Egypt Travel Essentials : Food & Drink




Egyptian food is generally similar to many other Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines, including stuffed vine leaves, grilled meats, and numerous "dips" traditionally eaten with pitta-style bread. Rice with vegetables in tomato sauce, and pasta dishes baked in a similar way to lasagna, are both common. Specialties include stuffed or spit broiled pigeons, shish kebabs made of marinated chunks of lamb and spices, then grilled over hot charcoal and small ground lamb kebabs called kofta. Seafood is a good choice with prawns from the Red Sea, sea bass from the Mediterranean and a wonderful fish dish, tilapia, from the Nile.

The national dish of Egypt may be considered to be Foul Mudhammas. Ful or Fava beans are cooked in olive oil and garlic, flavored with lemon, cumin and parsley and often served with an egg for breakfast. Egyptian food is often flavored with mint, dill, parsley, garlic and cumin. A nice way to sample different recipes is to have a mezze, or selection of little dishes washed down with the local Zibib or aniseed flavored aperitif (the equivalent of the Greek Ouzo, or the French Pernod). Dishes might include Babaghanoug (baked mashed eggplant flavored with Taheena - sesame seed paste), Falafal or Taameyya (small round patties made of ground ful beans, seasoned and deep fried), Waraq Anab (vine leaves stuffed with rice), Turshi (spicy mixed pickled vegetables), Leban Zabadi (thick creamy yoghurt and very good for the digestion) and Mish, a mature cheese made into a paste and flavored with spices.

Desserts range from regional specialties such as honey-soaked pastries like Kunafa, which looks like shredded wheat, made with rose water, nuts and sugar, and Basbousa made from fine semolina and flavored with almonds, lemon and vanilla to the famous and uniquely Egyptian "Om Ali", a baked dish of layered pastry cooked with milk, nuts, raisins and spices. Most visitors to Egypt will have at least one chance to try traditional local cuisine as part of their Nile cruise, when one night is usually themed as an Egyptian night including a buffet of local delicacies.

Egypt has a wealth of fresh fruits such as mangoes, pomegranates, dates, figs, apricots, melons and citrus.


Tap water could be drunk in Egypt, but we recommend that you use bottled water, ensuring that the seal has not been broken on the bottle.




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