash is a stew-like dish made with chunks of beef or lamb, cooked in a tomato-based sauce and served with rice or bread.
Mainsara is a traditional Egyptian dish made with pigeon meat, cooked with rice and flavored with a blend of aromatic spices.
The Top 25 Types of Egyptian Food FAQs
- What are some popular Egyptian dishes? Some popular Egyptian dishes include koshari, ful medames, mahshi, and molokhia.
- What is koshari, and why is it famous in Egypt? Koshari is a beloved Egyptian dish made of rice, lentils, macaroni, and a spicy tomato sauce, garnished with fried onions. It’s famous for its delicious combination of flavors and textures.
- What is ful medames, and when is it typically eaten in Egypt? Ful medames is a dish made from fava beans cooked with garlic, lemon juice, and various seasonings. It’s a common breakfast dish in Egypt.
- What are mahshi and wara’enab? Mahshi refers to stuffed vegetables, and wara’enab specifically refers to stuffed grape leaves. These dishes are made by filling vegetables or grape leaves with a mixture of rice, herbs, and often minced meat.
- What is molokhia, and how is it prepared? Molokhia is a green leafy vegetable, and it’s also the name of the soup made from it. The leaves are typically finely chopped and cooked into a soup or stew, often with garlic and coriander.
- What is the difference between ta’ameya and falafel? Ta’ameya and falafel are both deep-fried balls made from ground fava beans or chickpeas, mixed with herbs and spices. The main difference is that ta’ameya is the Egyptian version, often made with fava beans, while falafel is a more generic term for this dish found in many Middle Eastern countries and is often made with chickpeas.
- What is hawawshi, and what does it consist of? Hawawshi is a popular Egyptian street food. It’s a sandwich made with a flatbread stuffed with a spiced mixture of ground meat (usually beef or lamb) and various seasonings.
- What is the Egyptian dish called “kabab wa kofta”? Kabab wa kofta refers to a dish that includes both kababs (skewered and grilled ground meat) and kofta (spiced ground meat patties).
- What is the role of bread in Egyptian cuisine? Bread is a staple in Egyptian cuisine, and it’s typically used as a utensil to scoop up other dishes. Egyptian flatbreads, such as aish baladi, are common.
- What is the traditional Egyptian breakfast like? A traditional Egyptian breakfast often includes dishes like ful medames, ta’ameya or falafel, aish baladi (flatbread), cheese, and various pickled vegetables.
- What is the Egyptian dessert called “basbousa”? Basbousa is a sweet semolina cake soaked in sugar syrup and often garnished with almonds or coconut flakes.
- What are some popular Egyptian desserts? Popular Egyptian desserts include baklava, kunafa, qatayef, and roz bel laban (rice pudding).
- What is the main ingredient in baklava and kunafa? Baklava and kunafa are both made with layers of thin pastry dough, typically phyllo, and are sweetened with syrup. Nuts, such as pistachios or walnuts, are a common filling.
- What is the significance of qatayef in Egyptian cuisine? Qatayef is a dessert often associated with the holy month of Ramadan. It’s a type of stuffed pancake that can be filled with various sweet fillings like cheese or nuts.
- What is the national dish of Egypt? While there isn’t a single “national” dish, koshari is often considered one of Egypt’s most iconic dishes.
- Are there vegetarian or vegan Egyptian dishes? Yes, many Egyptian dishes are vegetarian or vegan, such as koshari, ta’ameya, molokhia, and various stuffed vegetables.
- What are some traditional Egyptian beverages? Traditional Egyptian beverages include hibiscus tea (karkadeh), sahlab (a hot milk-based drink), and various fruit juices.
- Can you find international cuisine in Egypt? Yes, Egypt’s cities offer a wide range of international cuisines, including Italian, Chinese, and fast food.
- Is Egyptian cuisine known for its use of spices? Egyptian cuisine often incorporates a variety of spices, such as cumin, coriander, and garlic, which add depth and flavor to many dishes.
- Are there specific dishes associated with Egyptian celebrations or holidays? Yes, dishes like stuffed grape leaves and qatayef are often prepared during special occasions and holidays.
- Can I easily find street food in Egypt? Yes, Egyptian street food is readily available and offers a delicious and affordable way to explore local cuisine.
- What are the typical ingredients used in Egyptian cooking? Typical ingredients include beans, rice, bread, vegetables, various meats, and a range of herbs and spices.
- Is it common to share dishes when dining in Egypt? Yes, sharing dishes is a common practice in Egyptian dining, allowing people to sample a variety of flavors.
- What is the most unusual or unique Egyptian dish? Some might find dishes like koshari, molokhia, or stuffed grape leaves unique and different from what they’re accustomed to.
- Can I learn how to cook Egyptian dishes while visiting Egypt? Yes, some cooking classes and culinary tours in Egypt offer the opportunity to learn how to prepare traditional Egyptian dishes.