Food in Egypt-What should you not miss? Egypt
The best place to live in any city when you are traveling is downtown or the most central location of that city. For obvious reasons, a place like a city’s hub is culturally immersive. It helps one to get closer to the city’s culture, and most importantly, it also acts as an exhibit to an essential aspect during travel i.e., food. It helps one connect with the best, and the most authenticate food options. Similarly, my abode is in the heart of Cairo; hence, I have my unique food tale to tell.
‘Downtown Cairo,’ as the name suggests, is the heart of the city. Situated in Old Cairo City, the place is a heaven for foodies. Small coffee shops are exposed as shisha bars under ancient buildings that are reduced to boulder. These antique coffee shops serve freshly squeezed fruit juices, a multitude of different coffees ranging from American, Turkish, Egyptian, Indian, or just Nescafe. Turkish coffee is a must-try option. Turkish coffee is peculiar to this locality as it is widely served, and the locals relish this drink at various occasions. Nonetheless, Downtown Cairo also has items to satisfy hungry stomachs which crave for vegetarian delights.
Falafels have gained popularity globally. To my happiness, Egypt is one of the pioneers in making the best falafels. From small street stalls to high-end restaurants, every menu card has falafels. Locals eat these fried falafels with freshly baked bread called ‘Haesh.’ As a condiment, foul is used. Foul is a dip made with mashed kidney beans and traditional spices. I loved Falafels from the famous Egyptian Franchise called Akher Saa. The best part, they cost less than 10 Egyptian pounds! The relation between the Egyptians and the falafels is genuinely remarkable.
Second, in the list comes the iconic Kosari, which is a typical Egyptian dish. Cooked with macaroni, noodles, tomato puree, garlic, rice, and sprouts, this dish is savored by the locals as their go-to snack. Indeed it’s purely vegetarian! One box from the prominent Abou Tarekh will cost about 9 pounds!
Tourist cities in Egypt boast of splendid beaches and mouth-watering shacks. These shacks act as occidental cafes serving a variety of cuisine, which includes Mexican, Italian, and Spanish. Vegetarian food might be scarce to find since there are minimal options; hence, it is always advised to carry packed food. However, some cities like Hurghada and Dahab do have Indian and Oriental restaurants which do offer abundant vegetarian options at the cost of high prices. But, we would like to recommend Agra Roma restaurant in Hurghada, which offers a sundry of vegetarian pizzas, rice, and sandwiches along with delicious milkshakes.
How to find vegetarian food in Egypt?
Almost every restaurant will have at least one vegetarian food item. In Arabic, vegetarian is pronounced as “Na Batiyon,” and hence, on the occasion of a language barrier, this phrase can be used. One must make sure that it is useless scrolling through the menu cards of Mac Donald’s as there is no food option. On the more expensive side, one can check out some restaurants serving Indian and other oriental cuisines. Some restaurants might not have dedicated vegetarian dishes. Thanks to the courteous chefs, meat can be easily omitted from some items by gently requesting them.
We all have a sweet tooth, don’t we?
It is futile to visit Egypt and not to try Egyptian deserts. Traditional cakes include Babousa, which is favored by many countries across the globe. In simple terms, a Babousa is a semolina cake with different ingredients according to the region where it is served. It is easy to find this desert in any local sweet shop. Indians might relish the Gulab Jamun, while the Egyptians have entirely transformed this desert, which now they serve with honey, Nutella, and cream as Zalabya. My first interaction with Zalabeya was on the streets, where the vendor was selling 5 Zalabeya balls for merely 2 pounds! Other deserts that fascinate me include the rice and milk pudding, synonymous with the Indian kheer. Another sweet of Indian origin popular in Egypt is the twisted Jalebi, which can prove to be relishing with honey and sugar syrup.
No one can deny the fact that food is a unique aspect of Egyptian cuisine. Egyptian cuisine has been beautifully integrated with international delicacies, making it favored by people of all origins.