A table displaying Haloumi Cheese and Fattouch Salad and Meatballs with Roman and Tahina with Beetroot

Discover the Richness of Egyptian Cuisine

Wherever the wind may take us, our love for the land and its people also goes through the stomach. Travelers to Egypt might initially think of remedies for travel sicknesses. But Egyptian cuisine has much to offer beyond those concerns.

Egyptian cuisine is a vibrant tapestry. It is woven from the threads of history, geography, and cultural influences. Beyond the iconic dishes highlighted in traditional recipes, there’s a rich diversity of flavors and culinary traditions. They wait that you may discover them across the country.

A table displaying Haloumi Cheese and Fattouch Salad and Meatballs with Roman and Tahina with Beetroot
Haloumi Cheese and Fattouch Salad and Meatballs with Roman and Tahina with Beetroot.

Tantalizing Street Food in Cairo

In the bustling streets of Cairo, tantalizing aromas waft from street food stalls. They offer a myriad of savory delights. From the falafel sandwiches stuffed with crisp chickpea fritters and tangy tahini sauce to sizzling skewers of kofta kebabs seasoned with aromatic spices, every corner offers a new culinary adventure.

Fresh Flavors from Egypt’s Nile Delta

A table with plate of ful and yoghurt and view of pyramid in the background and water in the middle
Mena House breakfast Ful Medames and yoghurt

Venturing beyond the urban sprawl, Egypt’s fertile Nile Delta and lush oases yield an abundance of fresh produce. That forms the cornerstone of traditional Egyptian food. Vibrant salads bursting with ripe tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, and fragrant herbs are a refreshing accompaniment to hearty mains.

One such dish is Ful Medames, a hearty breakfast staple. People make it from slow-cooked fava beans seasoned with garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil. Served with a sprinkle of fiery chili flakes and a wedge of tangy feta cheese, it’s a satisfying start to the day that fuels both body and soul.

For seafood lovers, Egypt’s coastal regions offer a bounty of treasures from the Mediterranean and Red Seas. Grilled fish marinated in zesty citrus juices and fragrant spices are a specialty.  A colorful array of mezze dishes accompany them,  ranging from creamy hummus to smoky baba ghanoush. Among the best Egyptian restaurants you find close to Alexandria also a place called “Seagull” with another kind of first class Egyptian cuisine.

Trying Egyptian dishes for the first time

To continue with a personal example: I remember well the first time I tried Molokhia, a kind of creamy vegetable sauce reminiscent of spinach. In fact, one could also describe it as a little slimy, and imaginative people might find that off-putting when eating it!

Of course, where and on what occasion one eats something is also crucial. Certain dishes of Egyptian cuisines are unbeatable in taste when enjoyed often in the desert.

Since we are specialists in desert trips, we also carefully select the chefs for such journeys. Certainly the most beautiful sand dune appears only half as beautiful when the stomach is not satisfied.

Try Shakshouka: A Traditional Egyptian Dish

Eggs in a pan in a bed of tomatoe sauce
Shakshuka

Ingredients:

  • Eggs
  • Oil
  • Chopped onion
  • Tomato sauce
  • Green bell peppers
  • Garlic
  • Different spices (cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper)

Recipe:

  1. Heat oil in a pan and add chopped vegetables.
  2. Add spices (cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper) and stir for 5 minutes.
  3. Add tomato sauce and let it simmer for another 5 minutes.
  4. Finally crack the egg into the sauce and cover it with the lid, wait another 5 minutes.

Now you have the most famous Egyptian breakfast dish. Enjoy!

Tourist served in desert by two locals pouring drink from kettle
A silver slightly fire burnt teapot in the desert sand

Unquestionably, it is always fascinating to watch the desert cook preparing his dishes. With relatively few equipment (i.e., a small gas stove, a few pots and pans, and the corresponding ingredients for his meal), he chops, stirs, and fries often for hours (while the guests are out). Finally he proudly receives them with a lovingly prepared and visually appealing meal.

