During my trip to Egypt I discovered that eating well and feeling satisfied is very easy. I like their gastronomy, I ate my fill and I had no problems with my stomach. I always drank bottled water. Buy bottled water, juices or boiled water if necessary.
Here is a list of examples of dishes you can try in Egypt. Of course, not all of them are from Egypt, they are recipes from different countries with which it shares its gastronomy.
Some of the dishes I tasted in Egypt:
Asab (Gasab in the south): A cane juice drink that, if served quite cool, helps you fight the heat. I didn't like it much but some of my friends loved it. You can also chew the cane because they sell it in small pieces, but I didn't like it either because it must be similar to chewing wood.
Molokeyaa (molokhia or green soup): A green soup that is cooked using a plant called jute (I'm not a big fan either).
Koshari: A complete and filling dish to say the least. Koshari is made with legumes, pasta, rice and vegetables. .
Shawerma: Chicken shawarma, depending on where you try it, can be delicious and crispy. It is commonly eaten with rice, bread, salad and feta.
Baba Ganoush: This is a paste similar (in appearance) to hummus, with a base of aubergine purée and tahini.
- Kunefah (also kanafeh or kunefe): A dessert with a base of very thin noodles, filled with cheese, covered with sugar and garnished with pistachios.
Sambusa: It is a patty or empanada, baked or fried, which can be stuffed with vegetables, pulses and/or meat.
The sweet potato (batata): Walking through the streets of different parts of Egypt, you can find roasted sweet potato stalls.
Tulumba: A kind of Egyptian churros.
Juices, coffee and tea: The best known tea there is El Arousa.
Egyptian bread: A bread that comes out of the oven puffy but as soon as you take it out it stays round and flat. It's tasty, but even better if you dip it in hummus or baba ganoush.
Stewed pigeons: A welcome surprise awaited us at our Egyptian friend's house. A traditional Egyptian dish, which I am not very fond of. In this case they were stuffed with lentils.
Om-Ali: A dessert with puff pastry and almonds.
Top 5 Restaurants I tried:
- 9Pyramids Lounge in Giza: Restaurant located in front of the pyramids of Giza. A perfect place to have breakfast, with unforgettable views. For the equivalent of 9 euros, they serve a varied brunch (cheese, omelette, tahini...). They also have an oven where you can see how Egyptian bread is made.
- El Brens in Cairo: A well-known local restaurant in Cairo. The food is authentic, the prices are not high and they serve very generous quantities. However, I recommend going there by car and with locals. In contrast is the Novotel Cairo, which also serves good food (prices are higher but there are good views of the Nile River from its rooftop terrace).
- The Greek Club in Alexandria: A place with a good view of the sea. Prices are not low but the fish soup is delicious and they specialise in fish.
- El Fishawi in Cairo: Inside the market, Khan el Khalili, you'll find a tea room with a lot of personality, "El Fishawi". A little corner full of mirrors where they serve delicious tea with lemon and mint.
- Restaurant "Koshari from Alexandria¨ in Luxor: A restaurant that may go unnoticed, but which has a super delicious Koshari. If you pass through Luxor, try it here! It's a bit difficult to find because you have to climb stairs and the name of the place is written in Arabic, but to guide you I'll tell you that it's right in front of an establishment called ¨Zara¨.
Tips on eating and drinking in Egypt:
- Drink water to avoid dehydration but avoid drinking tap water. Remember this also when brushing your teeth, drinking iced drinks or washing fruit and vegetables.
- To maintain proper hydration, you can replace tap water with bottled water, (reliable) juices and boiled water.
- Take activated charcoal pills to control the state of your stomach. I didn't notice anything unusual, but taking these and Fortasec-type pills might be advisable.
- To avoid unpleasantness at the time of payment, you can read this post about how to haggle and how not to get scammed in Egypt.
- Another tip is to take out travel insurance before you travel, just in case.