Since the start of time, Egyptians have been elite chiefs. They created their dishes, mastered cooking them, loved them, and took pride in their ownership. The secret of their recipes is still under debate; nobody knows if it is the special spices they used? Is it the way they cooked the rice? Is it the beans? It is still unknown why the Egyptian food is so different and distinguishable.
As you wander the streets of Egypt, there is no doubt that you will be interrupted more than once by the beauty of the smell of different Egyptian meals. Many of tourists have fallen in love with Egypt and kept coming back because of their love to the Egyptian food. The Egyptian dishes have managed very well to capture the heart of every visitor and resident.
Egyptians love to eat when they feel down, so food can elevate their mood. When they want to celebrate, the cook and eat food. The best place to hang out with their friends is local restaurants. Indeed, Egyptians took advantage of any opportunity to cook and appreciate the authenticity of their food.
Egyptians have also linked some special dishes with specific seasons. For example, most of the Egyptian families, even Christian Egyptians, tend to love eating mahshy and duck on the first Ramadan day which is the Islamic holy month. Mahshy is a vegetable stuffed with rice. In cold weather and rainy seasons, you will find lentil soup being cooked in every Egyptian home- you might call it tradition.
As lentil soup is cooked in rainy days at home, if Egyptians plan to go outside in cold days, they would naturally search for any cart the sells Halabesa. Halabesa is a chickpea hot soup. It is served in cups along with straws, and you would find its sellers in kiosks that stands proud by the Nile or the seashore. Indeed, you will be enjoying the original Egyptian vibes of these kiosks as you would find them decorated with beautiful Arabic calligraphy. You will also find the owners of those kiosks playing Egyptian music. This vibe is something that you would not like to miss out.
However, other Egyptian meals are popular in every time and place. Egyptian ful, beans, is on top of the examples. Almost every Egyptian home has ful in their breakfast plate. It is pronounced as fool. Even though it is a very affordable meal, you will find it in every home no matter which social class it belongs to.
You can buy it from the many colorful ful carts scattered in the many Egyptian streets. Those carts are usually crowded in the morning hours because people love to get their ful sandwiches before going to work. You can add to it egg, cheese, or the other famous Egyptain dish called Tameya. Since it requires long hours pre-cooking, you can find its pre made version in local markets.
Tameya or Falafell is another popular and traditional breakfast dish in the Egyptian culture. It is usually accompanied with ful, eggs, cheese, and pita bread. It is made of fava beans. Fava beans are soaked into water at first, and then it is smashed in a food processer, and finally mixed with other vegetables, onion, garlic, and leek. This combination of ingredients is what gives tameya its clear and vibrant green color. The added spices are its secret ingredient that gives it the perfect fresh flavor. Finally, it is shaped into little balls and fried in very hot oil.
Looking for one of the very famed Egyptian national dishes? Koshari is one of the most unique and traditional food in Egypt. Egyptians are fond of this meal because of its low price compared to its nutritional value. It is very rich with carbs and indeed a filling meal. You can find it anywhere in Egypt either in local restaurants or carts. It is made of layers of caramelized onion, rice, macaroni, lentils, and chickpeas along with a flavored thick red sauce on top of all layers. This interesting nix is what gives it a very addictive taste and flavor. Some people prefer adding to Koshari garlic, vinegar, and chili sauce.
If you are a vegetarian traveler, and you are searching for a high value and very delicious meal, Mahshi is your right choice. It is a favorite meal for almost all Egyptians to the extent that it is usually cooked in festivals and special events. Most travellers to Egypt who already have tasted Mahshi love to eat it in their first day in Egypt. Mahshi is basically rice mixed with some special ingredients, herbs, tomato sauce and spices and stuffed into different types of vegetables, such as bell peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, eggplants, cabbage leaves, or grapevine leaves.
Molokhia is a must try dish in Egypt, and its cooking traditions are very dependent on the region of Egypt. It is a dish for all Egyptian classes. Some people treat it as a soup and other as a meal. It is made of leafy green that has been cut into small pieces and cooked in beef, chicken, or seafood broth. Then fried garlic and ground coriander are added to the dish while it is being cooked.
An interesting myth that Egyptians believe in regarding Molokhia is that they have to make a very loud inhaling sound while adding the garlic to push away bad luck from the dish, so the Molokhia tastes better. It is usually prepared along with rice or Egyptian bread.
One of the Egyptian traditional dishes’s that origins from ancient Egyptian time is Fattah.
Egyptians enjoy cooking Fattah in their happy days. It is the main dish in the Islamic feast. Fattah is cooked also in weddings and when celebrating newborn babies. The way it is cooked is simple, but it holds so much tradition. In festivals, Egyptians would care that everyone would eat Fattah, so you will find the rich distributing Fattah over the people who live in poorer districts. As I have mentioned, Fattah means love to Egyptians. It is made of bread soaked into meat broth in its bottom layer, rice above it, and thick red tomato sauce and large meat pieces topping those layers.
No matter where you are standing in Egypt, you will always find those mentioned delicious meals served at any time and place. If you are a tourist who is visiting Alexandria, you will find all those dishes besides mouthwatering seafood meals. Alexandria residents mastered cooking all different types of fishes.
If you are in Cairo, Downtown is famous for its large number of various local restaurants. It would be hard to choose from. Food prices in downtown is very affordable, so you can enjoy trying as many dishes as you want. Also, Downtown is famous for its touristic and historic value.
If you are flying to Upper Egypt, for example Luxor and Aswan, you will be so lucky for people who live there are known for their generosity, kindness, and authenticity. They enjoy a very particular simple lifestyle; they love to eat on a rounded low table. And there is no doubt that you will be fond of the meals they cook. One last thing to add, don’t forget to drink a hot cup of tea after enjoying the Egyptian meals. Tea after food is a part of the Egyptian eating rituals.
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