In the tranquil oasis town of Siwa, nestled amidst the dunes of the Western Desert, a unique culinary heritage flourishes. Here, the indigenous Berber population has preserved ancient traditions and flavors that reflect the harsh beauty of their surroundings.

One must-try delicacy is the famous Siwan date palms. People prize them for their succulent fruit and sweet, caramel-like flavor. Date syrup, known as dibs, is a staple ingredient in local cuisine. It adds depth and richness to both sweet and savory dishes.

A white bearded man wearing white shirt and white Egyptian traditional headwear picking orange coloured Siwadates dates from tree in garden

A Culinary Safari: Must-Try Egyptian Dishes

Lentil and rice in a dish with green garnish

Koshari Iskandarani is a typical Egyptian dish that hails from Alexandria, Egypt. You make it of simple pantry ingredients, which are orange lentil and rice. This dish is vegan, yet some variations has Egyptian fried boiled Eggs, placed on top of the dish. 

Karkadeeh refers to a traditional refreshing cold Egyptian beverage. You make it of dried hibiscus flowers that are grown in the south of Egypt. People consume Karkadeeh is widely during hot summer season or at Iftar after a long day of Ramadan fasting.

Red juice poured from glass jar into a glass

Baba Ghanoush is an Egyptian vegan appetizer and dip that is served either with festive kabab dishes or humble vegan foul Mesdames or falafel.

Mahshi Koronb is a decadent Egyptian dish and comfort food that consists of cabbage leaves stuffed with a mixture of rice, aromatic herbs and spices. Then you cook it in a fragrant broth until tender.

Platter full of stuffed cabbage rolls Mahsi Koronob cooked

The Art of Egyptian Home Cooking

Generally, I think, especially with traditional Egyptian cuisines, you can tell that people do it with love or should do it with love. The making of stuffed grape leaves, for example, is like a test of Egyptian wives’ skills as homemakers and cooks for the family: the finer they are rolled, the better the cook! Future husbands and mothers-in-law do value this.

As I have noted also, Egypt is not particularly a country for vegetarians. Although nowadays you can find all kinds of foods and restaurants in the big cities. But according to Egyptian taste, a meal has only really taken place if there has been meat involved, no matter what else is on the table.

Restaurant Heissa table and chairs for diners

And if you want to enjoy Egyptian cuisine in a special atmosphere in Cairo, we recommend one of the best Egyptian restaurants, “Le Pasha,” a boat in the Zamalek district, which is now only anchored but still offers diners a beautiful view of the Nile while eating.

As the sun sets over the Nile and the call to prayer echoes across the rooftops, Egypt’s culinary landscape continues to evolve. It  blends tradition with innovation in a celebration of flavor and culture. Whether dining in a bustling souk or a luxurious riverside restaurant, every meal offers a taste of the rich tapestry that is Egyptian cuisine.

"Dabuka Blue" – Our Personal Offer on Lake Nasser

In fact, we are now also proud to offer super tasty Egyptian cuisines. On our Luxury Safari Boat, the Dabuka Blue, for example, we will spoil you with a multi-course dinner that does not repeat on any of the travel days and offers something for every taste.

Life sometimes has surprises in store for everyone – personally, I never thought I would become a boat owner. However, what some call coincidence led me on a trip with Tarek to Aswan last year. Here an idea was born that has now been realized in wood and steel: We now offer not only land journeys but also water voyages.

Originally a fishing boat, it can now accommodate up to 10 people. It travels from Aswan to Abu Simbel and back. With a carefully selected interior and a crew that pampers guests around the clock, we aim to combine adventure and comfort.

So what sets it apart – a hallmark of ours! – is its individuality. Far from the crowds, our Dabuka Blue charts its own course. Each stop is different and offers unique exploration opportunities.

Our captain and tour guide are happy to accommodate guests’ requests whenever possible.

So, as you embark on your culinary journey through Egypt, be sure to savor every bite. The true essence of this ancient land lies not only in its monuments and treasures but also in its vibrant and diverse culinary heritage. Bon appétit!

Couple on a boat with Nile River behind them
Tarek and Dorothee- owners of the Luxury Safari Boat, the Dabuka Blue and Dabuka Travel

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